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June 6, 2018

Price's Law: Why only a few people generate half the results


Price's Law: "50% of the work is done by the square root of the total number of people who participate in the work."

More about the fascinating (and wonderfully named) Derek John de Solla Price here.

[via  Darius Foroux]

June 6, 2018 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1)

Relativity made simple*

From Science Alert


Eighteen-year-old student Ryan Chester won $400,000 back in 2015 for this video explaining Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity, part of the inaugural Breakthrough Junior Challenge — an international competition that aims to inspire the next generation of scientists and science communicators.

It's not hard to see why.

The Special Theory of Relativity, which Einstein published in 1905, is made up of two postulates:

1. The Principle of Relativity: This states that the laws of physics are the same in all inertial reference frames. Put another way, places that are moving at constant speeds relative to each other are governed by the exact same laws of physics, whether they're moving at 10 or 10 million km/h.

2. The Principle of the Constancy of the Speed of Light: This states that the speed of light in a vacuum has the same value (physicists use "c" as the value), in all inertial frames, regardless of how fast the observer or light source are travelling. Or, as Clinton Nguyen put it over at Motherboard, "Why faster-moving objects seem to age slower from a slower observer's point-of-view."

Chester tackled the first postulate using a chair, a box, and a huge bowl of popcorn.

He showed that when he sets everything up in his backyard and sits himself down in front of the popcorn, nothing happens.

Earth might be spinning at about 1,675 kilometres per hour (1,040 mph), but so are both Chester and the bowl of popcorn, so it appears as if everything is staying still.

Things change when he moves the scenario to a moving car.

At first, everything behaves just as it did in the backyard — Chester and the bowl of popcorn are steady in their positions because everything is moving at the same constant speed.

As soon as the car speeds up? Well, let's just say things get a little messy.

In the video, Chester explains how that proves the first postulate of the Special Theory of Relativity — but what about the second postulate?

First, the video gives us some background into the concept of the ether, a hypothetical medium proposed in the 1800s through which light waves travel.

It was thought that because sound waves need a medium to travel through, so too does light.

Einstein proved that the ether doesn't actually exist, and he went on to prove that light waves in a vacuum will have the same value c, regardless of the speed of the source of the light.

Chester explained the complicated relationship between the speed of light and time dilation.

He topped 2,000 applicants and 15 fellow finalists to win the prize.


*"Everything should be as simple as possible, but not too simple."—Einstein

June 6, 2018 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mini Easel Place Cards



• Set of six

• Chalk included

• X marks your spot

• 3.1"H x 2"W x O.75"D


June 6, 2018 at 08:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (0)

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