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Physics

This category contains 26 posts

Shining a light on dust

It’s a commonly seen phenomena, dust particles sparkling in a narrow beam of light, but why does this happen? Mostly, this is a result of our ability to perceive contrasts and the ability of the dust particles to reflect light. Let’s start with the latter point. Light is reflected or absorbed by surfaces. We experience … Continue reading

Mini post: The Hulk and Gamma Radiation

I went to Marvel: Universe of Super Heroes at Telus World of Science Edmonton yesterday so I had to take a photo of the Hulk. The reason I had to take a photo is that when I teach the electromagnetic spectrum in an intro physics course I always talk about the Hulk when it comes … Continue reading

Making it snow

I was going to do this post as a magic Monday until I read about all the people who have been burned doing this trick, so perhaps it is better left as one that you binge YouTube videos of. The trick is that you take boiling water outside in frigidly cold temperatures and toss the … Continue reading

What are the differences between the blade of a hockey skate and a figure skate?

I grew up figure skating, but I am also very comfortable on a pair of hockey skates. (Please don’t call them women’s vs men’s as this perpetuates stereotypes that just aren’t true.) When I taught learn-to skate lessons I was often asked about the differences between the two types of skates and when this question … Continue reading

Electrons want to be couch potatoes too

The electrons, negatively charged particles, in an atom “want” to be at their ground state: the lowest level of energy possible for them, kind of like you hanging out on your couch reading blog posts. However, like you, the electrons can get more energy, or be excited, by things they eat. . Okay, so I … Continue reading

Making Smarter Microscopes

I always joke with my students that the biggest difference between me and them when approaching a microscope is that there is nobody I can call for help with finding what I’m looking for. This might seem trivial, but I firmly believe that the microscope smells fear. When I walk up to it with confidence, … Continue reading

Why do Waves Break?

Waves in the ocean, or on another body of water, are generally started by wind. The wind blows across the surface of the water, pushing the water as it goes. Once the wave reaches a certain size it no longer needs the wind to sustain it. This is similar to pushing a cart along a … Continue reading

Jumping in figure skates

Figure skates are not exactly the easiest things to jump in. They are stiff and restrict the motion of your foot and your ankle. Which makes me wonder how this affects the way the rest of your leg moves while jumping. Haguenauer, Legreneur, and Monteil (2006) examined national and international figure skaters jumps comparing their … Continue reading

An intro to the science of figure skating jumps

  There are primarily six different jumps that figure skaters perform. The jumps vary based on edge vs toe (do you take off on an edge, or stick your toe pick in and vault into the air), entry edge (inside or outside, and even toe jumps have this characteristic, foot (inside or outside of the … Continue reading

The origin of elements

Check out this article about the periodic table that two astronomers modified to show the origins of the different elements in your body. https://www.sciencealert.com/this-awesome-periodic-table-shows-the-origins-of-every-atom-in-your-body

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