## 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 […]

## How Does Angular Momentum Emerge?

Yesterday’s post about VPython simulation of the famous bicycle wheel demo showed that you can get the precession and nutation from a simulation that only includes forces. But this is still kind of mysterious, from the standpoint of basic physics intuition. Specifically, it’s sort of hard to see how any of this produces a force […]

## The Emergence of Angular Momentum

The third of the great physics principles introduced in our introductory mechanics courses is the conservation of angular momentum, or the Angular Momentum Principle in the language of the Matter and Interactions curriculum we use. This tends to be one of the hardest topics to introduce, in no small part because it’s the last thing […]

## Diversity Is Frustrating: Cartoon Polygon Physics

Back in December, The Parable of the Polygons took social media by storm. It’s a simple little demonstration of how relatively small biases can lead to dramatic segregation effects, using cute cartoon polygons. You should go read it, if you haven’t already. I’ll wait. This post isn’t really about that. I mean, it is, but […]

## The Sound of Simulated Bombs

So, last week I idly wondered about the canonical falling-bomb whistle. The was originally intended to be a very short post just asking the question, but I got caught up in thinking about it, and it ended up being more substantial. And leaving room for further investigation in the form of, you guessed it, VPython […]

## Follow the Bouncing Ball

Last week, Rhett did a post on animating a bouncing ball in VPython. This was mostly making a point about the distinction between real simulation and animation, along the lines of yesterday’s post on social construction of videogame reality. But, of course, my immediate reaction was, “That’s not how a bouncing ball looks…” This is […]