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If he'd patented the idea, DC Comics would never have existed

Parallel Worlds, Parallel Lives: Maybe you know e from eels. Most people (other than Sticherbeast) probably did not know his father was once a rock star physicist who first conceived of parallel universes (not that Neils Bohr was impressed). Last night, BBC4 aired a documentary on the trails both men followed.
posted by yerfatma on Nov 27, 2007 - 26 comments

Symmetry. Shakespeare. Islamic medicine. Creative writing challenges.

Symmetry. Shakespeare. Islamic medicine. Creative writing challenges. Four podcast series from University of Warwick.
posted by Wolfdog on Nov 18, 2007 - 2 comments

Man wins physics (maybe)

An exceptionally simple theory of everything has been released by a snow and surfboarding physicist. String theorists are grumpy feeling it doesn't have enough dimensions to be a proper theory. Others question and discuss. In it's favour - it's pretty! 10 Mb Quicktime
posted by Sparx on Nov 15, 2007 - 113 comments

Vibrations make the world

String Theory in two minutes or less, or if the Reader's Digest Condensed version of string theory is too terse, spend an hour with Dr. Michio Kaku and Brian Greene. (previously) (via /. and WBAI)
posted by caddis on Oct 25, 2007 - 40 comments

Physics 101 stumper

Here's a seemingly simple physics problem: an airplane taxis in one direction on a moving conveyor belt going the opposite direction. Can the plane take off? The debate rages on and on and on....
posted by zardoz on Sep 29, 2007 - 248 comments

My name is Legion. You collapsed my probability distribution, prepare to die!

The Crossing is a new FPS game where single-player and multiplayer modes meld in one. At any point, any Non-Player-Character might not be an NPC at all, but another Player. It is likely that, as in a game of tag, players will just take turns to be "it" like Agents in the Matrix, but... wouldn't it be great if we could all be "it" at the same time? Quantum Gaming might just be the way to model such a swarm of gamers. [more inside]
posted by kandinski on Sep 23, 2007 - 30 comments

Neutron = negative exterior + positive middle + negative core

Particle accelerator experiments show that the neutron has a negatively charged exterior, a positively charged middle, and a negative core. Abstract from Physical Review Letters.
posted by russilwvong on Sep 20, 2007 - 44 comments

A Map of the Cat

Richard P. Feynman { Information Junkie PhD Atomic Bomber Professor/Lecturer on Physics + Mathematical Artist [DIY] + Nanotech Knowledgist 33.3% Nobel laureate + QEDynamic Speaker + Tiny Machinist + Challenger of Conclusions + Best-Selling WriterXBusted [outside Tuva] Star Trek TNG Shuttlecraft Pepsi Black/Blue U.S. Postage Stamp }
posted by Poolio on Sep 16, 2007 - 51 comments

How to win the Nobel Prize 101

"It so often happens that I receive mail - well-intended but totally useless - by amateur physicists who believe to have solved the world. They believe this, only because they understand totally nothing about the real way problems are solved in Modern Physics...It should be possible, these days, to collect all knowledge you need from the internet. Problem then is, there is so much junk on the internet... I know exactly what should be taught to the beginning student...I can tell you of my own experiences. It helped me all the way to earn a Nobel Prize. But I didn't have internet. I am going to try to be your teacher. It is a formidable task."
posted by vacapinta on Aug 29, 2007 - 47 comments

Can't Hurt To Ask!

Need advice? Ask a Theoretical Physicist. Ask A Gay Man. Ask A Dork. Ask A Ninja (previously). Ask Great Granny. Ask Poop Report. Ask a Hill Staffer (if you can have a job writing Ask A Hill Staffer). Ask A Nun. Ask the Dalai Lama. Ask the Magic 8 Ball. Or I suppose you could always just Ask Mefi.
posted by haricotvert on Aug 26, 2007 - 20 comments

Hey batter batter batter batter SWING!

