Why the Mark Helprin quote in my Introduction?

Full access to Block by Block’s Introduction—and then some! they certainly share a lot!—is available on google books here (pp. xiii-xx). The Introduction shares the motivations that drove me along with the structure I created to guide me. In keeping with the intent of the series of posts I plan on publishing for the foreseeableContinue reading “Why the Mark Helprin quote in my Introduction?”

Don’t let your friends off the hook. Challenge them to take action on their dreams.

1998 Me: I think I want to write a book.Friend: Does that mean you’re going to write it?Me: (to myself) oh noMe: (with sweating palms) Yes I shared a someday-maybe dream with a friend and she challenged me. “Are you going to do it or not?” When I said, with some fear of the taskContinue reading “Don’t let your friends off the hook. Challenge them to take action on their dreams.”

Gibbs free energy: G or ∆G?

One of my objectives in creating a more effective approach to teaching thermodynamics is to bring clarity to some of the confusing terms and concepts embedded in this field. Initially I focused on the concept of heat by pointing out that there is no such thing. I now turn toward free energy. As a veryContinue reading “Gibbs free energy: G or ∆G?”

Pauli exclusion is not a repulsive force, and yet…

“It’s not a force.” – Professor Steven Weinberg I made a mistake. In my book, Block by Block, I wrote about the attraction and repulsion forces between atoms. For the former, I stated that attraction results from the fact that atoms act like spinning magnets; they contain a positive charge (proton) that is separated fromContinue reading “Pauli exclusion is not a repulsive force, and yet…”

Career decision making – trust your gut

When I give thermodynamics presentations to high school and college students, I begin with a 10-minute discussion about career decision-making based on my own experiences. I now share this discussion with you, both to provide you with helpful and hopefully inspiring ideas and to also seek your feedback. Do your thoughts align with mine? LetContinue reading “Career decision making – trust your gut”

Why I paid $100 for a Vonnegut quote

Publisher: “Before we go to print, we just wanted to make sure you got permissions for the epigraphs in your book.” Me: “What’s an epigraph?” As I was traveling through the final stages of publishing my book, I learned that there are two approaches to using a quote. One is to embed the quote inContinue reading “Why I paid $100 for a Vonnegut quote”

Newton: On whose shoulders did he stand?

No Newton, no Principia. That much is clear. But did Newton do it alone? He was naturally exposed to the ideas of such predecessors as Descartes and Galileo and such contemporaries as Leibniz and Huygens. That this collective influenced Newton is reflected in his own writing, “If I have seen further it is by standingContinue reading “Newton: On whose shoulders did he stand?”

How did Galileo measure time?

Galileo, perhaps more than any other single person, was responsible for the birth of modern science – Steven Hawking [1] Galileo was fascinated by motion and continually experimented with pendulums, cannons, and rolling balls to understand why bodies move the way they do. The arguable culmination of these efforts occurred in 1604 when he discoveredContinue reading “How did Galileo measure time?”

Joule-Thomson Effect (Part 2) – my hypothesis

In a previous video (here), I stated my belief that a better understanding of thermodynamics is available by identifying the connections between the micro-world of moving and interacting atoms and the macro-world of classical thermodynamics. My goal is to do just this. My starting point? The Joule-Thomson effect, which is the temperature change that occursContinue reading “Joule-Thomson Effect (Part 2) – my hypothesis”

Goggins, Full Capability, and “Atoms First” Thermodynamics

David Goggins, ex-Navy SEAL, now ultra-athlete and motivational speaker, shared in a popular YouTube video (JRE #1212) something that I found incredibly motivating. His biggest fear, and I paraphrase here, is that he arrives at the gates of Heaven and sees God there with a clipboard, holding a list of many great accomplishments. Goggins’ fearContinue reading “Goggins, Full Capability, and “Atoms First” Thermodynamics”