Wednesday, November 28, 2012

First place-Physics!

For the average high school student, the science requirements consist of one of the following sequences:

9th grade- Biology; 10th grade- Chemistry; 11th grade-Physics
9th grade-Earth Science; 10th grade- Biology; 11th grade- Chemistry; 12th grade- Physics

The original order was developed because educators thought it was the easiest way to teach science. Each course requires successively more difficult mathematics. Students could learn Biology more easily than Chemistry or Physics.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Jury of Your Peers

If you ever read a popular science article that references papers, you’ll often see the phrase “peer-reviewed” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peer_review) Scientists typically only trust peer-reviewed papers, but sometimes the public will accept papers that haven’t been peer-reviewed. With the internet, any yahoo can post an article online. So what does this phrase mean?

Peer Review is the process by which scientific papers get accepted and how the scientific community works in general. Basically, your work isn't accepted until your peers agree with you.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Scribbling on paper

Quote from a reader: “I've learned that if you ask a physicist a hypothetical question, they will most likely try to give you a real answer. As a result, never ask a physicist a hypothetical unless you're ready for a real explanation and potentially hand-drawn diagrams on napkins. I love you guys.

A back of the envelope calculation is a rough estimate performed on a random scrap of paper (like the back of an envelope). They are synonymous with physicists. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Back-of-the-envelope_calculation

Let's go through an example of one of these calculations:
Estimate the number of pizzas consumed by all the students at the Northwestern University during one quarter. (Adapted from University of Maryland)