Category Archives: Physics


A falling cat’s twisting returns its shape to normal but rotates its body to land feet down. Earth’s spin returns a Foucault pendulum to its initial position in one day but rotates its oscillation plane. Parallel parking cyclically rotates a … Continue reading

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Norton’s Dome

Norton’s Dome is a fascinating counterexample in classical mechanics: A frictionless mass balanced at the dome’s top can remain there forever — but can also spontaneously slide down! The Shape Norton’s dome has a cubed square root profile: if the … Continue reading

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Standard Model at 50

From Haidar Essili: All I can think of to describe my experience in the Standard model’s 50th anniversary conference is to repeatedly yell the word wow, until I have lost the will to do so. I am at a loss … Continue reading

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Spring Outreach Events

Spring is a big time for outreach here at Wooster Physics. The Physics Club runs demonstrations for local elementary schools, doing often two outreach visits a week during the spring.  (In the fall, we are usually prepping for this flurry … Continue reading

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On Mercury One Day Lasts Two Years

Mercury has the most noncircular or eccentric orbit of any nondwarf planet in the solar system. This eccentricity has trapped Mercury in a 3:2 spin-orbit resonance, where it rotates three times for every two revolutions. When nearest Sol at perihelion, … Continue reading

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Stationary electric charges generate radial electric fields, and electric fields push positive charges (and pull negative charges). Moving charges also generate circulating magnetic fields, and magnetic fields deflect moving charges perpendicular to both the fields and their motions. All of electromagnetism follows. In … Continue reading

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March Meeting 2018 – Days 2 to 4!

The March Meeting is always so exciting — there is so much information here! On Tuesday morning, I went to an outstanding session on Atomic Origami.  There is some truly amazing work out there with people designing shapes of graphene … Continue reading

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Electronic Kilogram

The kilogram is the only metric unit still defined by an artifact. The International Prototype Kilogram, IPK or “Le Grand K”, is a golf-ball-sized platinum-iridium cylinder in a vault outside Paris. This year I expect the General Conference on Weights … Continue reading

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Newton’s Can(n)on

One of my favorite illustrations is the cannon thought experiment from volume three of Isaac Newton‘s Principia Mathematica. Johannes Kepler argued that planets orbit elliptically with Sol at one focus. Galileo Galilei argued that terrestrial bodies fall parabolically in space … Continue reading

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ein Stein

I’ve been fascinated by aperiodic tilings of the plane since Martin Gardner first wrote about them in Scientific American. In the 1960s, Robert Berger discovered a set of 20 426 prototiles or tile-types that can tile the plane but only with no … Continue reading

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