Archive for February 18, 2019

Lecture Demonstration

Posted in Education, The Universe and Stuff with tags , , , , on February 18, 2019 by telescoper

I am very proud to be at the forefront of teaching innovation, frequently deploying sophisticated new technology in the classroom for the benefit of the student learning experience.

I thought I’d share one of the latest devices I have developed for the Linear Algebra part of my module on Engineering Mathematics as I am all too aware that not all lecturers have such a firm grasp of the range pf possibilities offered by novel educational appliances.

This sophisticated yet lightweight tool utilizes a pressure-sensitive adhesive (`blu tack’) to attach shapes cut from a flexible sheet of a substance derived from cellulose pulp (`paper’) to a rigid plastic geometric measuring device (`ruler’) in order to represent the magnitude and direction of a vector. Illustrated here is the version designed for use with a chalkboard; an alternative version in black is available for use with a whiteboard. The head can be detached in order to separate the concept of magnitude from that of direction.

Made from lightweight materials this device is easily carried to and from the lecture theatre and can be deployed in all weather conditions (apart from rain, wind, snow, etc).

This simple yet effective hi-tech teaching tool is available for purchase throughout the European Union for just €19.99 and in the United Kingdom for £599.50.

 

Inflation after Planck

Posted in The Universe and Stuff with tags , , on February 18, 2019 by telescoper

Gratuitous Picture of Planck

There’s a paper on the arXiv by Debika Chowdhury et al with the title Inflation after Planck: Judgment Day and abstract:

Inflation is considered as the best theory of the early universe by a very large fraction of cosmologists. However, the validity of a scientific model is not decided by counting the number of its supporters and, therefore, this dominance cannot be taken as a proof of its correctness. Throughout its history, many criticisms have been put forward against inflation. The final publication of the Planck Cosmic Microwave Background data represents a benchmark time to study their relevance and to decide whether inflation really deserves its supremacy. In this paper, we categorize the criticisms against inflation, go through all of them in the light of what is now observationally known about the early universe, and try to infer and assess the scientific status of inflation. Although we find that important questions still remain open, we conclude that the inflationary paradigm is not in trouble but, on the contrary, has rather been strengthened by the Planck data.

You can download a PDF of the full paper here.

This is a pretty good introduction to live issues around the theory of cosmic inflation in the light of the results from the Planck mission. I’ll leave it to you to judge whether or not you agree with the concluding sentence of the abstract!