Category: STEM

Tau versus Pi
Today, two of my friends independently sent me a story about Tau Day which I had hitherto never heard of. One of them asked for me comment about whether this had any point to it. At first I thought the article was just mathematical trolling, thought about it a bit more, thought there might be…

The Academic Descent to Me
How interesting, today I learned that Derek Burgess, the PhD supervisor of my PhD supervisor (Brian McMaster) was himself supervised by Frank Smithies. With a little help from the Mathematical Genealogy Project this has helped me work out my academic “parentage”. Colin Turner, Queen’s University of Belfast, 1997 Brian McMaster, Queen’s University of Belfast, 1972…

More about LHC black holes
Last week I wrote a little about the size of black holes, and incidentally discussed very primitive calculations I did on the lifespan of any black hole created by the LHC. A few days later, this interesting article showed the results of professional physicists on just how little such little black holes could grow, in…

Black Hole Radius, or How I came to love the LHC
I allowed myself to become rather distracted by my second years last week as the class was finishing. They were talking about an episode of Horizon that discussed General Relativity and theories of Quantum Gravity. What followed was a free ranging discussion on the nature of infinity, mentioned briefly in the program. But we also…

Unusual dates
This Friday, the time from the start of the Unix Epoch will be 1234567890, as noticed by Linux Pro Magazine, and no doubt others. Mathematics, being in many ways really the study of patterns is always interested in these kind of things. We are now several years on from 19111999 where all the digits in…

Crashing Cars, an answer?
Every year I attempt to visit my old PhD supervisor Brian McMaster (old in the sense that my PhD is now a thing of the past, I am making no reference to the man in question!) at Christmas time to have a quick natter and exchange gifts. I was squeezed for time this year since…

Crashing Cars
Consider two identical cars, each travelling at a constant velocity v towards each other. Suppose that they crash, and to simplify things, let’s not consider any rebound. Then the energy of each is kinetic in nature and so the energy of the crash is given by Ok. That’s a nice way to show the energy…

Einstein and Eddington
On Saturday night, quite by accident, I sat down to watch “Einstein and Eddington” on the BBC. Einstein has been an inspiration to me from an early age, and I’d known a lot about his life and work, and for many years a picture of him has adorned my room or office, though not at…

In 2008, you might still need to lie about your OS
Today my sisterinlaw, Siobhan, asked me to help her debug her brand new Sky ADSL setup. She told me her PC, with a wireless adapter, was connecting OK, but she couldn’t get onto the internet at large. I was relieved I had decided to throw my laptop in my bag when I came down to…

Email Latency
Like lots of people who are too hooked into technology for their own good, I tend to receive loads of emails a day, even after the huge quantity of spam is removed. Sometimes it’s easy, and fast to respond to a given email. Once in a while I get an email from someone that I…