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Viewing entries tagged Physics

Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character)

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Thursday, 10 February 2011
in Favorite Books

Teachable Moment: Lets face it, most science books are meant to look good on your shelf (think "A Brief History of Time") or are too subject specific for a broader audience.  This book is neither: instead, it's and engaging fun book that interweaves history, physics and teaches about perseverance and the scientific process.

Richard Feynman (1918-1988), winner of the Nobel Prize in physics, thrived on outrageous adventures.  Here he recounts in his inimitable voice his experience trading ideas on atomic physics with Einstein and Bohr and ideas on gambling with Nick the Greek; cracking the uncrackable safes guarding the most deeply held nuclear secrets; accompanying a ballet on his bongo drums; painting a naked female toreador -- and much else of an eyebrow-raising nature.  In short, here is Feynman's life in all its eccentric glory -- a combustible mix of high intelligence, unlimited curiosity, and raging chutzpah.

To Purchase: Surely You're Joking, Mr. Feynman! (Adventures of a Curious Character)

Tags: Math, Physics
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Radar -> Sputnik -> Serendipity -> GPS

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
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on Wednesday, 12 January 2011
in The Mother of Invention

Teachable Moment:This TED video discusses the invention of the GPS as a perfect example of open innovative systems where "chance favors the connected mind".  I also like it because it provides a good example of how innovation can be as simple as merely the inversion of our thinking... in this case, one group of scientists had discovered how to track a moving object in space from a fixed point on the ground... and another one pushed them to think about tracking a moving object on the ground from a fixed point in space.

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WKRP: Venus Explains the Atom

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad has not set their biography yet
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on Sunday, 09 January 2011
in Videos worth watching

WKRP in Cincinnati: Venus Explains the AtomTeachable Moment: Interesting approach... perhaps interpersonal conflicts are an easier way of teaching the atom than magnetic forces!

Only on TV, could a teacher find a teachable moment in a locked storage room with a gang member. And of course, if you're going to challenge a gang member to anything, it might as well be explaining to them how an atom works!

Tags: Physics
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Schrodinger's Cat

Posted by Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad
Diego Fonstad has not set their biography yet
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on Sunday, 09 January 2011
in Great Explanations

Teachable Moment: Frankly, quantum entanglement is a pretty complex idea... but if anything's going to start cracking your brain open to it, this is a pretty good start.

In 1935, Schrodinger wrote a paper about the state of Quantum Physics wherein he posited the following:

"One can even set up quite ridiculous cases. A cat is penned up in a steel chamber, along with the following device (which must be secured against direct interference by the cat): in a Geiger counter there is a tiny bit of radioactive substance, so small, that perhaps in the course of the hour one of the atoms decays, but also, with equal probability, perhaps none; if it happens, the counter tube discharges and through a relay releases a hammer which shatters a small flask of hydrocyanic acid. If one has left this entire system to itself for an hour, one would say that the cat still lives if meanwhile no atom has decayed. The psi-function of the entire system would express this by having in it the living and dead cat (pardon the expression) mixed or smeared out in equal parts"

Tags: Physics
Hits: 15369