What’s the point of a first-year physics class?

What do I add to a first-year university physics class on simple harmonic motion? Anything? What’s the point of a class on simple harmonic motion? Why do first-year physics classes exist? I was thinking about these questions exactly six months ago, pre-pandemic, when I started writing a blog post that seems especially relevant now. I … Continue reading What’s the point of a first-year physics class?

Book draft done!

On July 4, I finished a draft of the fourth and final part of Building Life, my popular-science book on biophysics. There’s still a lot to revise, based in part on comments from my editor and others on Parts 1-3 and, I’m sure, comments to come on Part 4, but nonetheless I’m delighted to say … Continue reading Book draft done!

A pandemic model I’d like to see

Amid the deluge of data, speculations, and commiserations about the ongoing COVID-19 (coronavirus) pandemic, here’s a modeling exercise mixing epidemiology and economics that I haven’t seen done, and that I think is important. Stated in four parts: 1. Closing schools and businesses saves lives by slowing the spread of disease, facilitating the treatment of infected … Continue reading A pandemic model I’d like to see

Can the teardrops that fall after reading bad science writing generate renewable electricity? Yes, they can.

Can the teardrops that fall after reading bad science writing generate renewable electricity? Yes, they can. 1. The puzzle of power from raindrops The usually excellent Marginal Revolution blog features daily “Assorted Links” that point to interesting articles on an exceptionally wide variety of topics, most often related to economics or sociology. Monday’s included a … Continue reading Can the teardrops that fall after reading bad science writing generate renewable electricity? Yes, they can.