The four greatest home run hitters of all-time: A video analysis of their swings. The top ten swings of 2006 and more from swingtraining.net. More on the mechanics of crushing baseballs from The Batter's Eye. The Physics of Baseball highlights an academic paper studying "optimum baseball bat swing parameters for maximum range trajectories", or more to the point, "How to Hit Home Runs" (warning, last link is PDF).
posted by edverb on Aug 4, 2007 - 42 comments

Level 50 is evil

[Friday Flash Fun] Gravity Pods, a physics-based shooter/puzzle where you use special gravity pods and repellers to alter the course of a projectile and avoid barriers to hit a target.
posted by aerotive on Jul 27, 2007 - 25 comments

The New Physics - An Exam

The wave equation is v = ƒλ. How does that make you feel?
posted by ikebowen on Jul 24, 2007 - 50 comments

I've got moves you haven't even seen yet

What is the relationship between the optical groove in a record or wax cylinder and sound, and how can we use this to recover analog recordings from the past? Dr. Carl Haber explains IRENE (.pdf; begin at slide 44 for audio samples).
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Jul 16, 2007 - 25 comments

This Should be Played at High Voltage

Steve Ward's Singing Tesla Coil video. Previously.
posted by nthdegx on Jul 15, 2007 - 22 comments

Metafilter and the Purple Crayon

Crayon Physics, the delightful latest game from independent game developer Petri Purho at Kloonigames, a sort of finnish Ferry Halim. Draw objects with your crayon to get the ball to the star. The site is also home to other made-in-a-week games such as Cacodemon, which is as frustrating as it is addictive. If Crayon Physics seems too short, check out the small level pack or hack the xml to make your own. Windows only, works in Wine too
posted by BlackLeotardFront on Jun 29, 2007 - 20 comments

Fire! Water! Triangle hotter!

An interesting set of videos demonstrating the state of liquid and particle systems simulation for use in movies, games, etc. It's the work of Ron Fedkiw, a computational physicist and consultant for ILM^ , who worked with his students to create all sorts of other interesting CG creations.
posted by BlackLeotardFront on Jun 14, 2007 - 10 comments

UniverseNewsFilter: Scientists claim to have detected dark matter

UniverseNewsFilter: Scientists claim to have detected dark matter! Here are NASA's press release, feature page and multimedia presentation. For an explanation what dark matter is, I refer you to this page. After all that excitement, you can sit down and work out how much dark matter is in the Milky Way.
posted by Kattullus on May 15, 2007 - 30 comments

Super-supernova

New supernova is bright. Too bright, in fact.
posted by Citizen Premier on May 7, 2007 - 21 comments

Particles and waves in your basement

Demonstrate one of the weirdest quantum effects in your home using a laser pointer, some tinfoil, a piece of wire, and a $7 polarizer. The device, called a quantum eraser, operates in a way very similar to the famously mind-blowing double slit experiment that was voted the most beautiful experiment in physics.
posted by blahblahblah on Apr 30, 2007 - 49 comments

96k of hilarity

The demo scene is alive and well. Showing off just what can be done with your computer with tiny programs (serious hardware required, video link included). The point of this post? Sumotori Dreams. A physics based game packed into 96k. It's not the gameplay itself which is so great, it's the stumbling drunk AI characters. Play a round, then sit back and watch them stumble (youtube). Safe for work, if gales of laughter don't draw suspicion.
posted by tomble on Apr 25, 2007 - 49 comments

People have long asked, "What is the world made of?" and "What holds it together?"

The Particle Adventure.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane on Apr 21, 2007 - 14 comments

Impossible Crystals

"This is a story of how the impossible became possible. How, for centuries, scientists were absolutely sure that solids (as well as decorative patterns like tiling and quilts) could only have certain symmetries - such as square, hexagonal and triangular - and that most symmetries, including five-fold symmetry in the plane and icosahedral symmetry in three dimensions (the symmetry of a soccer ball), were strictly forbidden. Then, about twenty years ago, a new kind of pattern, known as a "quasicrystal," was envisaged that shatters the symmetry restrictions and allows for an infinite number of new patterns and structures that had never been seen before, suggesting a whole new class of materials...."

Physicist Paul J. Steinhardt delivers a fascinating lecture (WMV) on tilings and quasicrystals. However, it turns out science was beaten to the punch: a recent paper (PDF) suggests Islamic architecture developed similar tilings centuries earlier.
posted by parudox on Mar 18, 2007 - 11 comments

Contributions of 20th Century Women to Physics

Contributions of 20th Century Women to Physics
posted by chrismear on Mar 8, 2007 - 21 comments

"I’m in the Hole for studying Chinese."

