Science Outreach: Two Ends of the Spectrum

Most readers are familiar with the term greenwashing in which certain companies use the jargon from the environmental movement on their label to boost sales. But meanwhile, with regards to packaging and/or manufacturing, they do not implement the ecological practices required to significantly cut waste and pollution. The worst form of science outreach is actually... Continue Reading →

Sex Ed and Physics

For at least one year, our school did not offer a separate course-section in human sexuality for adolescents. We were told to integrate it into whatever we were teaching. Not surprisingly, this got people's backs up. Some courses and sex ed simply do not mix, it seemed. How, for example, can you integrate sexuality and... Continue Reading →

Why Soft Sounds Are Pleasurable

At the other extreme of physical pain, are soft, tactile impressions that are just above the threshold of perception. Imagine a gentle wind finding its way through body hair or the lightest of drizzles falling on one's bare shoulders. The acoustic equivalent of such pleasures is the distant sound of rustling leaves. At about 10... Continue Reading →

Where Have All the Clotheslines Gone?

It's always tempting to use a simplistic view of our surroundings because, in the short term, it seems to conserve energy and appear practical. But in many cases, and certainly in the case of clotheslines, the opposite is true. Let's start with an apparently trivial fact about a clothesline. No matter how taut you pull... Continue Reading →

Science from An Old Bucket of Water

If you climb a hill, you will notice that the trees are not perpendicular to the slope. With some variations due to wind, tree trunks generally meet the horizon at a right angle. Similarly, if you are collecting rain water with an old bucket on a slanted driveway, you will notice that the water level... Continue Reading →

Life at the End of Quantum Tunnels

Recently a biochemistry student told me that her classmates looked like they had seen a ghost when their professor seemingly took a left turn from a lecture on cellular respiration and started to discuss quantum tunnelling. But this 90-year discovery keeps surfacing in different contexts, reminding us that without the tunnelling effect, there would be... Continue Reading →

What Do X-Rays Bring to Mind?

What comes to mind when you hear the word x-rays? Is it medical imaging tools, ranging from a simple radiography of a broken finger to an abdominal CT scan? (Incidentally the latter offers an effective radiation dose that's 31 000 times larger than the former, equivalent to a 10-year dose of what's naturally accumulated by... Continue Reading →

Magueijo’s Brilliant Darkness

On several occasions while rereading¬†Magueijo's Brilliant Darkness, I asked myself how I managed to forget the author's particular insights into Ettore Majorana's and Enrico Fermi's characters. The answer lies in part with how we underestimate the fallibility of our memories and keep forgetting our constant tendency to oversimplify. ¬†Equally important is the way our constant... Continue Reading →

Origin and Properties of e

This story will not begin with how the irrational side of human nature and money are indeed at the root of much evil. Instead we will look at how a 17th century financially related-insight by Jacob Bernouilli eventually led us to the discovery of the irrational nature and properties of the number e. Imagine the... Continue Reading →

WordPress.com.

Up ↑