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About this blog

In a land of mystery, wonder, and physical phenomena, anything is possible! Join our good friends Piper, Bumblebee, Mr. Diggles, Butterscratch, Turd Ferguson, Chickenlegs, The Tillsderby Bovine, Rabbi Mole, Lardwig Pinklevester, Handsome Jester, and The Physics Professor Formerly Known As Dave (PPFKAD a.k.a. PKAD/PDFKAD/PDFCAD/P-Diddles) as we explore the exciting world of PaperLand! Don't get lost or we won't come back for you. It's dark in here. D':

Entries in this blog

 

Electrical Super Powers

Lots of people have heard the word “superconductor.” But, not too many people really know what they are or how they’re made. A superconductor is an occurrence of exactly 0 internal resistance to electrical charges and the removal of interior magnetic fields, known as the Meissner Effect. During this change, all magnetic flux within the material is transferred to the outside, greatly multiplying the outside field. Super conductance was discovered in 1911 by Dutch physicist Heike Kamerlingh O

PaperBoy

PaperBoy

 

Electricity in the Air

We all know that insulators carry charges much better than conductors. This is because conductors have much freer electrons than insulators, allowing electrical currents to form. However, these two types of materials aren’t exclusive. In fact, one can rather easily turn an insulator into a conductor. This process is known as dielectric breakdown, and concerns a variable known as the dielectric strength of a material. The dielectric strength of a material is the constant maximum electri

PaperBoy

PaperBoy

 

Inductance

Along with capacitors, inductors still make up a very important part of modern day circuitry. Often, the two are used in conjunction to great effect. Inductors usually consist of an electric current passing through a coil of wire. The coil may be in a circular or straight shape itself. The purpose of an inductor is to store voltage via a magnetic field in the coil, according to Faraday's Law of electromagnetic induction. Nowadays, inductors are often used to remove the mains hum of an

PaperBoy

PaperBoy

 

AP Spheres

In my last blog I talked about the three (up to five) types of civilization as labelled by the Kardashev Scale. I also said that type II civilizations can harness the full power of their star, with something called a Dyson Sphere. The Dyson Sphere is a theorized invention by Olaf Stapledon. The basic goal of the project is to someday completely harness the Sun’s energy output. This includes every single Joule of especially heat and light energy the fusion within the Sun’s core creates. Natu

PaperBoy

PaperBoy

 

Not Relating to the Kardashians at All

My last blog post mentioned the Fermi Paradox, that no evidence for extraterrestrial life exists despite plentiful chances. I talked about one proposed solution being a race of super aliens which control their galaxy. According to Nikolai Kardashev, Russian astrophysicist, this civilization would be classified as a Type III, the final form of existence. In 1964 he invented his Kardashev Scale for measuring a civilization's progress towards perfection. It currently has three different classificat

PaperBoy

PaperBoy

 

Big, Empty Space

Something that baffles scientists today is a strange situation called the Fermi Paradox, named after Italian physicist Enrico Fermi. The basic conundrum is that there's an incredibly high probability that alien life forms not only exist in the universe, but nearby Earth. The reason for this statement is the radically large number of solar systems in our galaxy alone. With so many stars in the observable universe, billions are similar to our Sun. The likelihood that many of these stars have

PaperBoy

PaperBoy

 

The Capacity of Capacitors

In my high school physics class, we've been talking a lot about circuits of late. And, in such a discussion who can forget capacitors? Most people know that capacitors are usually created by separating to conducting plates by a small dielectric. They store electrical charges and in doing so store electrical energy through a temporary electric field. That's all fine and good, but where is this invention used in the real world and for what purpose? Well, one basic use is the storage of e

PaperBoy

PaperBoy

 

The Weirdest Wave You Know P.3

So, an interferometer is the instrument used to measure gravitational waves. But, how do they do it? Well, the interferometer is an ingenious invention created by Albert Michelson back in the 1880s. The concept is actually quite simple too. The design starts with a concentrated laser beam, like any good invention. Next, the laser beam hits a beam-splitting mirror at a 45 degree angle. Thus, half the beam travels straight through the mirror, and the other half is deflected at a 90 degree ang

