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Raspberry Pi Day of Making: Apply now!

The Raspberry Pi Foundation (the lovely folks who spend the money brought in by those tiny computers we all love so much) are gearing up to launch a new programme for teenagers. As part of the build-up, they’re hosting a Day of Making in Cambridge on 23rd August. For the day, they’re looking for energetic 12-18 […]

Chain Reactions (with electronics)

Like everyone else delivering ‘maker’ education, we use chain reaction machines in some of our workshops. There’s a lot of fun to be had, and some intriguing mechanisms to be discovered. But there are also some classic problems: Connecting bits of a chain reaction machine together is fraught with difficulty. It’s typically the links that fail, and that […]

This shape-changing visual effects car can… wait, what?

Suppose you’re trying to make a car advert, you’re up against tight deadlines, but you don’t actually have the car you’re supposed to be filming. What do you do? This sort of scenario is more common than you might think. Maybe the car hasn’t quite been built yet, or perhaps there are late design changes, or the manufacturer […]

Go Ballistic! winners at Big Bang North East

Phew! We’re slowly recovering from a couple of crazy days at the Big Bang North East. We spun patterns and collected hopes and dreams for future tech with the Technology Wishing Well; explored the universe with our space-themed show; and launched ping pong balls with hundreds of catapults in our Go Ballistic! workshop. We had about 18 booked groups through the […]

Study with us! PhD Studentship available

Think Physics’ host institution Northumbria University has a PhD studentship available. Here’s the title: Impact of Academic Research through Northumbria’s STEM outreach activities on the uptake of STEM disciplines by young people I know, right? Snappy. Importantly: there’s a full stipend available for this PhD, for three years at RCUK rates and fees. There’s a […]

Brain exercise for half term: P vs. NP

If you’ve reached the stage of half-term where binge-watching iZombie, staring out of the window at the miserable weather, or playing yet another round of Overwatch just aren’t doing it for you, try this minor intellectual stimulation. P vs. NP is one of the foundational problems in computer science, with a $1m bounty attached to the first […]

How long would it take to fall through the Earth?

This is a classic calculation, and one that’s surprisingly tricky: suppose you could bore a hole all the way through the Earth. If you jumped in, how long would it take you to fall through and come out of the other side? If you’re taking A-level physics you know pretty much everything you need to do […]

Engineering principles: keep it simple

We’re developing a neat little workshop based around catapults, bits of which have sneaked out into the world in test events over the last couple of months. The core of the challenge is the simplest possible catapult we could dream up, which uses a paper cup, elastic band and a plastic spoon to fire a table tennis ball at […]

Turns out motor racing might be useful after all

The Formula 1 Championship is a strange beast. I’m not alone in having become thoroughly bored with the political wranglings around it, and I’ve drifted far enough away that I no longer even recognise most of the team names. So it’s something of a surprise to learn that the engineering work going on behind the scenes might still be – […]