Monthly Archives: September 2011

So long Tevatron, I hardly knew you

Today marked the cessation of operations of the Tevatron particle accelerator at Fermilab after 28 years of operation as it has been superseded by the LHC at CERN. It was a synchrotron that accelerated protons and antiprotons in opposing directions … Continue reading

Posted in Physics

Susskind lectures in book form

I’ve mentioned before Leonard Susskind’s lectures on physics, Modern Physics: The Theoretical Minimum, which are an excellent set of video lectures with the stated goal of getting the student to an understanding of modern theoretical physics fast. Here’s the link … Continue reading

Posted in Physics, Resources | 4 Comments

Fun with dimensional analysis 4 – Kepler’s Third Law

Given a body orbiting about a much larger body (so that ) and assuming nearly circular orbits, we wish to know how the period varies as the distance of the small body (planet) from the larger body (star). The relevant … Continue reading

Posted in Physics

Fun with dimensional analysis 3 – Vertical throw

A ball is thrown into the air with initial velocity and we wish to know how long it takes to return to the hand neglecting air resistance. The relevant physics is just the gravitational acceleration . Thus we have This … Continue reading

Posted in Physics

Logical Fallacy: Argumentum ad ignorantiam

The argument from ignorance or appeal to ignorance fallacy takes the form “We don’t know this to be false, therefore it is true.” It’s not that a person is ignorant or uneducated about some subject, but rather that they use … Continue reading

Posted in Rationality

History of solar system exploration: Venus

I should mention that in this series I’ll only be discussing missions that were successful in returning scientific data about their target worlds. I note it here because many early Venusian probes were unsuccessful. Venus is often considered a sister … Continue reading

Posted in Astronomy

Fun with dimensional analysis 2 – Projectile range

The problem facing every high school and introductory college physics student is that of a projectile fired at an angle ignoring air resistance. It’s fairly simple to derive from the first principles differential equations (with initial velocity , angle , … Continue reading

Posted in Physics