What a Difference a Year Makes

Back in October or so, SteelyKid’s first-grade class started a weekly journaling exercise. Every Monday, we were supposed to send in a sheet with some prompts on it– words about something interesting that happened over the weekend, and the kids started the day writing about… whatever it was. I was a little dubious about having […]

Crude Monte Carlo Simulation of Light-Bulb Physics

Last week, I did a post for Forbes on the surprisingly complicated physics of a light bulb. Incandescent light bulbs produce a spectrum that’s basically blackbody radiation, but if you think about it, that’s kind of amazing given that the atoms making up the filament have quantized states, and can absorb and emit only discrete […]

Toy Roller Coasters and the Energy Principle

One of the points I make repeatedly in teaching introductory mechanics (as I’m doing this term) is that absolutely every problem students encounter can, in principle, be solved using just Newton’s Laws or, in the terminology used by Matter and Interactions, the Momentum Principle. You don’t strictly need any of the other stuff we talk […]