Grim Reaper Does a Back-of-the-Envelope Calculation

I have a secondary super-villain identity. People on Google+ called me: Elke the Ripper or Master of the Scythe. [FAQ] No, I don't lost a bet. We don't have a lawn-mower by choice. Yes, we tried the alternatives including a reel lawn-mower. Yes, I really enjoy doing this. It is utterly exhausting - there is no … Continue reading Grim Reaper Does a Back-of-the-Envelope Calculation

How to Introduce Special Relativity (Historical Detour)

I am just reading the volume titled Waves in my favorite series of ancient textbooks on Theoretical Physics by German physics professor Wilhelm Macke. I tried to resist the urge to write about seemingly random fields of physics, and probably weird ways of presenting them - but I can't resist any longer. There are different … Continue reading How to Introduce Special Relativity (Historical Detour)

Non-Linear Art. (Should Actually Be: Random Thoughts on Fluid Dynamics)

In my favorite ancient classical mechanics textbook I found an unexpected statement. I think 1960s textbooks weren't expected to be garnished with geek humor or philosophical references as much as seems to be the default today - therefore Feynman's books were so refreshing. Natural phenomena featured by visual artists are typically those described by non-linear … Continue reading Non-Linear Art. (Should Actually Be: Random Thoughts on Fluid Dynamics)

On the Relation of Jurassic Park and Alien Jelly Flowing through Hyperspace

Yes, this is a serious physics post - no. 3 in my series on Quantum Field Theory. I promised to explain what Quantization is. I will also argue - again - that classical mechanics is unjustly associated with steampunk pictures of clocks and trains. It looks more like representations of time-lines in Back to the … Continue reading On the Relation of Jurassic Park and Alien Jelly Flowing through Hyperspace

May the Force Field Be with You: Primer on Quantum Mechanics and Why We Need Quantum Field Theory

As Feynman explains so eloquently - and yet in a refreshingly down-to-earth way - understanding and learning physics works like this: There are no true axioms, you can start from anywhere. Your physics knowledge is like a messy landscape, built from different interconnected islands of insights. You will not memorize them all, but you need … Continue reading May the Force Field Be with You: Primer on Quantum Mechanics and Why We Need Quantum Field Theory

Space Balls, Baywatch and the Geekiness of Classical Mechanics

This is the first post in my series about Quantum Field Theory. What a let-down: I will just discuss classical mechanics. There is a quantum mechanics, and in contrast there is good old classical, Newtonian mechanics. The latter is a limiting case of the former. So there is some correspondence between the two, and there are rules … Continue reading Space Balls, Baywatch and the Geekiness of Classical Mechanics

The Falling Slinky and Einstein’s Elevator

I have not known that this toy has a name at all. The 'spring' that can walk down the stairs is called Slinky! We all know how the Slinky walks - but how does it fall? This video might come as a surprise! The authoritative article on The Falling Slinky is this one: Modelling a … Continue reading The Falling Slinky and Einstein’s Elevator

The Twisted Garden Hose and the Myth of the Toilet Flush

If you have wrapped your head around why and how the U-shaped tube in the flow meter (described in my previous post) is twisted by the Coriolis force - here is a video of a simple experiment brought to my attention by the author of the quoted article on gyroscope physics: You could also test it … Continue reading The Twisted Garden Hose and the Myth of the Toilet Flush

Intuition and the Magic of the Gyroscope – Reloaded

I am baffled by the fact that my article The Spinning Gyroscope and Intuition in Physics is the top article on this blog so far. So I believe I owe you, dear readers, an update. In the previous article I have summarized the textbook explanation, some more intuitive comments in Feynman's Physics Lectures, and a new … Continue reading Intuition and the Magic of the Gyroscope – Reloaded

Physics / Math Puzzle: Where Is the Center of Mass?

On randomly searching for physics puzzles I have come across QuantumBoffin's site. The puzzle is about how to determine the center of mass of a body using the plumb line method, given there is some uncertainty due to experimental errors. You have found three plumb lines not intersecting in a single point; thus the three intersections of … Continue reading Physics / Math Puzzle: Where Is the Center of Mass?

Random Thoughts on Temperature and Intuition in Thermodynamics

Recent we felt a disturbance of the force: It has been demonstrated that the absolute temperature of a real system can be pushed to negative values. The interesting underlying question is: What is temperature really? Temperature seems to be an intuitive everyday concept, yet the explanations of 'negative temperatures' prove that it is not. Actually, atoms have … Continue reading Random Thoughts on Temperature and Intuition in Thermodynamics

Why Fat Particles Radiate Less

I am just reading Knocking on Heaven's Door by Lisa Randall which has a chapter on the impressive machinery of Large Hadron Collider. The LHC has been built to smash proton beams against each other: Protons, not electrons. Why protons? I stumbled upon the following statement: "But accelerated particles radiate, and the lighter they are, the more they do … Continue reading Why Fat Particles Radiate Less

Is It Determinism if We Can Calculate Probabilities Exactly?

I set a stretch goal for myself: I want to force myself to keep some posts of mine short. As a fan of MinutePhysics I am launching a new category: Physics in a Nutshell. I am going to try to tackle a question that has bothered me for a while - hopefully briefly and concisely. ___________________________________ The question of … Continue reading Is It Determinism if We Can Calculate Probabilities Exactly?

Why Do Heat Pumps Pump Energy so Easily?

I know my posts are usually walls of text, but I am trying to improve! In his landmark physics course, the Feynman Lectures on Physics, Richard Feynman tries to explain what an explanation in physics actually is. You can always understand "the math" and follow a proof step-by-step. But deep, yet intuitive, understanding becomes harder and … Continue reading Why Do Heat Pumps Pump Energy so Easily?