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From pitch to drops

Longest lab experiment
posted by dov3 on Oct 14, 2005 - 21 comments

Strange Charm

Visualization of particle physics [via]
posted by Gyan on Oct 12, 2005 - 5 comments


Does dark matter exist? Dark matter has been suggested as a solution to the galaxy rotation problem where individual stars don't seem to rotate the way Newton's laws would predict. Now, some scientists are saying that observations fit with Einstein's general relativity, without any dark matter needed. I just find it amazing that no one has tried this yet.
posted by delmoi on Oct 10, 2005 - 45 comments

The Color Of Atoms

Americans, German win nobel prize for physics. They won for for their contributions to the development of laser-based precision spectroscopy, including the optical frequency comb technique, which among other thing allows them to measure the speed of light to such accuracy that it is now used as the definition for the meter, see if the laws of physics were the same at the beginning of time, and make gps satellites work much better.
posted by stilgar on Oct 4, 2005 - 5 comments


e=mc^2*100 It has been a hundred years since the date that Einstein's famous equation was first published, the last of his four annus mirabilis papers of 1905. In celebration, you can hear Einstein explain his formula (or listen to any of 10 other famous physicists do the same), or read an interesting site in celebration of his life and works, or, if physics isn't your thing, peruse his views on religion, or his exchange with Freud about war, or take a look at hundreds of his original manuscripts.
posted by blahblahblah on Sep 27, 2005 - 19 comments

Math You Don't Know, and Math You Didn't Know You Didn't Know.

Jim Loy's Mathematics Page is (among other things) a collection of interesting theorems (like Napoleon's Triangle theorem), thoughtful discussions of both simple and complex math, and geometric constructions (my personal favorite); the latter of which contains surprisingly-complex discussions on the trisection of angles, or the drawing of regular pentagons.

Similarly enthralling are the pages on Billiards (and the physics of), Astronomy (and the savants of), and Physics (and the Phlogiston Theory of), all of which are rife with illustrations and diagrams. See the homepage for much more.

If you like your geometric constructions big, try Zef Damen's Crop Circle Reconstructions.
posted by odinsdream on Sep 14, 2005 - 8 comments

Java applets to help visualize various concepts in math, physics, and engineering

Java applets to help visualize various concepts in math, physics, and engineering
posted by Gyan on Sep 9, 2005 - 13 comments

The pasta problem

It was one of the great riddles of the cosmos. Along with black holes, the structure of space-time and the origins of the Big Bang, some of the greatest scientific minds have struggled with the dry spaghetti question. Why does uncooked spaghetti snap into more than two pieces when bent?
posted by Wet Spot on Aug 15, 2005 - 23 comments

Negative knowledge (or more precisely negative information)

Know less than nothing!? What could negative knowledge possibly mean? In short, after I tell you negative information, you will know less... "In this week's issue of Nature, however, Michal Horodecki and colleagues present a fresh approach to understanding quantum phenomena that cannot be grasped simply by considering their classical counterparts." [via slashdot :]
posted by kliuless on Aug 8, 2005 - 26 comments

Think of lift, think of thrust, think of innovation without the benefit of an industrial policy.

Work Well With Others or, how to power a matchstick plane with houseflies. Reports of success or failure are welcome.
posted by DrJohnEvans on Aug 3, 2005 - 20 comments

Kung Fu Science

Kung Fu Science: The BBC News article claims that the site "is primarily aimed at 11 to 16-year-olds," but I refuse to let temporal adolescents have a corner on 25-year-old female PhD students doing physics and then breaking wood planks with their hands. [Flash; both the site and the videos take a while to load.]
posted by gramschmidt on Aug 3, 2005 - 18 comments

How to crush a tank car

How not to clean a tank car. Apparently someone steam cleaned a railroad tank car and then having finished the job closed all the valves and hatches tightly. Physics then took over.
posted by caddis on Jul 28, 2005 - 93 comments

After reading the article, you should have completed the following objectives...

How should science be taught in school?
posted by daksya on Jul 14, 2005 - 18 comments


Thursday non-flash fun: Pendulumania! (Direct link here.) Swing the ball around to hit the targets, but don't let your line break. (more inside)
posted by squidlarkin on Jul 14, 2005 - 8 comments

Inverse Kinematik Manipulate the bikini puppet lady... or something.

