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Brian Cox's hair

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Dave B
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Re: Brian Cox's hair

#101 Post by Dave B » June 16th, 2011, 7:04 pm

Latest post of the previous page:

I must be out of the picture, Lewist, about the only things that I understood there were the place names!
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
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Alan C.
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Re: Brian Cox's hair

#102 Post by Alan C. » June 16th, 2011, 8:13 pm

I love Capercaillie Lewis (especially Karen Matheson :love: ) We saw Michael Marra perform in the back room of the pub we had dinner in last month, ably supported by local lass Jillian Isbister A great night.
Abstinence Makes the Church Grow Fondlers.

Nick
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Re: Brian Cox's hair

#103 Post by Nick » June 20th, 2011, 6:16 pm

Alan C. wrote:I love Capercaillie Lewis (especially Karen Matheson :love: )
It seems the feelings are mutual. One of her songs is Ailein duinn ("Dark-haired Alan").

Aah! Bless! :D

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Alan H
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Re: Brian Cox's hair

#104 Post by Alan H » June 20th, 2011, 8:37 pm

Nick wrote:
Alan C. wrote:One of her songs is Ailein duinn ("Dark-haired Alan").
That's me out then.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan H
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Re: Brian Cox's hair

#105 Post by Alan H » December 13th, 2011, 12:19 am

All you Brian Cox fans may like this in your stocking:

Image
Technical Details
Embroidered Helium atom T-Shirt
Perpetually excited grin
Made from energy that has existed since the Big Bang!
Ideal for looking wistfully at the sky
http://www.amazon.co.uk/TinyMinds-Brian ... B006G87EFE
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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Alan H
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Re: Brian Cox's hair

#106 Post by Alan H » December 13th, 2011, 12:57 am

Tomorrow (today, actually) CERN are making an announcement, possibly something to do with the Higgs Bosun, but, as usual, News Biscuit gets the news before it happens:
Large Hadron Collider finds car keys

It cost some £6.2 billion to build, but the Large Hadron Collider may have justified that enormous price tag after it finally located Professor Brian Cox’s lost car keys. The keys were lost by Cox in the 1990s while an undergraduate at the University of Manchester and his 1987 Nissan Micra has remained in an NCP car park ever since.

‘When the car keys disappeared it soon became clear that there was an effect here that had major ramifications for the world of physics,’ said Cox. ‘The keys had clearly undergone an inter-dimensional shift which had moved them through time, space, or one of the many other dimensions posited to exist, in such a way as to render them invisible to the human eye. Also, the car had been clamped and was clocking up £100 a day in storage charges, so it was vital we found an answer quick.’

Professor Stephen Hawking suggested that the Large Hadron Collider was developed to unravel just these sorts of fundamental mysteries about the universe. ‘Brian was banging his head against the wall looking for the elusive car part,’ said Professor Stephen Hawking. ‘It was doing no good, though, so we decided to bang particles together instead, but at massive speeds until he could recall where the car keys were. We also hoped that the LHC could answer other questions such as ‘Where are my glasses?’ and ‘Why did I come upstairs?’’

After years of experiments, the LHC, lying in a 27km tunnel running under the Franco-Swiss border, today finally located the missing keys in a 1.5m ridge running under the cushions on Cox’s sofa. ‘It turns out that one of the missing dimensions predicted by string theory is actually down the back of the sofa,’ explained Cox. ‘This is a major scientific advance, but a further blow to relativity. It seems the space down the back of the sofa is far greater than its outward measurements suggest, and it acts like a black hole sucking in all matter around it. I believe that if we search down the back of the world’s sofas we will find all the ships and aircraft that were believed lost in the Bermuda Triangle.’

Cox is now hoping to win the Nobel prize with his discovery in order to help pay off the massive fine that is due to get his car unclamped.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

thundril
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Re: Brian Cox's hair

#107 Post by thundril » December 13th, 2011, 1:08 am

I believe that if we are very good, then when we die we go to the Safe Place, where everybody has put everything that is lost.

Nick
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Re: Brian Cox's hair

#108 Post by Nick » December 18th, 2011, 10:23 pm

Brian Cox's hair has been sitting on the head of a very clever Prof., who gave a celebrity lecture on BBC2 at 9pm tonight. It's bound to be on BBC iplayer, and well worth a look.

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getreal
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Re: Brian Cox's hair

#109 Post by getreal » December 18th, 2011, 10:34 pm

Is that "A Night in with the Stars"? Nick, or is it another programme (he seems to be everywhere at the moment). It is available on iplayer now, but I can't see anything else.
"It's hard to put a leash on a dog once you've put a crown on his head"-Tyrion Lannister.

