Category Archives: physics

Brachistochrone for rolling things

The Brachistochrone curve is the shape of a wire for beads to slide down (friction free) to get from point A to point B the fastest. Note that since I used the word “down” there I’m implying this happens in … Continue reading

Posted in math, mathematica, physics, teaching | 2 Comments

Catenary with Lagrange Multipliers

The catenary is the shape of a hanging chain supported at both ends in a constant gravitational field (ie normal life). Recently Rhett Allain has been doing some great work using both python and analytical results to show how you … Continue reading

Posted in mathematica, physics | Leave a comment

Physics Teachers Are Awesome

I’ve started a project that brings me joy. I’m hoping to help spread that around! I was looking around for ways that I could support physics teachers who were working so hard to teach during this pandemic. I was reflecting … Continue reading

Posted in glodal physics department, online class, physics, screencasting, syllabus creation, teaching, twitter | 4 Comments

Boltzmann to Blackbody to Electoral College

Ok, I know that’s a weird title, but bear with me, this has some fun stuff in it, including some things I still need help with. The basic idea is that Planck’s solution to Blackbody radiation is an interesting way … Continue reading

Posted in physics, programming, teaching | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Fast Quantum Tunneling Method

This post describes a way to calculate tunneling probabilities for one dimensional quantum barriers. This method is easy to code up, and is very fast. Consider the following barrier. If your energy is less than 3 eV, you’ll just reflect … Continue reading

Posted in mathematica, physics, research, teaching | Leave a comment

One die to rule them all

For a number of years I’ve been working on finding ways to turn what looks like an unfair die to a fair one (see these posts). Recently I’ve made a lot of progress. This post shows how I’ve turned a … Continue reading

Posted in fun, mathematica, physics, research | 4 Comments

Shooting circuits

I’ve posted before about how I struggle teaching complex circuits (really just circuits that contain batteries and resistors in ways that can’t be analyzed with parallel and series tricks). There you’ll read about how I find that if I just … Continue reading

Posted in general physics, physics | 8 Comments

Doppler Drum Corps

One of my favorite oral exam questions to give students in introductory physics classes is to ask them whether marching bands should worry about tuning because of the Doppler Effect (lots of details below but the short version: if there’s … Continue reading

Posted in fun, general physics, mathematica, parenting, physics | 4 Comments

Stable, asymmetric dice

A while ago I set about trying to find asymmetric dice that might be fair. I’ve put a lot more work into it, but mostly because there’s been a lot of frustrating interesting tangents. Here’s the main thrust of the … Continue reading

Posted in fun, mathematica, physics | 6 Comments

Fair Asymmetric Dice, getting there

Ever since my son and I worked on whether different types of 20-sided dice were fair I’ve been thinking about whether there might be some oddly shaped dice that could still be fair.  I’ve watched these three numberphile videos and I’ve looked … Continue reading

Posted in fun, mathematica, physics | 7 Comments