Physics, bikinis and bubbles. A weird flash physics experiment. Strangly hypnotic. If the bikini clad woman gets stuck, just click and drag her.
posted by dazed_one on Jun 29, 2005 - 27 comments

Making Waves

Resonata - A Wave Machine [Java]
posted by Gyan on Jun 21, 2005 - 13 comments

The Complexity of a Controversial Concept

The Logic of Diversity "A new book, The Wisdom of Crowds [..:] by The New Yorker columnist James Surowiecki, has recently popularized the idea that groups can, in some ways, be smarter than their members, which is superficially similar to Page's results. While Surowiecki gives many examples of what one might call collective cognition, where groups out-perform isolated individuals, he really has only one explanation for this phenomenon, based on one of his examples: jelly beans [...] averaging together many independent, unbiased guesses gives a result that is probably closer to the truth than any one guess. While true — it's the central limit theorem of statistics — it's far from being the only way in which diversity can be beneficial in problem solving." (Three-Toed Sloth)
posted by kliuless on Jun 20, 2005 - 6 comments

Time Travel

Back to the FutureDrawing Board
posted by Pretty_Generic on Jun 17, 2005 - 42 comments

Ball Sports & physics

Par 5 site on the science of golf balls. Service on the newly sized tennis ball. Return on the flight of tennis balls: Part 1; Rally with Part 2. Back and forth again with Ball/Court Interaction 1 and 2, and the aerodynamics of tennis ball coverings puts it away for the point. (And apparently, the weight inside a bowling ball isn't spherical and so modeling the movement of bowling balls takes university papers and presentations.[PDF])
posted by OmieWise on Jun 15, 2005 - 7 comments

The Physics Evolution

The Physics Evolution - a flash based history from the Institute of Physics in London. Clickable maps with timelines and short biographies of the main figures. It's a bit superficial, but a lot of fun.
posted by thatwhichfalls on Jun 11, 2005 - 4 comments

What do you call a young eigensheep?

The Prime Number Shitting Bear, Finite Simple Group of Order Two[video], Math Jokes, Physics Jokes
posted by apathy0o0 on May 11, 2005 - 29 comments

Time Traveler Convention

We are hosting the first and only Time Traveler Convention at MIT in one week, and WE NEED YOUR HELP! Anyone plan to attend?
posted by Ricky_gr10 on May 2, 2005 - 64 comments

Phun with Physics

Mad Physics dot com has experiments and demonstrations that teach physics principles in strange and more interesting ways. Examples: demonstating Hooke's law with a 13 year-old kid and explaining efficient light emission with Glowsticks! Great for geeks.
posted by afrooz on May 1, 2005 - 8 comments


Machine by SymmetryLab: fixed points, spinners, pistons, elastics, and connectors. Dig the frictionless world.

SymmetryLab's other stuff is noteworthy as well.
posted by gramschmidt on Apr 30, 2005 - 5 comments

Desktop Fusion

Putterman also suggests the crystals could be used as microthrusters for tiny spacecraft. By accelerating deuterium in one direction, the spacecraft would be propelled in the opposite direction.
Ok, so I know nothing about physics, apart from what I learned getting beat up in grade school, but this seems both legit and cool. Here's a MeFi discussion of the other kind of desktop fusion, you know, the kind with the bubbles. A picture of the bubble machine.
posted by OmieWise on Apr 28, 2005 - 11 comments

'Nearly Perfect' Liquid

Physicists working at Brookhaven National Laboratory have created what appears to be a new state of matter.
posted by dfowler on Apr 18, 2005 - 27 comments

Yo, books!

Yo, books! Absolute masses of maths, physics, and CS books chez bhargav. Via Madame Martin
posted by Wolof on Mar 29, 2005 - 7 comments

Superatoms: Disagreement Within the Clustering Field

Laser vaporization employed to create Superatoms, atomic clusters that behave like individual atoms and could be used to create new materials.
posted by dfowler on Mar 29, 2005 - 12 comments

Black Hole in a Lab

Ever Read Hyperion, by Simmons? In that story, the earth was accidentally destroyed by a man-made black hole. We are now one step closer. Physicists may have created a black hole in a lab at the RHIC (Relativistic Heavy Ion Collider). H. Nastase has posted a paper on the possibility. Fascinating discovery, but there's no real danger of destroying the earth. This might be a good time to check up on some of the myths surrounding black holes. (Found via that other site, /.)
posted by teece on Mar 17, 2005 - 29 comments

strung theory

"A theory that can't predict anything is not a scientific theory," Woit says. That would be string theory, which was going to be the theory of everything, but apparently can't even agree how many dimensions there are. "Those who dabble in alternate-universe speculations might be just modern versions of '16th century theologians (who) speculated that spirits and angels emerge from the extra-dimensional universe,' says Krauss, who is also an outspoken foe of creationist teaching in schools."
posted by raaka on Mar 16, 2005 - 52 comments

Bubble, bubble, boil and trouble.....

Recent bubbles offer first confirmed desktop plasma generation through sonoluminesence. You remember sonoluminesence right? Responsible for brilliant shrimp, and skinny people...
posted by johnjoe on Mar 15, 2005 - 12 comments

Einstein's Imagination.

