Monday, May 30, 2016

Astrophysics

This is defined as " the branch of astronomy concerned with the physical nature of stars and other celestial bodies, and the application of the laws and theories of physics to the interpretation of astronomical observations."

Interesting stuff. Am currently doing a MOOC on the subject at EdX focusing mainly on cosmology. You need a bit of calculus for this - advanced level mathematics or first year university. Recommended though.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Khan Academy

I am sure you have heard of Khan Academy. I took another look recently and it seems to have been upgraded.

Definitely a good source of learning videos for school level physics.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Gravitational waves

I have to say something on this. It has been on the horizon for many years and as elusive as the smile of the Cheshire cat. Not that I am qualified to say much more than how important it is and give some good links. So here are the links:
Caltech press release
Science article
Wikipedia

Sunday, February 14, 2016

The November fire at University of Guyana

The fire on on November 24 2015 in Natural Sciences was widely reported, for example by Kaieteur News and Guyana Chronicle. However there were few details given on the losses. According to subsequent reports the wooden ground level building destroyed housed staff offices and storerooms. Losses included lab equipment, textbooks, manuals, notes and so on. Physics in particular was badly hit and has been left without equipment to conduct labs. This comes at a time when moves are being made to restart the full degree programme.
Hopefully the Physics unit will be assisted to get laboratories back in order. As I recall there used to be two functioning laboratories with lab assistants.
The burnt building at the University of Guyana

Burnt office
 at the University of Guyana

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Physics in 2016

Scientific American has a useful look forward to 2016:
"The New Year may also be a year of discoveries for physicists plumbing the deepest mysteries of matter."

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Albert Einstein - 70 years

Einstein is a scientist every science student should definitely know something about. He passed away 70 years ago this year.

According to an item in the Scientific American:
"Einstein is the most famous and beloved scientist of all time. We revere him not only as a scientific genius but also as a moral and even spiritual sage. Abraham Pais, Einstein's friend and biographer, called him "the divine man of the 20th century." 
To New York Times physics reporter Dennis Overbye, Einstein was an “icon" of "humanity in the face of the unknown.""

For more there is plenty at Wikipedia, of course, and here are two videos on Youtube:
How Einstein discovered E=Mc2
Albert Einstein documentary

Monday, November 30, 2015

New gamma-ray spectroscope

Some exotic physics in this device (developed at Vanderbilt and Fisk Universities) with some exciting space applications may get the interest of students.
"...a new generation of gamma-ray spectroscope that appears perfectly suited for detecting veins of gold, platinum, rare earths and other valuable material hidden within the asteroids, moons and other airless objects floating around the solar system" 
"The key to the new instrument is a recently discovered material, europium-doped strontium iodide. This is a transparent crystal that can act as an extremely efficient gamma-ray detector. It registers the passage of gamma rays by giving off flashes of light that can be detected and recorded."