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Posts Tagged "thermodynamics"

But Not Simpler

Nerds and Words: Week 52

overthinking-it-web copy

But Not Simpler has had a great first year (over 1,000,000 hits in eight months!), of course thanks to all my nerdy readers. I did a lot of experimenting here, from controversial pieces about water fluoridation to a piece on taste perception in full Seussian rhyming scheme to a piece proving that a Pacific Rim [...]

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But Not Simpler

Baby It’s Cold Outside, So Get Out There And Play With Thermodynamics


Fires are fine and hot coco is nice, but as long as you have hot water why don’t you make some fog with ice? All you need is boiling hot water, a frigid temperature outside, and an appreciation for thermodynamics. Check out the video below to see how to manufacture this icy mist and then [...]

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Physics in the Mix: Bartending Gets Scientific

Molecular gastronomy—the use of scientific techniques to create exotic cuisine—is becoming a household term. But what about molecular mixology? An article in the December Physics World (free registration required) explores how bartenders are using scientific equipment and techniques to create new cocktails, and how many long-established tricks in the mixologists’ book are firmly rooted in [...]

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Plugged In

Wind catchers – an elegant cooling design

Keeping with this month’s “cities” theme, I want to share a rather cool passive building design that has been around for centuries. Long before LEED Platinum ratings and green building programs, ancient persian architects were developing ways to keep cool in crowded cities baking under the sun. Wind catchers – or “barjeels” as they are [...]

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Roots of Unity

Lord Kelvin and the Age of the Earth

William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin. Image: Smithsonian Libraries, via Wikimedia Commons. This image is in the public domain in the United States because its copyright has expired.

Today is the 189th anniversary of the birth of William Thomson, better known as Lord Kelvin. I don’t usually make a big deal about 189th birthdays, but I’ve been thinking a lot about Lord Kelvin recently. Yesterday I came across this quote of his on Pat Ballew’s blog, which reminded me that it’s his birthday: [...]

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The Curious Wavefunction

The only two equations that you should know: Part 1

The exponential relationship between equilibrium constant and free energy, the basis of chemistry and life.

“Chemistry”, declared Roger Kornberg in an interview, “is the queen of all sciences. Our best hope of applying physical principles to the world around us is at the level of chemistry. In fact if there is one subject which an ­­­­­educated person should know in the world it is chemistry.” Kornberg won the 2006 Nobel [...]

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