Idealist and realist: What we can learn from Albert Einstein's free spirit. "Einstein was a Freigeist, and his self-appointed, conscious task was to be a liberator –- a Befreier. In this he continued a great German cultural tradition established by Kant, Goethe, and simultaneously with Einstein, by Ernst Cassirer." [via]
posted by monju_bosatsu on Mar 11, 2005 - 4 comments

Hans Bethe Lectures

Quantum physics made relatively simple. Personal and historical perspectives of Hans Bethe, who has died at 98.
posted by liam on Mar 7, 2005 - 12 comments

Even the Non Scientist and Curious!

On the mission to understand and communicate miracles of Life on Earth and the mysteries reaching beyond the stars.
posted by breezeway on Mar 7, 2005 - 5 comments

Is This It?

Bubble Chambers are used to observe the tracks of subatomic particles at extremely high resolution. The photographs taken of these tracks are often stunningly beautiful and elegant. This website contains a java applet which simulates a bubble chamber, to gorgeous effect.
posted by mayfly wake on Feb 25, 2005 - 12 comments

Or, "fadnap" spelled backwards

Pandaf Golf. Friday Flash Fun. Warning: goes on forever. I think.
posted by DrJohnEvans on Feb 25, 2005 - 45 comments


Andrei Sakharov: Soviet Physics, Nuclear Weapons, and Human Rights. 'This exhibit tells about Sakharov’s extraordinary life.'
posted by plep on Feb 25, 2005 - 3 comments

The truth behind the first cheesy special effects

Misconceptions about the Big Bang
posted by Gyan on Feb 23, 2005 - 39 comments

Mathematics Behind Metabolism

Mathematics Behind Metabolism: Extending to all life and ecosystems the laws of quarter-power scaling.
posted by mcgraw on Feb 14, 2005 - 11 comments


Frick'n Lasers! When an UT Austin student finds a stash of graded freshman physics homework, he decides to pitch in and add his own comments to those of the TA. Our children is might not be learning, but at least they're getting to play with lasers!
posted by robocop is bleeding on Feb 9, 2005 - 79 comments

A pound of gold, a pound of feathers

How much does a kilogram weigh? Well, less than it used to. That's one of the reasons why Germany's PTB (Physical and Technical Institute) has been attempting to create a virtual kilogram. This was news a while back when they first decided to use silicon. Now they're going to try it with bismuth. (Details in German, English via Babelfish.)
posted by sninky-chan on Feb 4, 2005 - 24 comments

A different kind of physics journal

Quantum Diaries - follow physicists from around the world as they experience the World Year of Physics 2005.
posted by Gyan on Feb 1, 2005 - 4 comments

Celebrating 100 years of Einstein's influence on Physics

This year has been declared the World Year of Physics. Why 2005? To celebrate 100 years since Einstein published three papers that revolutionized physics. In the U.K. and Ireland it is being called Einstein Year, but there are many events planned around the globe.
posted by achmorrison on Jan 26, 2005 - 5 comments

Fun With Pseudofluids

You probably knew that Silly Putty is a non-Newtonian fluid, and that Faraday waves make cornstarch and water do creepy things, but did you know that your washing machine probably has magnetorheological fluid in it? Yes indeed, there are fun and interesting applications for ferrofluids.
posted by Specklet on Dec 22, 2004 - 20 comments

Particle physics zine.

Symmetry magazine.
posted by Gyan on Dec 13, 2004 - 11 comments

The B was easy; d/dt took a while

The universe in just two symbols. The rest, as they say, is details. No wonder the "Physics Establishment" is trying to keep this quiet. The author, having conquered the universe in general, tackles poetry, as well.
posted by Wolfdog on Dec 8, 2004 - 20 comments

Happy Birthday, String Theory.

String Theory Turns 20 - first posited in 1984 as an explanation for the strong force, String Theory turns 20 this year. While some physicists celebrate, others are concerned that string theory isn't coming close to being a theory of everything as many had hoped. While it does reconcile quantum mechanics with Special Relativity, there is currently no mathematical proof for String Theory. Even more troubling, rather than providing one solid explanation for the universe, the many dimensions of string theory offer 10^100 different possible results.
posted by grapefruitmoon on Dec 7, 2004 - 25 comments

Stupid Google Tricks

Does relativity have any practical significance? In fact, relativity had to be taken into account by the designers of the Global Positioning System. The GPS satellites are affected both by special relativity (since the satellites are moving, clocks aboard them appear to run slower as seen from the ground), and by general relativity (since the satellites are farther away from the mass of the earth, clocks appear to run faster as seen from the ground). The net effect of both is that clocks aboard GPS satellites would gain 38 microseconds per day relative to the ground, if relativistic effects were not corrected for--a figure which can be confirmed by using Google calculator.
posted by DevilsAdvocate on Nov 30, 2004 - 26 comments

Why do my photos look like crap?

Optics and Photography. A collection of illustrated articles on the chief causes of image degradation in photography.
posted by chunking express on Nov 21, 2004 - 5 comments

Cosmic rays

Cosmic ray air shower simulations (do not miss the movies)
posted by MzB on Nov 3, 2004 - 1 comment

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