PaperBoy

PaperBoy

 

The Weirdest Wave You Know P.2

So, now that you know what gravitational waves are, where do they come from? Well, they are generated from some of the most energetic processes in the known universe. This includes supernovas (like the Big Bang), neutron star collisions, Black Hole mergers, etc. In actuality, gravitational waves can occur any time masses accelerate in non-symmetrical motion. However, the only detectible sources are the ones listed above. Even these events are often incredibly difficult to detect, since the waves

PaperBoy

PaperBoy

 

The Weirdest Wave You Know P.1

There's been a good deal of hype surrounding gravitational waves recently. It's been all over the news, and has something to do with Einstein as far as we know. Wondering what it all means? Well wonder no more, I'm here to deliver the abridged version of what you need to know! For dummies. So, what is a gravitational wave? Well, it's a wave that propagates through space-time itself. Remember how space and time are actually one thing, like a quilt over the universe? Well, gravitational waves

PaperBoy

PaperBoy

 

Light and Electricity, My Two Favorite Things that Constantly Burn Me

All physics students ought to know about the photoelectric effect. In fact, heck, all people should know about the photoelectric effect. It's incredibly important to our world. Here's a short summary. Scientists discovered that many metals actually release electrons when light is shone upon them. Some thought that this meant that the light was simply accelerating or energizing the electrons until they jumped out of the metal. However, upon further testing and changing of the intensity of th

PaperBoy

PaperBoy

 

The Shortest One There Is

Did you know there's actually a shortest possible length in the universe? At least there is supposedly, scientists believe we'll never be able to create any sort of measuring or analyzing device short enough to view it. It's called a Planck length and it equals 1.61619997E-35 m. It's derived from Planck's constant (you know, E=hf), the gravitational constant, and the speed of light. One cool way to think about it is this: imagine a .1 mm dot, about the smallest length the naked human eye ca

PaperBoy

PaperBoy

 

E and M and Everything Else

The electromagnetic spectrum is the range of electromagnetic radiation frequencies in the universe, which includes radio waves, x-rays, all kinds of light, gamma rays, etc. The reason the Em spectrum is segregated as such is because of its common interaction with matter. For example: gamma rays tend to create particle, anti-particle pairs when interacting with other matter, infrared rays tend to vibrate molecules in matter. This radiation is known to occur any time charged particles are accelera

PaperBoy

PaperBoy

 

Something Different

Once somebody asked me what I felt was more important: art or science. At the time I instinctively replied science, but upon further inspection I think that might have been a bias. I know a lot of people who don't want anything to do with science, and would much rather spend time expressing themselves in new and interesting ways. There's nothing wrong with either I suppose, but now that I'm getting older it might be good that I make a judgement call. I certainly still believe in stimul

PaperBoy

PaperBoy

 

Out with the Old

Recently I was playing video games with my brothers and their friends when they decided to move the party to another house. We were all set to go when suddenly someone mentioned the TV involved. This was soon drawn out into a long conversation about why old video games don't work well with new TV's, but work perfectly fine with old ones. Why is that? Well, the problem I am mentioning is called input lag, which is the loose definition for any large difference in time between the input to a h

PaperBoy

PaperBoy

 

A Tele-Vision for the Future

TV's have risen in popularity tremendously since their invention, and despite continuing advancements in communication they continue to be a major project across the world. This relevance is in a large part due to the innovation which has kept them higher quality, easier to operate, and/or more useful than ever. TV's started out using cathode ray tube technology to display a picture. In this setup, a vacuum tube rockets electrons towards a phosphorescent screen. Anodes accelerate the electr

PaperBoy

PaperBoy

 

