## Archive for July 2013

### Physics is *powerful* stuff

July 31, 2013

An’ Yur OUTTA here!

That’s Area of Study One, Unit Four, Down! Now it’s up to you to make sure it stays down for the count, and that you’ve knocked it out conclusively – time for some preparation, a bit of (mental) exercise before final round, the Assessment task.

OK, back to the serious stuff. Each of you are working on a common resource to share for the summary of this area of study, but you must also be preparing your own summary sheet (one page, one side) to be used for this task, and then revised for the next and saved for the final examination. Those resources are to be ready for distribution via the Melba Physics page on Friday, so everyone has a chance to use them over the weekend.

The first assessment task is a straight forward test – we have a data analysis task to follow. You know the nature of the questions we discussed in class, but here is a link to the cover pages and formula sheet for the task. There are also links to files that we used in class here (1, 2). Make the most of them – they will help you prepare if you make sure that what you are doing is focused so that you ace this task.

### Physics is a *moving* science

July 21, 2013

Don’t start crying – it’s not about emotion, its all about motion. On second thoughts, you might want to cry after all – this unit we start pulling out the maths, and we just WON’T STOP! There is a lot to get done, and less time to do it in, but we’ve already talked about how much harder you are going to have to work this semester, so I won’t go into that any further.

The important thing to remember, when we are solving equations or drawing graphs is that PHYSICS IS NOT A MATHEMATICAL SUBJECT! Mathematics may be one of the techniques we use to model, analyse or predict what will happen in a situation, but the important thing is the concepts and theories underneath – you must understand the ideas below the mathematics. This is why the major task I have assigned to you so far is all about your “reading record”, not a list of questions. Keep in mind you must try and understand the “why” before you start analysing the “how” with the formulas.

This is not to say that you can ignore the mathematical components -NO! But it is equally important that you make sure that you understand both parts of the science – the Mathematical (data, formulas, graphs and equations) and the Conceptual (Theories, Laws and explanations).

### What is Psychology?

July 15, 2013

Psychology is possibly the most interesting subject that you can take in school. Why? Because it is (mostly!) all about you – and you are interesting, aren’t you?

This semester, we will be studying an introduction to psychology – we will be looking at what psychology is, what sort of jobs are available in psychology, how to conduct research in psychology and a few of the more interesting types of psychological specialisations.

There will be a lot of fun this semester, but also a lot of work. Please talk to the students of last semester’s class if you think it will be easy – it isn’t and you will need to be working hard to succeed!

The human brain is an amazing thing – the picture just above is an example – are there 12 or 13 children shown in the picture  – it’s a trick, but it does show you how easy it is to trick your brain.

### Motorin’ on!

July 10, 2013

To my year 12 physics class: Get to it!

More to come…

### Get some rhythm – Some LOGARITHM!

July 8, 2013

Logarithms are a frustrating function – the inverse of exponential functions, they are infuriatingly irritating to deal with.  But logarithms are a critical part of applied mathematics, and have been a critical tool in the mathematical kit since the dawn of mathematics (Which was when Ugg the caveman wondered how many rocks he had).

Logarithms are what you get when you find what power you must raise ten to to get another number.

The most fascinating part of history is the role of logarithms in the development of arithmetic methods. The simplest aspect is that it is simpler (and less error prone) to add instead of multiplying, so if you find the logarithm of two different numbers, the product of those numbers is equal to the sum of the logarithms. This meant, that in the age before calculators or computers, the process of multiplication was sped up and simplified by using a table of logarithms to do all calculations.

But logarithms are more than just an outdated way of speeding up arithmetic calculations – they are an important tool in graphing. By using a logarithmic scale on one or more axes, you can produce graphs that cover a broad range of numbers by compressing the axis. The graph to the left is an example of this – in one simple picture it presents the entirety of the universe – if this were linear scale, either the small items would be invisible, or the the graph would have to be so large that it is useless.