Author Archives: John F. Lindner

About John F. Lindner

John F. Lindner was born in Sleepy Hollow, New York, and educated at the University of Vermont and Caltech. He is an emeritus professor of physics and astronomy at The College of Wooster and a visiting professor at North Carolina State University. He has enjoyed multiple yearlong sabbaticals at Georgia Tech, University of Portland, University of Hawai'i, and NCSU. His research interests include nonlinear dynamics, celestial mechanics, and neural networks.

21st Century Skyscraper

Recently at its Boca Chica launch site, SpaceX stacked a Starship on a Superheavy booster to briefly form history’s largest rocket, dwarfing the Apollo Saturn V. Both a fit-check and a statement, SpaceX released the photograph below in black & … Continue reading

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Fermions like electrons, protons, and neutrons inhabit a 720° world: 360° rotations negate their quantum states, but 720° rotations restore them. A simple macroscopic model of such spinors is an arrow translating on a Möbius strip: as the center circle rotates, … Continue reading

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Squares & Cubes

Marvelously, the square of the sum of natural numbers is the sum of their cubes! Equivalently, the sum of their cubes is the square of their sum. This mathematical gem is attributed to Nicomachus of Gerasa who lived almost 2000 years … Continue reading

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As I transition to emeritus status tomorrow, I reflect on 33 years at Wooster. I am thankful for the freedom I’ve had to design my own courses, including eight first-year seminars; for the flexibility to explore a wide range of … Continue reading

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Archimedes & Euler

A complex function that is its own derivative normalized to one at zero implicitly defines the famous Archimedean and Euler constants of circular motion and exponential growth. Even in a world of strong gravity, where the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its … Continue reading

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Free-Fall Spinning Tunnels

Jump into an evacuated hole drilled straight through a uniform, static Earth-like sphere. Accelerate to 7.9 km/s (or 18 000 m.p.h.) at the center, then decelerate back to zero at the antipodes 42 minutes later! Step out of the hole upside down — … Continue reading

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Geographic Tongue

The improbable email was from a pre-dental math major asking about physics research projects combining math and dentistry, but my reaction was, “Yes — only at Wooster!”. Like animated tattoos, the surface patterns of benign migratory glossitis slowly move on the … Continue reading

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Mars Sky Crane

At the NASA press conference today, chief engineer Adam Steltzner presented three iconic images of the space age: Armstrong’s photo of Aldrin on the lunar surface, Voyager 1’s photo of Saturn and its rings from above the ecliptic, the Hubble … Continue reading

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NASA’s Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite (TESS) has discovered a sextuply-eclipsing sextuple star system. I think of “Nightfall”. The six stars of TCY 7037-89-I orbit each other in three binary pairs, as in the schematic. The primaries are slightly larger and … Continue reading

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Chemical Clock

Wooster’s summer 2019 Sherman-Fairchild group just published, “Disruption and recovery of reaction–diffusion wavefronts interacting with concave, fractal, and soft obstacles”, in Physica A. Working with Fish Yu ’21, Chase Fuller ’19, Margaret McGuire ’20, and Niklas Manz (Physics) was wonderful. … Continue reading

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