Monthly Archives: March 2011

A Math Prof, A Psych Prof, And A Mysterious Black Dog

Once upon a time, a mathematics professor (whom I shall call Professor M) from a North American university was regaling a small group of professors and graduate students with some anecdotes concerning a psychology professor (whom I shall call Professor … Continue reading

Posted in Humour | 8 Comments

What Is A Scientific Theory?

How does science work? (At least in the case of physics and other mathematical sciences.) I touched on this subject before (in a post entitled Does Nature “Obey” The Laws Of Physics?), but I would like to take a more … Continue reading

Art And Mathematics

My friend Mary sent me this link to a video by Vi Hart about why is wrong. The video is funny, and the rest of her site is wonderful, engaging, and worth checking out. There is a nice article about … Continue reading

On Choosing The Best Units

Update (21 March 2011): A great version of the Gimli glider story is here. In 1983, an Air Canada plane ran out of fuel on a scheduled flight. Running out of fuel is a very unusual situation for a modern … Continue reading

Time Variation Of Pi

Since at least as far back as the work of Dirac in 1937 (see here), there has been discussion about whether the fundamental constants of physics might vary with time. Unfortunately, some of these ideas have been stretched by young-earth … Continue reading

Why Radian Measure Makes Life Easier In Mathematics And Physics

The two most commonly used measures for angles are degrees and radians. There are 360 degrees in a full circle (a right angle is 90 degrees), and radians in a full circle (there are radians in a right angle), so … Continue reading

Posted in Mathematics, Physics | | 28 Comments

Is Lenz’s Law Just An Instance Of Newton’s Third Law?

The short answer is, “Yes.” The longer answer exemplifies one of the lovely things about physics: its internal unity, and the fact that a few basic principles manifest in a plethora of circumstances. And one of the typical shortcomings of … Continue reading