Category Archives: math

Visualizing eigenvectors

When I was in undergrad, I dutifully did all my linear algebra homework, not really understanding why. I figured, “if they want me to find a vector or two for a given matrix that satisfies M.v=lambda v , fine, I’ll do it.” … Continue reading

Posted in math, mathematica, physics, teaching, Uncategorized | 5 Comments

Fourier analysis for non-scientists

Yesterday I went on twitter to try to get some help on teaching Fourier analysis for my sound and music class: teaching fourier theory to non-sci-Ss. Goal: that it's possible (to find freqs). not-a-goal: teach slickest way to do the … Continue reading

Posted in math, mathematica, physics, teaching | 5 Comments

Clock hands symmetry

A long time ago, Dan Meyer took to the twitter-sphere with a question: "When do the three clock hands form three 120-degree angles?" Fun problem from Bowen Kerins. bit.ly/iKCZSz— Dan Meyer (@ddmeyer) June 30, 2011 At the time I thought … Continue reading

Posted in fun, math, mathematica | 4 Comments

Snails on a triangle

This post got its spark when I read this These challenging physics problems found by @MrHonner are awesome. mrhonner.com/2013/01/24/cha…— John Burk (@occam98) January 30, 2013 John had also mentioned the list in last week’s Global Physics Department meeting, and I … Continue reading

Posted in math, mathematica, teaching | 3 Comments

Gyroscopic precession

There have been some interesting things on the interwebs, lately, about rotation, gyroscopes, precession, and helicoptors (all of it brought to my attention, or literally done by, Derek Muller of Veritasium fame). It got me thinking about the modeling I’ve done … Continue reading

Posted in fun, math, mathematica, physics, teaching | 9 Comments

Turntable spriograph modeling

I was inspired this weekend by this video by Robert Howsare: I’ve seen things like this before and I wanted to explore how to model this in Mathematica. It was fun to explore and it really drove home some ideas … Continue reading

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More brute force probability

Last night a tweep of mine posted this: How many ways can I rearrange the letters ABCDEFGH so that no letter is in its original position? What a deceptively simple question!— R. Wright (@r_w_wright) September 01, 2011 I thought about … Continue reading

Posted in fun, math, mathematica, twitter | 14 Comments

Linear dielectrics (recursion approach)

I’ve been prepping for my fall course, Advanced Electricity and Magnetism for juniors and seniors, taught out of Griffiths great book. One of the topics that I want to deal with better this time around is electrostatics in materials (chapter … Continue reading

Posted in math, mathematica, physics | Tagged | 5 Comments

When not to cancel common factors

Today I was helping some students of mine get ready for my final. These are science teachers who are in an alternative licensure program for physics. We were talking about the equations for the resonant frequencies in various systems and … Continue reading

Posted in math, physics, teaching | 6 Comments

Brownie nuts probability

I don’t like nuts. I really don’t like them in brownies. What I want is a way to tell if a particular brownie has nuts in it just by looking at it. That’s what this post is all about. If … Continue reading

Posted in fun, math, physics | 2 Comments