Convicted as an ecoterrorist, a brilliant young scholar nose-dives in prison. An article on Billy Cottrell, a physics genius with Asperger's Syndrome who was sentenced to 8.5 years in prison for his role in destroying $5 million worth of SUVs. His case was previously discussed here. [Via BB.]
posted by homunculus on Mar 2, 2007 - 204 comments

a measured response

Redefining Avogadro's Number. A mole is the number of molecules in a gram of water: ~6.022 x 1023. Unfortunately "a gram" is defined by a chunk of metal in a vault in France, the last of the seven SI units still defined by a physical artifact. Since the reference mass (known as "Le Gran K") is actually changing over time (due to cleaning, handling, etc), the definition of a gram is currently temporally unstable. Now a new proposal has been put forward to explicitly define the number to be a known integer: 602,214,141,070,409,084,099,072, which would fundamentally change the way we define a gram. Le Gran K could become a historical curiosity like the original platinum meter stick.
posted by dkg on Mar 2, 2007 - 39 comments

Canine Weightlessness Research.

The effects of weightlessness are most associated with astronauts, but a more practical application can be seen in this dog.
posted by grapefruitmoon on Feb 27, 2007 - 39 comments

Theory of science communication

Belief and knowledge - a primer on science communication
posted by Gyan on Feb 26, 2007 - 43 comments

Hot Summer Days and Cosmic Rays: Skyfish Revealed

Skyfish have been well documented on the interweb. Want to capture your own as a pet? Lure them into your home by replicating their natural environment. Warning: three Youtube links and only the third is really cool, but at least they're all pretty short. Related.
posted by Area Control on Feb 22, 2007 - 24 comments

Physics for Old People

In 1999, at the age of 93, legendary theoretical physicist Hans Bethe delivered three lectures on quantum theory to his neighbors at the Kendal of Ithaca retirement community (near Cornell University).
posted by panoptican on Feb 8, 2007 - 12 comments

Physics simulators. Lots of physics simulators.

PhET - Physics Education Technology offers this astoundingly large library of online physics simulations. Play orbital billiards. Land on a cheesy moon. Experiment with sound. Or try more advanced quantum physics simulators. Still bored? Try the "cutting edge" catagory. Here's the complete index. (Warnings: Frames, Flash, Javascript, Java applets, graphics, sound, quantum timesuck.)
posted by loquacious on Feb 3, 2007 - 7 comments

A delightfully nerdy page for nerds

Dr. James B. Calvert, professor emeritus of engineering at the University of Denver, has an incredibly rich and deep personal webpage, which includes such gems as Latin for mountain men, the correct corn-hog ratio, travel by brachistochrone, anomalous sound propagation and the guns of Barisal, and about a billion other awesomely nerdy topics.
posted by sergeant sandwich on Jan 28, 2007 - 16 comments

Fry me with a nuke

Wanna get nuked? the Active Denial System [just say no?] was launched yesterday - its a microwave ray gun that makes people feel like they're going to catch fire. Wasn't there a ray gun at a certain point in a book we trashed a while earlier?
posted by infini on Jan 25, 2007 - 46 comments

Physikshow! Boom! Zap!

Liquid Nitrogen bomb! A ship floating on invisible hexaflourid gas! Smoking can kill you and weld metal! Nuclear Chain reaction... with balls! Detonating gas in a can!! Water flowing uphill! 100,000,000 volts and a Faraday cage! And more from Physikshow at University of Bonn.
posted by loquacious on Jan 11, 2007 - 29 comments

Physics Cosmology Resources

A History of Scientific Cosmology from the American Institute of Physics has some great articles on the history of cosmology.
posted by RussHy on Jan 3, 2007 - 5 comments

Science

Free Science and Video Lectures Online A nice blog collecting science videos. The most recent post on Cognitive Computing, Consciousness, Science Philosophy and Mind Video Lectures has some hum-dingers.
posted by MetaMonkey on Dec 30, 2006 - 10 comments

2πr

The Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Ontario, was founded in 1999 with the support of Research in Motion's Mike Lazaridis, and has since moved from its original home in Waterloo's Old Post Office to an award-winning building of its own. Home to such physics iconoclasts (rebels?) as Lee Smolin, Perimeter offers programs and activities for the general public as well as the scientific community, and, more importantly, makes many of its scientific outreach lectures available online.
posted by greatgefilte on Dec 23, 2006 - 4 comments

