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Project Q bloopers in Rio

The Rio crew put together this hilarious blooper reel from their Project Q shoot. Extra credit for the awesome Chariots of Fire" homage at the end.

I am looking forward to seeing the final videos!

The genius of Tom Lehrer

I think Tom Lehrer is one of the funniest people ever alive. Which is surprising given that he is a mathematician. Lehrer is known for his witty, bitingly satirical, songs. A number of videos of Lehrer performing live have surfaced on Youtube. The man is a charismatic, charming, and irreverent performer.


The first Lehrer song I encountered (introduced to me by my PhD supervisor Aephraim Steinberg) is about the great Russian mathematician Nikolai Ivanovich Lobachevsky:

I am never forget the day I first meet the great Lobachevsky.
In one word he told me secret of success in mathematics. Plagiarize!

Plagiarize, Let no one else's work evade your eyes, Remember why the good Lord made your eyes, So don't shade your eyes, But plagiarize, plagiarize, plagiarize - Only be sure always to call it please 'research'.

The Elements

Tom Lehrer rapping before rapping was cool. The Elements has been covered by many people over the years. Be sure to check out this performance by Harry Potter Daniel Radcliffe on the Graham Norton Show.

New Math

Poking fun at the new math approach to teaching mathematics:

Now that actually is not the answer that I had in mind, because the book that I got this problem out of wants you to do it in base eight. But don't panic. Base eight is just like base ten really - if you're missing two fingers.

Derivative Song

There is some great footage of Lehrer performing in 1997 at Irving "Kaps" Kaplansky's 80th Birthday Celebration. Here he sings, amongst other things, about how to take a derivative. Short and sweet.

Also from the same concert is another clever math song There is a Delta for Every Epsilon.

Poisoning Pigeons in the Park

Not a science or math song (although it does mention cyanide), but it is one of my favourites.

All the world seems in tune On a spring afternoon, When we're poisoning pigeons in the park. Ev'ry Sunday you'll see My sweetheart and me, As we poison the pigeons in the park.

A Christmas Carol

With Christmas around the corner, I thought it fitting to wrap up with this final Lehrer song.

Angels we have heard on high,
Tell us to go out and buy.

Honorable Mentions

Here are some other Lehrer songs I recommend checking out: - The Vatican Rag - That's Mathematics - Odepius Rex - The Decimal Money System: Song played to a British audience poking fun at their complex money system. - The Wiener Schnitzel Waltz - The Masochism Tango - Pollution - Wernher von Braun - I Can't Think Why?: Funny satire of professors. - I Got It From Agnes

Amazon is selling The Tom Lehrer Collection on both CD and DVD.

Schrödinger's cat: dead and alive

Schrödinger's cat: dead and alive

Schrodinger's cat: Alive and dead

This has been going around Facebook. A great use of negative space to convey a deep concept in physics. Kudos to the artist who designed this (I have not been able to track down the original yet).

Dream Board Collage Time Lapse

Jaime and a group of her friends get together once a week for a girls night. This week they used old magazines to make a collage called a dream board. I set up a camera and captured a time lapse of the event. I am beginning to like this time-lapse business.

Amazing Australian Astro and Time Lapse Photography

Alex Cherney is an Australian photographer who has taken some incredible images of the night sky. His photos have won numerous awards and are routinely featured on NASA's astronomy photo of the day site. Below are two of my favourite videos from Alex. They remind me of the superb time lapse video taken at the Very Large Telescope Array. [vimeo][/vimeo] I love the reflections in the lake and the music from the didgeridoo in the video. The next video was shot of one-and-a-half years and won first place in the STARMUS astrophotography competition. For more incredible footage check out his Vimeo page

I just got my intervalmometer (a remote control that can be programmed to take photos at regular intervals) and am excited to try out some time-lapse photography. When it comes to photography, I am always amazed and inspired by people like Alex.

360 degree panorama of the night sky

You can purchase some of his prints on Redbubble. I am buying a copy of this astounding panorama to hang in my living room.

Human Double Slit "Experiment"

It seems that June is the month of the double slit with all of the media attention. Last week IQC participated in the awesome Steel Rail Sessions, sponsoring an art installation modelled on a human scale double-slit experiment. Darin and David White from Makebright are the artists behind this cool project. The installation consists of two "slits" (paths) through which participants can pass. A webcam embedded in each slit takes the person's picture as they walk through, and the picture shows up on a distant projected screen. If two people walk through each slit simultaneously then the pictures "interfere" and are smeared out as they are projected—wavelike behaviour. A neat piece sitting at the intersection of art and science.

Evan, Colin, and myself were on hand to explain the physics behind the original double-slit experiment to the participants on the train. David has posted a great write up about the behind the scenes set up of the project. The Quantum Factory (IQC's blog) also has an interesting overview of the installation and the double slit.