pace ghost in big bang theory

Funny Physicists on Television this Fall

If you are only going to watch one television show this fall… then watch something educational on the Discovery Channel or, better yet, the Science Channel. If you are going to watch at least two shows this fall, then add “The Big Bang Theory” to your list†. Last Tuesday evening I had the pleasure of…

polarization due to charges

Force on a Charge in the Presence of a Conducting Plane

Perhaps the most common procedure in the study of any field of physics is to calculate the forces on various objects. Studying force problems in electrostatics is the foundation for developing a strong understanding of electrodynamics. In this topic an example calculation of the force on a charged particle in a system with another particle…

screenshot of latex document

Sample of Frequently Used LaTeX Items

Introduction I use LaTeX to write any documents that require the display of mathematics. In fact, since I will be writing my thesis in LaTeX, I am creating experiment summaries and analysis notes with it. Since I use some options very often it was worthwhile to create a simple template document. The template is the…

glowing filaments in a vacuum chamber

UCLA Physics Featured in Physics Today

The UCLA Department of Physics and Astronomy is featured in the May 2007 issue of Physics Today. While the department is often featured in this publication, the May issue is the first time that I have had anything to do with it. A photo, shown below, from the PHYS 180E course (undergraduate plasma lab) is…

dipole magnetic field

Magnetized Cylinder as a Magnetic Dipole

A magnetic dipole can be made by running a current through a loop of wire. Most permanent magnets are bar magnets, however, and these are still commonly referred to as producing a dipole field. In this topic we will examine a very simple case in which the magnetization of a cylinder is used to determine…

grad student desk with labels

Typical Graduate Student’s Desk

A typical graduate student’s desk is shown in figure 1. While appearing as an unorganized cluster of paperwork and beverages, the items shown actually represent a finely tuned operation of study and productivity. The interplay of all these objects is described after the labeled image of figure 2. In figure 2 the contents of figure…

beam reflected by a negatively biased grid

Lab Exercises with an Electron Beam

Various exercises with an electron beam are performed as part of the undergraduate plasma laboratory at UCLA. This course (look up PHYS 180E at the UCLA Physics and Astronomy Dept.) is intended to introduce upper division undergraduates to experimental plasma physics. While acting as the TA for the course during the Spring 2006 quarter I…

HP 7035B X-Y Recorder

Old School – The XY Recorder

While working in an undergraduate plasma laboratory I had the opportunity to use an old device for recording data. The XY recorder is to data collection as the typewriter is to a computer. An ink pen is attached to a rail that moves according to input signals. The recorded takes a voltage input for both…

contour plot example 3

Contour Plotting Routine for IDL

Update: An object oriented version of this routine, one that uses iContour, is now available as conmakeOBJ. Details Filename: conmake.txt (Contour Make) Direct Download: conmake NOTE: the download is provided as a .txt format, but the file must be renamed with a .pro extension (i.e. conmake.pro) before using. File Last Updated: March 14, 2006 About A…