Little flash doodly thingies for your Friday

thesquarerootof-1 (Biproducts) Bunch of little interactive flash designs that mesh motion and sound. Here is more info about this project by James Tindall.
posted by chillmost on Dec 1, 2006 - 5 comments

QuIET is the New Loud

University of Arizona physicists have discovered how to turn single molecules into working transistors. The research could result in much smaller, more powerful computers and other devices with the ability to process many more channels of high-resolution audio and video than current products can manage. The abstract is available in PDF.
posted by terrapin on Nov 28, 2006 - 17 comments

Vintage Radio and Scientific Equipment

The Spark Museum John Jenkins' collection of vintage wireless, radio, scientific and electrical equipment, including Crookes and Geissler tubes, Barlow wheels and other early electric motors, loudspeakers and many more oddball electrical devices. [via TeamDroid]
posted by mediareport on Nov 13, 2006 - 9 comments

Quantum Encryption

Quantum Encryption Scientists have created an unbreakable cypher through the use of quantum physics, where a photon is observed and used as the basis for an encryption key. "Uncertainty is the principle we exploit. It's impossible to find the key, because the photon can be measured once and only once. An eavesdropper can't measure it, and so can't get the key." Props to Heisenberg!
posted by PreacherTom on Nov 9, 2006 - 49 comments

Cheepy cheepy boom boom

Ever wanted to be a little chick with a gun, knocking down hundreds of blocks? Well, now's your chance in Kumoon: a fun, free little physics-based game (for Mac and PC) in which you must knock down all the blocks in a room with limited resources. Screenshots, review + movie courtesy of this excellent list of physics-based games of all kinds. Something for everyone.
posted by BlackLeotardFront on Nov 8, 2006 - 17 comments

Physics for Future Presidents

Physics for Future Presidents is a class taught at UC Berkeley by Physics professor Richard Muller. It's a class specifically for non-physics majors and teaches the real world results of the sometimes impenetrable math involved in university physics. After every lecture, you should come away with the feeling that what was just covered is important for every world leader to know. I just sat through the entire hour and 13 minute nukes lecture and was riveted.
posted by quite unimportant on Nov 7, 2006 - 26 comments

That's No Moon

Physics Phun [Phlash, not Phriday]. Orbit is a game where you try to set up, well, orbits. How many levels can you finish?
posted by The Bellman on Nov 7, 2006 - 23 comments

Raft to the Future

Raft to the Future: An article about the weirdness of physical models of the universe, how that weirdness correlates to the inherent incompleteness of mathematical systems, and how time itself can emerge at the fringes of these incomplete models.
posted by knave on Nov 6, 2006 - 46 comments

More physics games!

Double Wires (flash) Point and click to shoot out grapples or webs. Move to the right to advance your score.
War of the Hell (java) Get the stick figures to climb your rope and then carefully fling them skyward to 'Heaven'.
(Via d_of_i's always unique DOFI-BLOG, creator of Cat Sledding and the mesmerising Sand Sand Sand.) (Third in a continuing series of physics games posts.)
posted by loquacious on Oct 23, 2006 - 13 comments

Is there a physicist in the house?

Fun Motion - a blog dedicated to physics-simulating games, currently with 49 reviews (and counting) of well known favorites like Stair Dismount and Truck Dismount, Towers of Goo, Toribash and many, many more. (A follow up to my previous YouTube post.) Kiss your precious, fleeting motes of productivity goodbye, cube-farmers!
posted by loquacious on Oct 19, 2006 - 26 comments

Physics Games

Games games games. You've probably seen some of them before. But they're all based on good physics.
posted by Jimbob on Oct 16, 2006 - 10 comments

Teleportation Breakthrough

Teleportation Breakthrough. Until now scientists have teleported similar objects such as light or single atoms over short distances from one spot to another in a split second. But Professor Eugene Polzik and his team at the Niels Bohr Institute at Copenhagen University in Denmark have made a breakthrough by using both light and matter. A more technical explanation.
posted by empath on Oct 5, 2006 - 67 comments

Drag the circles, have some fun.

Drag the circles, have some fun.
posted by triv on Oct 2, 2006 - 19 comments

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