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…

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…

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…

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…