Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Bohring model of the atom

It is kind of weird that we use the Bohr model of the atom, a man who advocated that quantum mechanics as a theory was complete (despite all its partially explained weirdness - presumably he felt it meshed well with his model of the atom).

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Humorous Aside: God spawns the peer review process

A hilarious comic from the farside on God.

The weight of an electron

One of the main experiments to determine the weight of an electron in an educational physics class involves balancing a metal beam partially inside a solenoid (inductor – a big cork screw of tightly wrapped wire). The problem with this is that the force applied by the solenoid is dependent on the type and orientation of the metal balance beam inside core of the solenoid.

The other main way to measure the weight of the electron is by Thompson's charge-to-mass ratio experiment.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Funding for Scientific Research

Granting agencies disperse funds allocated for science which usually comes from public and charitable money. Private industry also funds scientific research, however it is typically heavily biased towards creating a new product or process that could be profitable. Unfortunately, granting agencies are also inclined to award funds to research that could lead to a new profitable product or process. This occurs by the very nature of the overly commercialized society in which we live – if scientific research is going to affect humanity for the better it is assumed that science will do so by creating a new invention that will have to become a commercial product – thus biasing scientific funding towards more commercializable endeavours.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Humorous Aside: Those quirky quarks

If you ever wanted evidence that particle physicists are confused about the physics of very small things then go to wikipedia and read the article that describes the nature of matter. Where matter is made of elements made up of protons, electrons and neutrons. Protons and neutrons are made up of quarks. And if you want an explanation of what a quark is, suddenly you’re reading about something called color charge and color confinement - weirdly arbitrary words when trying to describe something fundamental to the universe.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Who needs science when we have automatic-science!

So a few years ago some computer science students made a new computer program that will automatically create a scientist's research paper complete with text, figures, tables, methods, results etc. The papers are filled up with lots of technical terms and a lot of nonsense.