Joys of Geometry

Creating figures with math software does not feel like fabricating illustrations for science posts. It is more of a meditation on geometry. I want to literally draw every line. I am not using grid lines or rendered surfaces. I craft a parametric curve for every line. A curve is set of equations. Yet, playing with … Continue reading Joys of Geometry

Spins, Rotations, and the Beauty of Complex Numbers

This is a simple quantum state ... |➚> = α|↑> + β|↓> ... built from an up |↑> state and a down state |↓>. α and β are complex numbers. The result |➚> is in the middle, oblique. The oblique state is a superposition or the up and down base states. Making a measurement, you … Continue reading Spins, Rotations, and the Beauty of Complex Numbers

Dirac’s Belt Trick

Is classical physics boring? In his preface to Volume 1 of The Feynman Lectures on Physics, Richard Feynman worries about students' enthusiasm: ... They have heard a lot about how interesting and exciting physics is—the theory of relativity, quantum mechanics, and other modern ideas. By the end of two years of our previous course, many … Continue reading Dirac’s Belt Trick

Lest We Forget the Pioneer: Ottokar Tumlirz and His Early Demo of the Coriolis Effect

Two years ago I wrote an article about The Myth of the Toilet Flush, comparing the angular rotation caused by the earth's rotation to the typical rotation in experiments with garden hoses that make it easy to observe the Coriolis effect. There are several orders of magnitude in difference, and the effect can only be … Continue reading Lest We Forget the Pioneer: Ottokar Tumlirz and His Early Demo of the Coriolis Effect

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