The Theoretical Physics Equipment Store

This door, deep in the bowels of the Department of Theoretical Physics at Maynooth University, leads to a cupboard in which we keep all the equipment used in our Theoretical Physics lectures:

The door is not numbered as a security precaution because of the high value of the items contained in the cupboard. This is foolproof measure because it is the only door in the Department without a number on it, and is therefore impossible to identify. It is here that you will find, among other things, some items I used in my first-year Mechanics lectures:

  • a supply of light inelastic string;
  • frictionless pulleys (various sizes);
  • rigid rods of various lengths;
  • a large array of point masses;
  • smooth inclined planes at various angles;
  • a collection of perfectly elastic spheres;
  • bottles containing a variety of incompressible fluids of negligible viscosity;
  • jars of ideal gas.

I’m mindful, however, that we may lack some items that are in regular use in Theoretical Physics departments elsewhere, perhaps for more advanced topics,  so if anyone has ideas for things to be added to this store please suggest them through the comments box so I can ensure that we have them in stock for next semester.



16 Responses to “The Theoretical Physics Equipment Store”

  1. Bryn Jones Says:

    As a cosmologist you need jars of dark matter and dark energy.

    Good luck keeping the dark matter inside the jar.

  2. Have any light rods?

  3. At the patent office, Einstein had a drawer in his desk which he referred to as the department of theoretical physics.

  4. Pencils. Lots and lots of pencils.

  5. As a fan of garden-path statements with a pet peeve of missing hyphens, I note that you could have punningly called it the theoretical physics department store.

  6. Some perfectly elastic springs would be handy too

  7. Did you lose your frictionless surfaces? Slippery customers.

  8. Perfectly spherical horses

  9. Anton Garrett Says:

    A jar of fullstops, commas and semicolons to sprinkle over a printout of student essays.

  10. Anton Garrett Says:

    The difference between a light beam and a beam of light.

  11. Standard candles – I think you can get them for a bout a euro each in Tesco

  12. You might need to stock up on non-interacting particles. Also see if you can get any of those test charges that dont create a field of their own. Finally (and these tend to be a little expensive) try and get some infinite wires, infinite planes with uniform charge distribution, and infinitely large crystals, I think you can get the infinitely large crystal are part of the thermodynamic limit set which is a bunch of stuff with N –> infinity (again, pretty expensive)

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