Neutrinos: the basics and why they matter

1. What is a neutrino? A neutrino is a subatomic particle, grouped with other leptons that include the electron, muons and taus.The charged leptons and uncharged neutrino are all classified as leptons for a number of reasons, one being that neither is affected by the strong force, which keeps quarks together as either neutrons or protons.... Continue Reading →

The Physics of Snowflakes & the Spirit of Christmas

We shovel snow from our door steps because although no two snowflakes are alike, far more than two land in the same place. Rigorous shovelling helps beat the cold. and once warmed up, we can think about falling snowflakes. And if we want to be even more captivated, we can observe them. First the thinking... Continue Reading →

What Flowers Do With Light

What does a flower do with light? In a nutshell, some of the light that reaches a flower's petals is absorbed; some is transmitted through its anatomy and the rest is reflected towards the sky and towards the eyes of pollinators and admirers. But from such a summary, a number of questions can germinate. How does light get absorbed... Continue Reading →

Hydroelectricity: Quebec’s True Power

Among the world's current ways of producing electricity on a large scale, hydroelectricity has the lowest impact on the environment and is technologically the most efficient. Forty percent of Canada's freshwater is within the borders of the province of Quebec, where 4500 rivers flow. It is mainly because of Quebec that Canada is the world's second largest producer... Continue Reading →

Wasp on Deck Applied Physics

One day I was eating fruit in the sun when I noticed that a wasp had found a fragment of my pear on the deck. The piece was only about a centimeter cubed in volume but heavy enough to prevent the wasp’s takeoff. Soon after its unsuccessful straight-up takeoff attempts, the wasp dragged the little pear... Continue Reading →

Relativistic Effects In Your Wedding Ring

Boundaries between academic disciplines are like borders between European countries. They're crossed without blinking. You can't understand what's going on in your gut without knowing its chemistry, and gold's properties make little sense without considering special relativity. Gold is in the same periodic table family as copper and silver, but while its siblings form patina... Continue Reading →

Wasp On Deck Applied Physics

Two summers ago, I was eating fruit in the sun when I noticed that a wasp had found a fragment of my pear on the deck. The piece was only about a centimeter cubed in volume but heavy enough to prevent the wasp’s takeoff. Soon after its unsuccessful straight-up takeoff attempts, the wasp dragged the... Continue Reading →

Hey, Don’t Disrespect Galileo!

An article about Galileo in io9 makes the tiresome and unoriginal argument that if Galileo had been a little more tactful, his former friend, who later became Pope, would have continued to tolerate Galileo's heliocentric views. The article is entitled "Did Galileo get in trouble for being right, or for being a jerk about it?"... Continue Reading →

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