Pushing and Shoving

We all know that atoms are comprised of electrons and a nucleus. The nucleus is tiny and dense with positive protons and neutral neutrons, while the electrons orbit far away and are negative. So then, why don't atoms fall through other atoms if there's so much empty space in between? Two reasons really: the electromagnetic repulsion and the Pauli exclusion principle. The first is simple. When you bring like charges together they repel, and this force is proportional to the inverse of the di

PaperBoy

PaperBoy

 

The Superist Thing in the Universe

Lots of people have heard of the word "supernova." It's gained a lot of popularity because of its incredible power. It's not surprising, after all, supernovae are the most powerful event in existence believe it or not. They're incredibly rare as well, only three have been observed in the Milky Way in the past thousand years, and that's a lot of space to blow up in. You probably already know that a supernova is the death of a star. However, there are two ways this happens. In a binary star s

PaperBoy

PaperBoy

 

Over 9000

We all know Einstein's famous equations E=mc^2. It means that energy and mass are two halves of the same variable, and that a little mass makes an enormous amount of energy. We also know its disastrous effects, as evidenced in the US's infamous Manhattan Project. The first nuclear bomb ever tested was dubbed "The Gadget, " and the test itself was nicknamed the Trinity Test. It was conducted on the morning of July 16, 1945 in the Alamogordo bombing range of New Mexico. The bomb was said to r

PaperBoy

PaperBoy

 

The Little Speaker That Could

Nowadays, almost every kid has a computer, whether it's their own or not. And, with that computer, nearly every kid listens to some type of video, music, or even alert messages. Without sound, computers just wouldn't be as useful. But how do computers make sound? The answer is quite complicated. Older computers used the common magnetic speaker, which included some array of copper wires and an iron magnet. The original design was a simple iron magnet inside a copper coil, vibrated by the ele

PaperBoy

PaperBoy

 

Electrifying!

Remember those cartoon kids shows where lightning bolts sent you flying into the sky with your pants on fire? I’m talking about a Team Rocket blasting off again sort of scenario. I always thought those were pretty funny, but how would they work in real life?   Let’s assume that by the Laws of Disney magic, being struck with lightning instantly converts all of its energy into kinetic energy for the object hit. So, a 50 kg cartoon character gets pegged. The average lightning bolt has abo

PaperBoy

PaperBoy

 

The Biggest Magnet You Know

The Sun provides us with a lot of things, most significantly life. However, without one of the special properties of our planet, it would quickly destroy us. This is because the Sun emits “solar wind.” Of course, there’s no atmosphere in space, rather, this term defines charged particles moving at supersonic speeds out of the Sun towards Earth. So, how does Earth protect us from this onslaught?   Well, it actually has a dipole magnetic field surrounding it. This means it acts like a do

PaperBoy

PaperBoy

 

Here, at the End of All Things

Ever wondered how the Universe will end? Well, if you’re not religious, there’s a myriad of options to choose from.   Lots of people know about the Big Crunch. In short, this theory dictates that at the end of the Universe’s lifespan it will stop expanding and begin to collapse in upon itself, condensing into an infinitely dense singularity. However, soon the outward pressure will trump the inwards force of gravity, and the Universe will explode in one massive supernova and be created

PaperBoy

PaperBoy

 

Fissusion

Nowadays, renewable energy becomes more and more of a problem. Rather, the fossil fuels we use to create energy are the problem, and renewable energy is the solution. We’ve tried wind, solar, water, nuclear, and plant energies as alternatives to gasoline and coal. But, one extremely promising form of energy yet remains: fusion.   We currently use only fission to create energy, which is the process of dividing large molecules by shooting various particles at it. However, this process ha

PaperBoy

PaperBoy

 

Unstoppable

Einstein had some pretty crazy theories about the universe. One of his most famous may be that no object may accelerate up to or beyond the speed of light. However, few know the implications of this startling discovery.   One instance put across is the idea that when an object moves faster, it actually gains more mass. This is because all particles in the universe are said to exist within a field called the Higgs Field. This field is responsible for the mass of all objects in existence

PaperBoy

PaperBoy

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