Science education and comics

posted by @ulaulaman about #science #physics #comics #UncleScrooge
In 2002 F. Javier Perales-Palacios and José M. Vílchez-González studied the impact of comics and cartoons in the study of physics. They arrived at the following conclusions:
  1. Teaching physics by showing cartoons constituted a clear incentive in the students' attitude towards the subject.(1)
  2. Students' misconceptions to a certain degree parallel the incorrect physics in the cartoons. It is quite possible that the cartoons have reinforced these misconceptions from an early age.(1)
  3. Use of TV in the classroom to present real images (for instance, the behaviour of bodies orbiting the Earth, the movement of passengers in a bus, and so on) and contrast the real and the fictitious planes facilitates conceptual change.(1)
  4. This type of strategy can bring physics teaching closer to the communications media that most interest the students, and therefore reduce the barrier between School Science and everyday knowledge.(1)
  5. The image of science and scientists presented in the cartoons was typical and students who participated in the experiment also held this stereotyped image.(1)
  6. There was a great diversity in the results between individuals and between groups. (...) The student group clearly surpassed the teachers in the number of phenomena identified.(1)
In particular the points 2. (the incorrect physics in cartoon) and 5. (the stereotypes about science and scientists) are deepen in a recent paper by the same two authors:
We have been able to ascertain that cartoons do distort the image of science and its environment. Very often it is presented as something distant and far-removed from everyday life, thus hiding its basic objectives (explaining the world that surrounds us) under meaningless headings that make use of 'strange' (often mistaken) terms or huge and meaningless mathematical expressions. This occurs even for those familiar with the subject matter (thereby strengthening the elitist image of science), and sometimes even directly presenting some of the preconceived ideas that the bibliography acknowledges as being characteristic of adolescents. Comics also offer a distorted image of these questions, similar to the one that is presented in cartoons 'if they were silent'.(2)
The two researchers are warry about the influence of these two media, but I think that they forgot (read, for example, the point 1. of the 2002's paper) the theacher's key role in the education. Comics, indeed, are a great opportunity to introduce in a very simple way physics in classroom:
(...) educators should not underestimate the importance of learners’ interests. These interests can work for us in two ways. They can provide hooks, and they offer context. To most physics teachers, physics is clearly a subject that explores the most fundamental aspects of nature, which encompasses the smallest and largest scales we can envisage, and which deals with the most fascinating questions and phenomena. Some of our students feel the same, and come to classes with an enthusiasm to learn more. Unfortunately, however, many students do not initially share our enthusiasms.
It is so much easier to learn when we are interested in the subject matter. Learning is most effective when we are motivated to learn, and engaged by the learning process.(3)

Mathgenerator Editions: Differential Analysis

After the publications of some abstracts (with the pdf version) from papers generated with mathgen and scigen, Today I propose you a book generated with the downloadable code of mathgen. I use the following code:
./ --product=book --mode=zip --author="Gianluigi Filippelli"
In this way the software generates also the LaTeX code, and so I could eventually modify the book. For example I add a cover: first of all I generated it using Magazine Cover generator. In order to add the cover, first of all I insert the following code in the preamble:
And after I add the following code after \begin{document}:

\ begin{center}
\ end{center}

In order to create an interactive pdf I also add the following package:
pdftitle=Differential analysis,
pdfauthor=Gianluigi Filippelli,
You can download the results from
I hope that you can enjoy yourselfs with mathgen and scigen!

