Throwing Physics and Math(s) at the Mona Lisa

This week’s Feedback column (that I write) in New Scientist magazine has two segments. Here’s how they begin: Physics vs Mona Lisa — The wood and smile of the Mona Lisa fascinate scientists. Not wooden smile. Wood and smile. A new study in the Journal of Cultural Heritage reveals how researchers have spent 18 years exploring the wooden panel on which Leonardo da […]

An Extraordinary Scientist Who Delights in the Mundane

Ig Nobel Prize winner L. Mahadevan is profiled, by Steve Nadis, in Quanta magazine: A Scientist Who Delights in the Mundane Mahadevan uses mathematics and physics to explore commonplace phenomena, showing that many of the objects and behaviors we take for granted, and consequently give little thought to, are quite extraordinary upon closer examination… He […]

You can lead a horse’s ass to wonder, but you can’t make him think

This tiny video, by Gracie Cunningham, is a beautifully subtle example of how to make people laugh, then think. The twitter comment about it, by Alex Turner, is a good example of how you can lead a horse’s ass to wonder, but you can’t make him think. Gracie Cunningham was bombarded, on Twitter, with […]

The Shoelace Catastrophe, examined today at Cornell

Cornell University is hosting a talk today about the how-do-shoelaces-come-untied problem— specifically about the math and physics of it: MAE Colloquium: “The Shoelace Catastrophe (or a Knotty Problem on a Shoestring“) Tuesday, September 3, 2019 at 4:00pm, B11 Kimball Hall ABSTRACT: The accidental untying of a shoelace while walking often occurs without warning. Modeling and […]

Innovative Scientists Talk About Their Childhood (14): Nicole Sharp hating math class

Here’s Nicole Sharp talking about what happened when she hated math class when she was a child. What happened excited Nicole in a way that led to her eventual unusual career. Nicole created and runs FYFD, the most popular fluid dynamics web site in this part of the universe. ABOUT THIS LITTLE VIDEO SERIES—This is […]