From the Bright Side

Now that the summer physics 142 course is complete and I am ready to fully jump into preparations for the fall semester, here is a relaxing project for the most recent class of DUML physheads. Enjoy!


Summer I First Exam Done

My oh my!  Time flies when having fun.  A larger then average group of new DUML Physheads has completed the first exam of physics 53.   This is another diligent group of students with a great work ethic and delightful personalities.  Most are nearly over the initial shock due to the pace of the course and have settling into productive and efficient learning mode.   This summer the music and artistic dance and cheering crowd seems especially prevalent.  In honor of the first relatively successful exam I post the following humorous picture, which a Tumbled upon:

banana formula sheet
Banana Formula Sheet

I think this formula sheet could have a dual purpose; great for physics formulas and also for experiments about friction– don’t slip now!

A man and a woman performing a modern dance.
Image via Wikipedia
Feynman diagram signed by R. P. Feynman
Image via Wikipedia
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Holiday Reading for Physheads

So, the final exam for this lovely group of physics 53  DUML physheads is over,  grades have been submitted and students are putting finishing touches on the semester; getting ready to head off for the Holidays.  I can’t help submitting the following story relating to Tiger Woods car accident a short time ago:

A Gripping Read

There’s a physics angle to the Tiger Woods business of last week (that I’d not really been following since I was, thankfully, out of the country during the media blitz).

A physics angle? Really? Surely in my attempts to show the science angle in everyday things I’ve gone too far?


Well, actually there is. So there was some business with a car crashing and so forth, and there are photos of the interior of the car. There’s a book visible. It’s a physics book! It is John Gribbins’ Get a Grip on Physics, from 1999. tiger-woodss-car-with-get-close

It is out of print now, but apparently its Amazon (USA) sales rank shot from 396,224 to 2,268 over a short period. (For the record, before you ask about the other items in the photos (from Getty images), I’ve heard no news on whether umbrella sales also spiked. Or bottled water sales, for that matter.)

I like this story for lots of reasons, but the main one is that this shows to the general public that a high-profile sports star can find some time and interest to dip into a physics book from time to time. These popular level books are for everyone – not just the so-called geeks. Ordinary people with a range of interests who are interested in dipping into the larger culture that is available. I hope it encourages others to venture into this sort of reading material, without feeling/fearing that they are now going to be labelled a “science geek” for doing so. For all I know it was right next to a copy of a collection of Maya Angelou poems on his bedside table, or an excellent juicy murder-mystery novel, before he grabbed it and dashed for the car. That’s the way science should be – just out there among the other great stuff.

Here’s a Guardian story on it, with more information and some quotes from the pleased author.

I’m off to plant copies of D-Branes in the back seats of various local Hollywood stars, especially the accident prone ones. Hmmmmm, now which holiday parties is Lindsey Lohan going to?


A great group of students is currently taking this final exam. I imagine they will do well, as they have generally worked hard and performed on the previous exams and various tasks — a sharp and delightful group of physheads!

One student from Penn, needs a copy of the final to show the folks up there and since Dr. Brown makes old exam problems available for review and study, I do not violate any honor code by posting this final. I will miss this group of “laser cat” loving, quote happy, skateboard riding, young men and women. They are not only sharp, but quite entertaining. Dr. Brown does an excellent job of holding up a rigorous academic standard while still creating and maintaining a fun and relaxed learning environment. Well, the sighs from test takers continues for a little longer — but relief and a sense of accomplishment is in sight for these physheads 🙂

Physhead Quotes

Exam day today. When I arrived at DUML this morning there was a list of quotes on the board — apparently the group needed some comic relief during last nights study session. This is another example of the community which develops here in paradise as sharp students work intensely to master cool physics material.

They need to assault their manliness on each other. — Nada

I’m really getting this stuff. I was #4 in my high school class…Do you guys need help? — Wes “Chuck” Norris

I want Sandy to bring me some of her stuffed portabella delight. I want to bathe in dark chocolate. — Nate “Nateus”

“…”; “Wee = I R” — Thames

We miss Melissa, who is taking her MCAT in Jersey right now — looking forward to her victorious return.

Physhead Love

When I walked into the Repass Lab this morning and plugged in my ipod to listen to some music and begin grading homework sets, I got tickled by what was written on the whiteboard [see pic]. This is indicative of the bonding and intimacy which occurs when a group of people work intensely together [or suffer intensely together] — in our specific situation – working very hard to understand electricity and magnetism in paradise at the Crystal Coast (DUML), I call this physhead love. When real community begins to develop between a group of really fine individuals, it is very cool to witness and experience. Nearing the end of week one, this class is developing into a beautiful community of hard working students with joy and humor and a supportive nature.

A New Band or Physhead Love
A New Band or Physhead Love

[aside — I am not sure how I got the “after-thought” tag of Hype-man, but I suppose I’ll keep “hyping” 😉 ]

Time for Fun

One of the highlights of the DUML summer physics is our four hour cruise to Cape Lookout National Seashore.  Weather permitting, we head out on the Susan Hudson, get dropped off about an hour later at the dock in the bay.

Google Earth view -- Pivers Island to Cape Lookout
Google Earth view -- Pivers Island to Cape Lookout
The Lighthouse at CapeLookout _ view from dock
The Lighthouse at CapeLookout _ view from dock
On The Way to the Cape
On The Way to the Cape

Students generally have a great time relaxing. This year the trip was planned for a friday afternoon immediately following a tough exam covering mechanics through torque and angular momentum.

Getting Close
Getting Close

Fun in the Water — the topics covered following the angular momentum include fluids (Archimedes and Bernoulli) and mechanical waves — quite appropriate 🙂

Relaxed -or- Disappointed in test performance
Relaxed -or- Disappointed in test performance

The general effect of a intense study, a rigorous exam, some fun at the Cape and a rolling boat trip back to DUML can be seen in this next photo.

Sleepy Head - It has been a grand day!
Sleepy Head - It has been a grand day!

Aneitra is ready to get her Captain’s license…

The Captain(s)
Captain Aneitra

We are currently finishing our oscillations lab and getting ready for another exam this Friday — memories of a lovely day at the cape remain sweet!