A Few Head Scratchers

i-656d7084f310cdd541f67f152bc3eba8-physicbuzz.jpgLove it or hate it, physics is a demanding subject. It defines much of our knowledge and experience in a daunting variety of ways. But really, you do love physics, don’t you? On Uncertain Principles, Chad Orzel describes a modern implementation of “Maxwell’s Demon,” a dreamed-of 19th century device that could “cool a gas without obviously increasing entropy.” While this may smack of perpetual motion, researchers have taken first steps toward realizing Maxwell’s mechanism, using angled traps and lasers to winnow lower-energy atoms from a gas sample. On Starts With A Bang, Ethan Siegel explains the relative homogeneity of the solar system by imagining Jupiter much closer to the sun. At that distance its thick atmosphere would boil off, leaving behind “a hard, rocky core not all that different from our planet, except in terms of size and density.” And on Built on Facts, Matt Springer expounds on the dynamics of a Foucault pendulum, which can “swing freely in any direction” and give the illusion that it rotates the plane of its swing. Matt also includes pictures of a new pendulum at the beautiful George P. and Cynthia Woods Mitchell Institute for Fundamental Physics and Astronomy at Texas A&M.

Links below the fold.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s