Sunday, March 30, 2014

Some more Caribbean Physics sites


In a previous post we looked at a couple of interesting sites for teachers. In this post we look at a few more. There are many sites offering tuition of some kind but these are difficult to evaluate and have been omitted for now.

University sites - there are the University of the West Indies Physics Departments at Mona (Jamaica), at St Augustine (Trinidad) and at Cave Hill (Barbados). All are interesting sites to browse around in. There is also the University of Guyana site although there is currently no degree program.

Another interesting item is an article called "Meet 5 world-renowned Caribbean scientists" on Caribbean Current". One is Guyanese (Dr Chang-Yen) and two are physicists. There are of course many more but making a list would be both challenging and contentious.

I also came across this useful physics blog "Science Zone Jamaica".

There are not a lot of Caribbean physics sites but I will keep looking.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

CSEC (CXC) Physics syllabus online

The Caribbean Examinations Council has redone their web site and syllabii can now be found online - after a bit of digging. Since my days of teaching CXC Physics ready access to the most recent syllabus has always been less than easy for teachers and students so having them online like other examining authorities is much to their credit - well done CXC!
The Physics syllabus, effective May 2015, can be found here along with other subjects.
Also of note are the study guides which look really useful, available through publisher Oxford University Press. The Physics study guide is here.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Is the caloric theory of heat true?

This theory is part of the CXC CSEC Physics and is used to illustrate the scientific method. This article gives a useful view of the topic and the nature of scientific theories. Here is a short extract:

"...in the late 1700s there was a theory of heat known as caloric. The basic idea of caloric was that it was a fluid that existed within materials. This fluid was self-repellant, meaning it would try to spread out as evenly as possible. We couldn't observe this fluid directly, but the more caloric a material has the greater its temperature.
...
The basic assumption of a 'heat fluid' doesn't match reality, but the model makes predictions that are correct. In fact the caloric model works as well today as it did in the late 1700s. We don't use it anymore because we have newer models that work better. Kinetic theory makes all the predictions caloric does and more. Kinetic theory even explains how the thermal energy of a material can be approximated as a fluid."

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Spectrometry and exoplanets

This article at universetoday.com describes how we can learn about exoplanets using spectrometry and has good physics content and a link to a video.
“As the planet crosses its star, its atmosphere absorbs certain wavelengths of light or colors, while allowing other wavelengths of light to pass through”

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Middle and high school resources

The American Physical Society has some nice resources for primary schools to download including neat colouring books - could be used at home on rainy season days. The high school page includes a short movie about Einstein.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Science in movies - Gravity

For those who have seen the movie it provides the basis for some good discussion of the physics involved. The New Scientist had a positive article on the movie while the BBC had a news item pointing out a few problem areas. Generally it was a good movie which portrayed the science involved quite well.

Better thermoelectric materials

For those wanting more challenging physics Nextbigfuture had an item on progress finding better thermoelectric materials - a stronger thermoelectric effect. In other words more power from a temperature difference. This effect has long been known but as a poor way of generating power.