Category Archives: physics

How to drill a well

In one of my courses this semester students were learning about the coriolis and centrifugal forces that things seem to experience on the earth. There’s a problem at the back of the chapter that asks when a dropped rock would … Continue reading

Posted in mathematica, physics, teaching | 7 Comments

Double pendulum roller coaster FIXED

My last post was wrong. I’m to blame. But in thinking about it and talking about it with with lots of helpful friends I ended up learning a ton. Here’s the upshot: There were kinks in the roller coaster loop … Continue reading

Posted in mathematica, physics | 7 Comments

Double pendulum roller coaster

EDIT: SEE THE NEXT POST THAT FIXES A MAJOR MISTAKE IN THIS ONE I’ve been doing a lot of modeling of beads on wires lately, but today I discovered something that really surprised me. The surprise came when I found … Continue reading

Posted in mathematica, physics | 8 Comments

Lagrange multipliers revisited

I spent the last few days trying to decide whether to teach Lagrange multipliers in my Theoretical Mechanics course. Ultimately I decided to go ahead and do it and I wanted to get down my thoughts on why and what … Continue reading

Posted in mathematica, physics, syllabus creation, teaching | Leave a comment

What does the conducting paper lab teach?

At my school we have a lab for electric fields/potentials where they measure potentials at different locations on a piece of conducting paper that has been attached to a power supply (the + lead and – lead of the power … Continue reading

Posted in fun, mathematica, physics | 5 Comments

Ampère’s law

Tomorrow I’m covering we’re working on Ampere’s law in my calc-based general physics course. In preparation I was looking around at different ways to present it, and I realized that I was getting crabby about most of the presentations I … Continue reading

Posted in physics, syllabus creation | 4 Comments

I hate Kirchhoff’s loop law

Sorry for the incendiary title, but it does express my feelings pretty well. When analyzing DC circuits, students are often encouraged to use the two Kirchhoff’s laws: [sometimes called the node law] all current flowing into a node must flow … Continue reading

Posted in physics, teaching | 14 Comments