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Re: Brian Cox's hair

#110 Post by Nick » December 18th, 2011, 11:02 pm

Yes, indeed! :D

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Alan H
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Re: Brian Cox's hair

#111 Post by Alan H » December 18th, 2011, 11:48 pm

getreal wrote:Is that "A Night in with the Stars"? Nick, or is it another programme (he seems to be everywhere at the moment). It is available on iplayer now, but I can't see anything else.
I missed the first half-hour, but it was excellent!
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

ludite
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Re: Brian Cox's hair

#112 Post by ludite » December 19th, 2011, 3:17 pm

I just wathced it on the i player and enjoyed it as always entertaining and informative

Nick
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Re: Brian Cox's hair

#113 Post by Nick » December 19th, 2011, 5:30 pm

I wish he'd said something about Planck's Constant. That would have been useful. I will have to have another look at it, to see if some of it will stick in my brain....

Fia
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Re: Brian Cox's hair

#114 Post by Fia » December 19th, 2011, 9:46 pm

My eldest has just asked me if I'd like to watch Brian Cox. Please excuse us whilst we have some bonding Mum / Daughter time in mutual admiration of his many qualities :D

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Tetenterre
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Re: Brian Cox's hair

#115 Post by Tetenterre » December 21st, 2011, 5:45 pm

We watched it last night, and neither of us thought it particularly good and it contained silly errors (e.g Cox saying near the beginning that the Universe is a billion years old -- actually cosmologists think it is about 13.5 billion years old). Primarily, I don't think there was any clear idea of who the intended TV audience is. It was obviously edited down (at one point, arrows suddenly appeared on the blackboard drawings of standing waves), so maybe the actual event contained linking explanations or arguments that were edited out. This was highlighted for me when we were invited to take the Feynman Equations and Planck's Constant as "fundamental to the universe" or some-such, without it being demonstrated or explained why or how they are fundamental, i.e. we were invited to believe without the evidence being presented. To my way of thinking, that is antithetical to science education.

I thought the description of the Pauli Exclusion Principle was particularly poor. I also spent a lot of time wondering why he didn't actually do the Young's double-slit experiment with light -- it is trivially simple to do with a red laser-pen, and actually doing it is so much more effective than showing an image of what happens (the image looked odd to me, as there was no attenuation of intensity away from the middle). Also, the frequency he used on the ripple-tank was too low as well; you get a much better illustration of constructive and destructive interference with slightly higher frequencies.

I could bang on for longer, but it would only serve to reinforce the point that I think Cox is highly over-rated. I wonder how many people who, prior to the show, had no understanding of the physics that Cox presented, but who now feel that they have an understanding that would pass an objective test.

The one thing I did like was the demonstration with standing waves given by Jim Al-khalili (who is, to my mind, a far better science presenter than Cox) and Simon Pegg. It worked well, but it missed the opportunity to explain the implications of the chaotic bits between the standing wave frequencies -- maybe it was edited out.
Steve

Quantum Theory: The branch of science with which people who know absolutely sod all about quantum theory can explain anything.

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Dave B
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Re: Brian Cox's hair

#116 Post by Dave B » December 21st, 2011, 6:22 pm

Didn't spot the boob, TT, but I admit that I thought it could have been a lot better. Yes, who was the real audience? Some of those in the lecture hall looked quite bored to me.

Though I had to admit that I learned from the description of how to Hs and an O get linked and that made the release of energy thing a lot clearer in my mind as well.

But it was neither one thing nor the other, a bit of a bodge.

Now, can I work out why adding two nasty poisons together makes something that is essential to life in terms of the linking and blocking of electron bonds? NaCl to you lot!
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

Nick
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Re: Brian Cox's hair

#117 Post by Nick » December 21st, 2011, 9:48 pm

Hi Steve :)

