Sunday, December 13, 2009

Quantum physics treats!

What do dog treats have to do with quantum physics? We'll find out this Friday as Union College physics Professor Chad Orzel will be speaking to math circle students about his new book, How to Teach Physics to Your Dog. The book is hot off the press and due to hit bookstores any day now, but those who are impatient can read the first chapter here. (I guess if you're REALLY impatient, you could create a wormhole and time-travel to a future when the book will be available, but if you know enough physics to create that wormhole, maybe you're ready to tackle teaching physics to an even lower lifeform than a dog, say a planaria? Ooh--I know, bad pun. Also, I gather Professor Orzel's dog actually thinks she's a higher lifeform than humans.) In any case, the title of Prof. Orzel's talk will be Quantum Physics for Dogs: Many Worlds Many Treats?

This video may give you some idea of what's in store:

We'll be listening to Prof. Orzel's talk during the middle of math circle, while eating our customary human treats (pizza!), but we also have some special mathematical treats in store Friday as well. Upstate New York ARML head coach George Reuter has concocted an excellent new high school math contest, NYSML Fall, which students will be working on from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. (team round and mega round) and from 8 p.m. to 9 p.m. (individual rounds and relay rounds!)

To make it even cooler, it turns out that out of the three reviewers who vetted the problems for the new NYSML Seasonal contest (Mike Curry, Beth Schaffer, and Tom Zink), two are former captains of Albany Area Math Circle! And to top it all off, yet another former captain of Albany Area Math Circle, Drew Besse, will be home for the holidays in time help us out with scoring and proctoring the contest! If there are any other math circle alumni who will be home in time to join us Friday, please do let us know! We won't be meeting on December 25, but also welcome alumni to join us at our January 1 meeting to be held at RPI.

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