Category Archives: physics

Finding normal modes

Normal mode analysis is a typical topic in junior/senior mechanics courses. Ours suffers from a lack of linear algebra as a prerequisite so I’ve worked to find ways to engage students with this material without that background. My typical approach … Continue reading

Posted in mathematica, physics, teaching | 8 Comments

Relativistic explosions

Earlier this week I got an email from a friend who has been working with his students modeling how momentum works in a situation where two carts start connected and then explode apart. I’m not sure, but I think that … Continue reading

Posted in physics, teaching | 1 Comment

Taking it up a notch: nail beds

About a month ago, I had an extraordinary experience: It was Bill Nye standing on me while I laid on a nail bed. Lots of fun, for sure, and I pointed out to the audience that it was the one … Continue reading

Posted in fun, physics, teaching | 6 Comments

Leaving a gaping hole

This past week in my optics class I think I made a mistake. We were talking about how light interacts with a system with multiple parallel interfaces, and we started with analyzing a single interface that didn’t happen to be … Continue reading

Posted in physics, teaching | 2 Comments

Finding grains

My colleague asked me to help him out with this image: He needs to know the grain size distribution, and they’ve been having trouble automating this. He knew I’d been doing some work with Mathematica’s image analysis capabilities so he … Continue reading

Posted in mathematica, physics | 4 Comments

Human loop speed

Rhett Allain’s post about a human running around a loop has really got me (and him!) thinking (click through to see the video). I wondered if there was a more sophisticated way to do the calculation for the minimum speed … Continue reading

Posted in fun, physics, twitter | 3 Comments

flip squared check in

This semester I’m trying to flip my flipped approach. Here’s a quick description. Today was the best day so far doing it this way. It was the fourth day of class, and the others had been ok but not great, … Continue reading

Posted in physics, syllabus creation, teaching | 5 Comments

Object tracking in Mathematica

I’ve been playing with ImageFeatureTrack in Mathematica over the last few days. My interest is in helping me and my students track the beads on a swinging beaded chain (something we worked on quite a bit last summer). I just … Continue reading

Posted in mathematica, physics | 5 Comments

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