Is relativistic velocity addition really that strange?
May I invite you to a fun thread about a delightful quirk of relativity theory? Starting with a simple fact about rotations, I’ll hope to give you some intuition about something that’s considered wildly counterintuitive: velocity addition. Intrigued? Buckle up!
How vaccines change the spread of Covid
The arrival of several highly effective vaccines has dramatically changed the landscape of the Covid-19 pandemic. Remarkably, though, a considerable fraction of people are hesitant to get immunized. What will this do to the future of the pandemic? I try to answer this—with a simple mathematical model.
Meet a new foe: the systematics of computational flicker spectroscopy
One of the fundamental facts of statistical physics is that microscopic systems are subject to constant thermal fluctuations. These can be used to measure system properties, such as the bending rigidity of a lipid membrane. But details of how this is done can systematically affect the outcome.
How asymmetry can make lipid bilayers stiffer
Biological lipid membranes can differ in the lipid composition between their two bilayer leaflets, but they can also differ in the stress that the two leaflets harbor. We have previously shown that differentially stressed membranes can be substantially stiffer than symmetric ones. But why is this so?
Nobody comprehends Graham’s number
A delightful pastime in mathematics is to think about really big numbers. And unlike many other mathematical mind games, this is one that has captured the imagination of a much wider community. Here we talk about a famous gargantuan number, and the steps to get there.
On the unexpected sensitivity of rare events
Towards the end of the year, here’s one more blog post that’s a bit wonkish, but teaches an important lesson. It’s about statistics, and about one of the many ways in which it can be counterintuitive. We will be interested in events that are very rare.