Journal of Mathgenerators, vol.1 issue 1

It's on-line the first issue of a new, impressive journal. The papers are really interesting, and here there are the abstracts:
Sub-Smooth, Laplace, Locally Di erentiable Ideals and Tropical Representation Theory (pdf) by L. Marino, V. Wiles, A. Huygens, C. Grassmann
Suppose every Pappus, isometric matrix is right-regular. Is it possible to study topoi? We show that $y \ni \Xi'$. Moreover, in [21], it is shown that Fr echet's conjecture is false in the context of probability spaces. Thus it has long been known that every positive, co-singular, Riemannian vector is invariant [21].
Stability methods (pdf) by G. Filippelli
Let $c = \pi$ be arbitrary. In [32], the authors described Cartan, bijective, solvable subrings. We show that $\bar f$ is not larger than $\Xi^{(\beta)}$. It is well known that $C_Q \sim i$. In [32], the authors described left-discretely quasi-independent functions.
An Investigation of Robots (pdf) by Ponder Stibbons, Juhan van Juhan, Archibald Pratchett
Systems engineers agree that multimodal symmetries are an interesting new topic in the field of machine learning, and researchers concur. After years of robust research into the Internet, we prove the understanding of access points, which embodies the practical principles of software engineering. We introduce new cooperative modalities, which we call Yarn.
$d$-canonically De Moivre morphism overnatural functors (pdf) by Gianluigi Filippelli
Let $\left | \tilde{\mathcal{{I}}} \right | \geq \aleph_0$ O. F. Qian's construction of free, continuously independent, generic curves was a milestone in parabolic PDE. We show that Noether's condition is satis ed. Now it would be interesting to apply the techniques of [33] to stochastic hulls. Next, in [37], the authors constructed groups.
Generic, combinatorially natural, everywhere invariant curves for a function (pdf) by Gianluigi Filippelli
Let $Q_S = \tilde{q}$ be arbitrary. Y. Taylor's derivation of negative, linearly hyper-nonnegative de nite, sub-Erdos monoids was a milestone in commutative probability. We show that every embedded line is convex, nitely tangential, connected and totally Minkowski. N. Sun's characterization of admissible, $\zeta$ -simply compact matrices was a milestone in non-standard Lie theory. So is it possible to compute embedded, Cli ord equations?
The Influence of Ambimorphic Algorithms on Networking (pdf) by Gianluigi Filippelli
The algorithms method to the Turing machine is defined not only by the emulation of congestion control, but also by the unfortunate need for Lamport clocks [10, 10]. Given the current status of classical configurations, computational biologists particularly desire the investigation of thin clients, which embodies the theoretical principles of artificial intelligence. We introduce a novel application for the improvement of the UNIVAC computer (DewEgo), showing that the little-known peer-to-peer algorithm for the simulation of RPCs by R. Sasaki et al. is recursively enumerable.

Paper generated using mathgen (blog) and scigen by Lucia Marino, Juhan van Juhan, and me.
Cover generated by Magazine Cover

Don Rosa's scientific wisdom

written by Piero Patteri and @ulaulaman about #DonRosa #physics #science #disney #comics
Share photos on twitter with Twitpic
I finally met again Piero Patteri at Comunicare Fisica, a workshop about the comunication of physics, and Piero gave to me a book that the italian Disney's fun site realized for Don Rosa in 2011. Because I will be to Lucca Comics in order to speak about comics and science, I decided to publish here the english version of the article that I written with Piero for the book "Don Rosa: A little something special".
The physical law of the real world are enforced in a very loose way in the comic book world. Bouncing, smashing, hitting in harmless crashes are common events in the strips, at least since the brick thrown by Ignatz against Crazy Cat, actually continuing the paroxysm of comic actions in the mute movie era. Therefore is really surprising, and amazing from a physicist point of view, to find a comics artist showing a constant effort of supporting the humoristic side embedding his plots in a rather coherent physical frame.
Here we account for our feelings when exploring the features of the Rosa's physics both in the voyager in the micro world, in The Incredible Shrinking Tightwad, both in the outer space in Solar System in Attack Of The Hideous Space Monsters, each of them a must subject in the work of sci-fi writer. After reviewing the most amusing gag offered by teletransport in On a Silver Platter we eventually land in the realm of the Extraordinary Physics acting in On stolen time, and A Matter Of Some Gravity
In the micro world
The reducing machine appearing in The Incredible Shrinking Tightwad is an explicit citation of the Carl Barks' machine in Billions in the Hole, but the device found by ducks in the garret of Uncle Scrooge is defective, and once the squeezing has been started, the process proceeds indefinetely. So, beside the discovery of new dangerous features in an increasingly small world, the out-of-control evolution in the Rosa's tale enhance the thrilling plate after plate. In Barks' tale the size reduction causes a sudden flipping of hunter/prey role between ducks and ants, and just the timely rescue by Gyro Gearloose save their lives. Here Uncle Scrooge and Donald Duck fight at every stage, jumping on the coins in the bin like on pebbles in a stream, until these become the slippery walls of huge crack, or chasing away a ugly louse in the hair which soon becomes a monster; in the end in the dirty pocket of a Beagle Boy, the germs resembling mithological monsters Medusa or One-hundred-eyed Argo are on the point of overcoming them and only a deus-ex-machina intervention seems to be able to rescue them.
On the other hand, by the exploration of the new environment looking for an escape they discover realistic details, such as the grease on a hair, or the wood yarn embedded on the surface of a sticky plum; one could say they had nothing to the plot, but just their 'useless' presence conveys the feeling that ducks are really falling in an extraordinary, but extremely realistic world. So the way out jumping on the spikes of shaven beard is not a sudden trickery but the logical opportunity built all along the tale.
The hastening of events sometime reminds Hitchcock's hunting/escaping sequences, such as in North by Northwest or Vertigo, and like in the movies by the Master of suspence, the choching solution bursts into the stage, with Uncle Scrooge becoming again full size in the hand of a Beagle Boy

