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Posts tagged ‘yay science’

Of coffee rings and ballistic deposition

A friend mine shared a gorgeous video show how coffee rings form at a microscopic level.

Apparently he found the video through a impressive blog called Empirical Zeal that’s maintained by a Physics grad student. The blog post, entitled “The Universal laws behind growth patterns, or what Tetris can teach us about coffee stains,” does a nice job of introducing the notion of universality classes and has several links to some excellent articles on recent mathematical advances in the field.

The mathematics centers on the KPZ (Kardar-Parisi-Zhang) equation, which is well-described in this expository mathematical article by Ivan Corwin:  “The Kardar-Parisi-Zhang Equation and Universality Class.”

Apparently there's a coffee stain font by Mark Mustaine! (This image is taken from the Empirical Zeal post. Go read it!)

Apparently there’s a coffee stain font by Mark Mustaine! (This image is taken from the Empirical Zeal post. Go read it!)


Maybe it’s the recent flyby (and impact) that has space on people’s minds, but here are a couple of worthy links, but the sentiments one of my personal inspirations, Carl Sagan, seem to be popping up all over.

This morning for example, I read over at Brainpickings that there is a kids’ book out that seems to want to communicate a favorite notion:

The nitrogen in our DNA, the calcium in our teeth, the iron in our blood, the carbon in our apple pies were made in the interiors of collapsing stars. We are made of starstuff.  — Carl Sagan, Cosmos

You Are Stardust: Teaching Kids About the Universe in Stunning Illustrated Dioramas


On that same theme, just last night on a drive up from Tampa, I caught a nice episode of NPR’s TED Radio hour, called “Peering into space“.  These are a bit overproduced, striving but not landing on the mark set by Radiolab, but the people involved really are smart and interesting.


Curiosity has landed!

NPR’s news report: “Mars Rover Pulls Off High-Wire Landing”

Landing on Mars looks somewhat difficult

NASA’s newest Mars rover, Curiosity, is apparently the size of a compact car and is due to land August 5.

This has got to be the best promotional video I’ve ever seen for anything:

“Challenges of Getting to Mars: Curiosity’s Seven Minutes of Terror”

Unfortunately, this may be our last rover for a long time. Good thing we can follow this guy on Twitter.

Space is pretty. And smells metallic?

This is cute:  a one paragraph answer to the question, “What does space smell like?

And for good effect, here’s a recent image of the Orion Nebula that recently had the honor of being The Atlantic’s photo of the day.

xkcd: Relativistic Baseball

Over at xkcd, the new project is to answer physics-based “What if …” type questions.  It’s off to a good start!

What would happen if you tried to hit a baseball pitched at 90% the speed of light?