How very interesting to hear your assessment, much of which I think reflects your own level of expertise. I sometimes feel a similar exasperation when economics is discussed on television.
Tetenterre wrote:We watched it last night, and neither of us thought it particularly good and it contained silly errors (e.g Cox saying near the beginning that the Universe is a billion years old -- actually cosmologists think it is about 13.5 billion years old).
Most likely a slip of the tongue, not ignorance. Maybe it should have been edited, though.
Primarily, I don't think there was any clear idea of who the intended TV audience is.
Well, I like to think it was aimed at me! Someone with little knowledge, large curiosity, not afraid of concentrating, wanting to be entertained and, if poss., amazed. I think it succeeded pretty well in those terms.
It was obviously edited down (at one point, arrows suddenly appeared on the blackboard drawings of standing waves), so maybe the actual event contained linking explanations or arguments that were edited out.
I'm sure it was edited, so maybe crucial things were lost.
This was highlighted for me when we were invited to take the Feynman Equations and Planck's Constant as "fundamental to the universe" or some-such, without it being demonstrated or explained why or how they are fundamental, i.e. we were invited to believe without the evidence being presented.
I remarked on this myself.
To my way of thinking, that is antithetical to science education.
Ooo! That's strong! I don't think that's Cox's fault; more likely a TV producer's decision. Maybe they think people would be better served by covering more ground in the time available, than delivering rock-solid proofs, of interest mainly to those who already know the answer.
I thought the description of the Pauli Exclusion Principle was particularly poor.
I'm racking my brain to recall that at all.... Maybe I should have another look. :)
I also spent a lot of time wondering why he didn't actually do the Young's double-slit experiment with light -- it is trivially simple to do with a red laser-pen, and actually doing it is so much more effective than showing an image of what happens (the image looked odd to me, as there was no attenuation of intensity away from the middle). Also, the frequency he used on the ripple-tank was too low as well; you get a much better illustration of constructive and destructive interference with slightly higher frequencies.
I can understand that. Maybe you should be a TV producer... :)
I could bang on for longer, but it would only serve to reinforce the point that I think Cox is highly over-rated. I wonder how many people who, prior to the show, had no understanding of the physics that Cox presented, but who now feel that they have an understanding that would pass an objective test.
It's a tough ask to get people with no prior knowledge to say they have an "understanding" after only one run-through. I think it is good enough that viewers broadly understand it as he goes along. That's a first step. How far they should be able to reproduce the knowledge depends on how far they want to engage.
The one thing I did like was the demonstration with standing waves given by Jim Al-khalili (who is, to my mind, a far better science presenter than Cox)....
but has he got the hair? :D
...and Simon Pegg. It worked well, but it missed the opportunity to explain the implications of the chaotic bits between the standing wave frequencies -- maybe it was edited out.
Maybe. What are those implications....? :)

The most amazing/puzzling thing was the idea that everthing in the universe is somehow connected in sequence..... or something like that.... still scratching my head over that one.... :puzzled:

Overall, I enjoyed it, and will take another look, in the hope that a bit more will stick in my brain. :)

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Dave B
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Re: Brian Cox's hair

#118 Post by Dave B » December 21st, 2011, 10:00 pm

...and Simon Pegg. It worked well, but it missed the opportunity to explain the implications of the chaotic bits between the standing wave frequencies -- maybe it was edited out.
Maybe.

What are those implications....?
:)
Me too, I'd like to know. Only thing I can think of is when you add non-harmonic electrical waveforms, that can be a mess, but a repeating mess. Human arms are not too consistent in their movements though - make lousy oscillators!
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Tetenterre
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Re: Brian Cox's hair

#119 Post by Tetenterre » December 22nd, 2011, 9:12 am

Nick wrote: How very interesting to hear your assessment, much of which I think reflects your own level of expertise.
Quite possibly. However, my expertise in particle physics is no more than what I have from teaching the subject in secondary schools coupled with a "layman's" interest; it is just about sufficient to enable me to recognise how ignorant I am.
Tetenterre wrote:...contained silly errors (e.g Cox saying near the beginning that the Universe is a billion years old -- actually cosmologists think it is about 13.5 billion years old).
Most likely a slip of the tongue, not ignorance. Maybe it should have been edited, though.
I'm sure it was a slip, but we get too many of them -- more editorial effort into content and less into style (and in the case of the "Wonders..." programmes, glitzy locations) is needed.
Well, I like to think it was aimed at me! Someone with little knowledge, large curiosity, not afraid of concentrating, wanting to be entertained and, if poss., amazed. I think it succeeded pretty well in those terms.
Fair point, but I think it could have been better done.
To my way of thinking, that is antithetical to science education.
Ooo! That's strong! I don't think that's Cox's fault; more likely a TV producer's decision.
I get the impression that Cox has quite a lot of influence on editorial decisions. That aside, I don't think it is "strong" or unfair. We spend our time (well, I do) banging on about the need for reason, critical thinking, evidence, etc. and berating people who take things on faith; I don't think it's unreasonable to expect at least a justification, if not an explanation, of why we should accept scientific assertions. (I've just spent 3 weeks doing an astronomy/cosmology course with a bunch of 17-yr olds, at the end of which they were at last beginning to realise how important it is to robustly question any statement that they felt was not supported by evidence or reason.)
I thought the description of the Pauli Exclusion Principle was particularly poor.
I'm racking my brain to recall that at all.... Maybe I should have another look. :)
'Nuff said. :D
Maybe you should be a TV producer... :)
Absolutely not; I'd be utterly crap at it. I'd love to have the resources to be able to do a presentation like Cox's, but I have don't have the charisma, need for self-promotion, pretty-boy looks, or permanent rictus-grin. Or the hair. I'll stick to being an occasional teacher/lecturer, thanks. :)
It's a tough ask to get people with no prior knowledge to say they have an "understanding" after only one run-through.
Yet our educators are expected to do that every day.
The one thing I did like was the demonstration with standing waves given by Jim Al-khalili (who is, to my mind, a far better science presenter than Cox)....
but has he got the hair? :D
:smile:
missed the opportunity to explain the implications of the chaotic bits between the standing wave frequencies -- maybe it was edited out.
Maybe. What are those implications....? :)
Simply that nothing coherent exists there and that, when they (Pegg and Al-khalili) were in that state, it reverted to one of the stable standing-wave states (which Cox did link to permitted electron energies, but there was a slight missing of an opportunity there).

