Relativity applies to all branches of physics. However, it is more of a geometrical framework – on which the laws of physics can be described. Calling relativity physics would be like calling Euclidean Geometry physics.

Accelerating frames and Special Relativity

Special relativity does not deal with accelerating observers or accelerating reference frames – is a common misunderstanding. […]

# Some challenging Riddles

Here are some challenging riddles that I put forth to two different sets of students. One was a group of 4th graders (8-9 year olds) – and the other was a group of 14-16 year olds.

I am something no one wants to have, but if you have me, you do not want to lose me. […]

# Adventures in teaching–why 5th graders are smarter than grown-ups

A small bag is lying on the floor. The room is big – with high ceilings. Yet, no one can jump over the bag. Why?

I posed this to several grown-ups. No one got it. Next, I posed it to my 5th grade class. They spent exactly two minutes – trying different answers – before one […]

# Principles versus Laws

People tend to use ‘laws’ interchangeably with ‘principles’. In reality, there is an important difference between the two – as described in this short post.

Physics

A law encompasses a specific area – e.g. mechanics is fully described by Newton’s ‘laws’ – not Newton’s principles. A principle, on the other hand, encompasses ALL natural phenomenon – and […]

# Presidents and Terms – A Monte Carlo exercise using c# , .net

Consider the 24 presidents (and their corresponding 24 terms in office) in the 19th century. A student was asked to match the president to his term. Not knowing the answers, the student resorted to guessing. He had two possible strategies – one was to keep guessing the same term for every president – he was […]

# On the Ether

One of the things I never fully grasped in college was the ‘Michelson Morley’ experiment. I understood what it was for (proving the constancy of the speed of light) – and understood that it proved that very well – but I never understood the concept of the ether or the ‘ether wind’ or what that […]

# A probability problem – will these two friends ever meet?

Two friends decide to meet at a definite place between 9 AM and 10 AM. The first to arrive waits for his friend for 15 minutes and then leaves. If each of them arrives at an arbitrary moment between 9 and 10 AM, find the probability that they will meet.

First Step – Sample Space

We can […]

# Asimov on Science Fiction

This is an excerpt from the introduction to the collection of stories (Nebula Award Stories) below (edited by Isaac Asimov). Asimov remains one of the most prolific writers of all time, having written everything from textbooks, science fiction, literary critiques to just about everything else. Asimov also authored a ‘guide to Shakespeare’ – which is […]

# Matter Waves–Some calculations utilizing the wavelike nature of matter

Probably the most startling revelation of Quantum Theory was the postulate that all particles have a waviness to them. Initially, when this was proposed for photons, physicist were more open to accepting it – since light was already clearly a wavy phenomenon to begin with. However, when De-Broglie applied it to all matter – including […]

# Modeling Traffic Flow

Traffic flow is not that different from the flow of anything else. Imagine heat flow along an iron rod or water flowing down a pipe. If you observe the traffic (on a highway) from a far enough distance, the mass of cars would appear analogous to a (slowly) flowing fluid.

Let be the density […]