In the outer space
Again the foolish switch-on of a misterious device affects the physical property of the Uncle Scrooge bin. This time it looses its wheight, and the ducks must pursue it in the space, hoping to success in reversing the operation of the device.
The comment in the italian edition on Zio Paperone #132 emphasizes the tribute to classic sci-fi movies. Although this is true as far as the dive in a space-time tunnel is concerning, quoting the Star Trek and Star War sagas, we think that most of details in the tale are an humorous tribute to Paperino e il razzo interplanetario. The space-ship travel among the asteroid belt and the encounter with a family of precious mineral digger match the corresponding sequences by Luciano Bottaro.
The parodistic side of the tribute is not only in the personality and aspect of the aliens, but also in minor characters, as the chichen, mistaken for the chief of ducks, owing to a red crest which recall the Rebo crest. The interrogation of the chicken in the last cartoon is quoting the same probing of Donal Duck by Juppiter officers.
While these points are in the realm of the 'classical sci-fi physics', Rosa adds an additional concept to his Extraordinary Physics, to be discussed later in deeper insight, to explain the operation of the antigravity device: it cancels the inertia, so that the sudden hit on the Moon does not destroy the asteroid and the bin on it. Besides recalling these amazing points, we cannot forget that in Don Rosa's drawings there is a astonishing anticipation of the dynamics of the dramatic events of 9/11.

Martin Rees: From Big Bang to the Biospheres

posted by @ulaulaman about #MartinRees #BigBang #universe #astronomy
In order to celebrate the anniversary the first observation from x-ray astonomy, the Brera's Astronomical Observatory in Milano organized the international congress X-ray Astronomy: toward the next 50 years!
To the edge of the scientific congress, the organization propose also some public events, starting from the first day, the 1st october, with a talk by the Astronomer Royal, Martin Rees.
From Big Bang to the Biospheres is a great journey in the story of the astronomy, the older science, starting from Galileo Galilei, with the invention of the telescope, and Isaac Newton, with the page from Principia about the escape velocity from Earth.
We immediatly jump to the space exploration, with the launch of the Sputnik and the Time's cover dedicated to the first man in space: Yuri Gagarin. Of course also a bit homage to the first man on Moon: Neil Armstrong.
The exploration of space continued with the satellites mission: the european Mars Express, with its spectacular images, and the last Mars' rover, Curiosity.
And after the exploration of Jupiter's satellites (Io, Europa), it arrives Cassini with its spectacular shots, in particular the Sun eclipsed by Saturn and the Huygens descending and landing on Titan.
Robots explore solar system but will follow people!
The next step in our research is to find planets beyond our Solar System: in order to perform this quest we could use two methods: the gravitational lens and the transition.
Using the first method we found 555 planets, Jupiter- and Saturn-like, but if we want to find Earth-like planets we must use the transition method, and this is the reason of the design and launch of Kepler mission.
Also the exploration with telescope could be most useful for our purpouse. We can use space telescopes, like the famouse Hubble Space Telescope, or the Earth telescopes, like the ESO's Extremely Large Telescope, that will be the greatest telescope on the planet!
With the telescopes we can observe a lot of space objects, like supernovae. The first observation of these wonderful explosions is dued by chinese astronomers, but only with Fred Hoyle we have a really powerfull theory about these objects and the nuclear interactions involving in it.
These interstellar explotions are very important in the diffusion of the heavy chemichal elements in the universe, but there are other spectacular interactions like galaxies collisions, that could be described thanks to computer simulations:

Bohr and the horseshoe

an anecdote about #NielsBohr via #GeorgeGamow
Wrote George Gamow in "Thirty Years that Shook Physics":

Above the front door of his country cottage in Tisvilde he nailed a horseshoe, which is proverbially instrumental in bringign luck. Seeing it, a visitor exclaimed: "Being as a great scientist as you are, do you really believe that a horseshoe above the entrance to a home brings luck?" "No," answered Bohr, "I certainly do not believe in this superstition. But you know," he added with a smile, "they say that it does bring luck even if you don't believe in it!"

A Day in the life of ESO

the video about the #ESO50years celebration day posted by @ulaulaman
In order to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the ESO, it was realized a streaming with a lot of talk by some ESO's researchers. After the celebration day, there was released the video of the weblive:
In the image a screenshot from Fernando Papat's talk with a quotation by Giorgio de Santillana