I'm sure I am hard on Cox -- I find his manner condescending and supremely irritating, and I do get picky (it started when, on Stargazing Live last year, he falsely asserted that all planets are spherical -- Jupiter, for example, is clearly oblate and it's annoying to have to tell people that the reason it looks like that is not because there is something wrong with their eyes or their telescope). But I can't get away from the fact that I regularly hear what I perceive as better, more clearly reasoned, scientific explanations from amateurs at astronomical and science society meetings.
Dave B wrote:Human arms are not too consistent in their movements though - make lousy oscillators!
You'd be surprised how easy it is once you find resonance! One of my several "don't try this at home and, if you do, don't tell your mum you got it from me" things is a demonstration of resonance where you third-fill a bath with water then, with one hand, make the entire body of water oscillate from end to end; you'll find a frequency where it's easy to move it and, once you have it, it's incredibly simple to do and becomes difficult to move at any other frequency. The ceiling gets wet. :laughter:

By the way, does anyone know exactly what Cox is a professor of? What I mean is does he have a departmental chair, or is it used in the American sense, where everyone from a junior lecturer or research assistant upwards uses the title "Professor"? I know he's styled as a "research fellow" but, as far as I can ascertain, he has not published any research papers since 2003. I'd be delighted to be demonstrated to be wrong in this.
Steve

Quantum Theory: The branch of science with which people who know absolutely sod all about quantum theory can explain anything.

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Dave B
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Re: Brian Cox's hair

#120 Post by Dave B » December 22nd, 2011, 9:39 am

You'd be surprised how easy it is once you find resonance!
Oh, I know very, very well what resonance can do! Once had some very interesting effects during the development of power generating systems using resonant elements!

Quite destructive. The balanced flue of my gas heater has a loose separator plate. This is resonant to the sound of a certain two engined aircraft, at its cruising speed, that uses the local airfield. I can barely hear it, the sound energy level must be microwatts - but it is still enough to rattle a piece of metal that must weigh 50 grams or more! No other aircraft - just this one.

Getting two people to get their arms moving in perfect synchrony is not so easy - except that I know that once synchrony is achieved it is fairly easy to maintain. The mode matters, swinging a skipping rope uses the mass, centrifugal force & momentum of the rope as a kind of synchronising flywheel. Getting a wave between two people is not quite so easy.

Re: teachers/instructors: when a release course suggested that I should also become an instructor I said that it required far too many things to learn and remember in too short a time. His reply was along the lines of, "Ah, well it's like politics on the radio - you design the lesson so that there is one, very obvious, unanswered question to give them something to ask. You only need to know one more fact than you actually teach - if they ask really awkward questions remember, 'Now that is the subject of a future lesson, have patience.' Or, 'Good question, OK class, that's the homework subject, research that and give me two pages next week.' Then do the boning up ready for the next session!"
"Look forward; yesterday was a lesson, if you did not learn from it you wasted it."
Me, 2015

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Alan H
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Re: Brian Cox's hair

#121 Post by Alan H » June 28th, 2012, 1:21 am

Anyone want to see a photo I took today of Brian Cox? No? Thought not.
Alan Henness

There are three fundamental questions for anyone advocating Brexit:

1. What, precisely, are the significant and tangible benefits of leaving the EU?
2. What damage to the UK and its citizens is an acceptable price to pay for those benefits?
3. Which ruling of the ECJ is most persuasive of the need to leave its jurisdiction?

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