Breaking the Ice on Technologies

Tag: Science / Physics and Math

A Major Proof Shows How to Approximate Numbers Like Pi

A Major Proof Shows How to Approximate Numbers Like Pi

The deep recesses of the number line are not as forbidding as they might seem. That’s one consequence of a major new proof about how complicated numbers yield to simple approximations. Quanta Magazine About Original story reprinted with permission from Quanta Magazine, an editorially independent […]

Even Physics Textbooks Tend to Get Friction Slightly Wrong

Even Physics Textbooks Tend to Get Friction Slightly Wrong

Sometimes you think you have a complete understanding of something and then BOOM—a simple problem throws everything out the window. Let’s consider a very basic physics problem involving pushing a block with a frictional force. These kinds of problems are common in introductory physics textbooks—but […]

The Twisty Physics of Simone Biles’ Historic Triple-Double

The Twisty Physics of Simone Biles’ Historic Triple-Double

What. The. Heck. Did you see that? Simone Biles appears to defy the laws of physics with this epic tumbling pass from the 2019 US Gymnastics Championships. It’s called a triple-double. That means she rotates around an axis going through her hips twice while at […]

Fractal Patterns Offer Clues to the Universe’s Origin

Fractal Patterns Offer Clues to the Universe’s Origin

Pour milk in coffee, and the eddies and tendrils of white soon fade to brown. In half an hour, the drink cools to room temperature. Left for days, the liquid evaporates. After centuries, the cup will disintegrate, and billions of years later, the entire planet, […]

The Physics of Falling Magnets in *Stranger Things* Season 3

The Physics of Falling Magnets in *Stranger Things* Season 3

I think we need to have a talk about magnets in Stranger Things. Oh, you haven’t finished Season 3 yet? Don’t worry, this isn’t a huge plot element, but it’s still technically a spoiler. Just wanted to warn you. Let’s review the magnet parts of […]

Fact-Check the Physics of Captain America Hammering Thanos

Fact-Check the Physics of Captain America Hammering Thanos

I’ve waited, and now it is time. With the official digital release of Avengers: Endgame, I can now analyze some scenes. I like to wait to give everyone a chance to see it first. In this epic scene, Captain America picks up Mjölnir (Thor’s hammer) […]

Get to Know Maxwell’s Equations—You’re Using Them Right Now

Get to Know Maxwell’s Equations—You’re Using Them Right Now

If you hang around with physics people long enough, some­one eventually will bring up Maxwell’s equations. Maybe as part of a joke, or on a T-shirt or a tattoo. But they’ll be somewhere. So even if you aren’t a physics major, it won’t hurt to […]

A Decades-Old Computer Science Puzzle Was Solved in Two Pages

A Decades-Old Computer Science Puzzle Was Solved in Two Pages

A paper posted online this month has settled a nearly 30-year-old conjecture about the structure of the fundamental building blocks of computer circuits. This “sensitivity” conjecture has stumped many of the most prominent computer scientists over the years, yet the new proof is so simple […]

Let’s Break Down the Physics of a Wickedly Curving Baseball

Let’s Break Down the Physics of a Wickedly Curving Baseball

The twitter world is going crazy over this epic pitch by Oliver Drake of the Tampa Bay Rays. Of course it’s real, but why does this happen? In physics, you don’t really under­stand something until you can model it—so let’s do just that. I’m going […]

An Electric Pickup Truck Really Could Pull a Freight Train—Here’s How

An Electric Pickup Truck Really Could Pull a Freight Train—Here’s How

In a recent stunt, a Ford crew hitched an all-electric F-150 pickup truck to a freight train filled with 42 more F-150s. Then a driver hit the throttle, and the pickup truck towed the 1.3 million-pound train. This raises some interesting questions. How hard is […]