chemistry, Coding, Electricity, JavaScript, Notes on everyday life, Simon makes gamez, Simon's Own Code

Test Tube Games

Simon has had hours of fun with Test Tube Games, a science games portal featuring interactive explanations and dynamic puzzles on Chemistry and Physics. He has created two simulations based on the games he played. The first one is an electromagnetic field simulator:

This project was inspired by the game/explanation “The Electric Shocktopus” on TestTubeGames.com

Code: https://editor.p5js.org/simontiger/sketches/nIwYhXLdj

Press “1” for positive charge, “2” for negative charge, “R” to run. Press “3” and “4” to create magnetic fields/ press “0” to erase them. Press Shift+1 and Shift+2 for “lazy particles”.

Simon’s other TestTubeGames-inspired project is called “Floating Astronaut”:

This project was inspired by the game/explanation “Why Do Astronauts Float?

Code: https://editor.p5js.org/simontiger/sketches/obGZyfVze

Haven’t figured out a way to put the astronaut inside the rocket yet though.

One more science game is definitely a hit at our home, “Bond Breaker” (on chemical bonds). At a certain point, it gets so hard you start feeling like a secret agent on a mission.

Simon playing “Bond Breaker”
Coding, Experiments, JavaScript, Physics, Simon's Own Code

The Three-Body Problem in p5.JS Continued

Simon returned to his project on the three body problem that he was busy with in January this year. This time, he added traces to the bodies so that their trajectories become visible: https://editor.p5js.org/simontiger/sketches/VAVeN0Ceo

He also added a counter to calculate how far the third body gets ejected:

Experiments, Physics, Simon makes gamez, Simon teaching, Together with sis

Scientific Thinking: Pulleys

Simon was inspired by the Scientific Thinking course on Brilliant.org to create this pulley simulation in Algodoo. You can download Simon’s scene called “Pulleys” and play with it yourself.

Simon and his sis Neva solving problems with pulleys

They are also doing a lot of Logic puzzles together, also on Brilliant.org.

Coding, JavaScript, Murderous Maths, Physics, Simon teaching, Simon's Own Code, Simon's sketch book

Science on the Balcony: Position of a Pendulum

Simon: “The direct formula for the position of a pendulum is not what you might think”.

Simon’s code for spring and graph: https://editor.p5js.org/simontiger/sketches/mWp6gQLxz

Simon’s code for pendulum with directed fields: https://editor.p5js.org/simontiger/sketches/U__pD4iZL

Simon’s code for simple movable pendulum: https://editor.p5js.org/simontiger/sketches/koPHNu670

Simon originally got inspired to work on this project thanks to the My Physics Lab platform. Also inspired by 3Blue1Brown’s video Differential equations, studying the unsolvable and Brilliant’s Calculus Fundamentals course.

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More Stephen Wolfram and Brian Greene

What has been your silver lining during this COVID-19 crisis so far, in terms of self-directed learning? Simon is happy that Grant Sanderson, Stephen Wolfram and Brian Greene all have more time now to make frequent streams and tutorials. In fact, he can’t even follow all of them live as they often overlap!

Luckily, years of homeschooling have allowed us to develop a very flexible approach to daily routine, enabling us to embrace learning opportunities from across the Atlantic, that mostly present themselves in the evening hours. Our learning is circular, cyclical, not linear (we learn around the clock and Simon often returns to the topics he has already covered before but at a new level).

Simon delirious watching a Stephen Wolfram livestream
A screenshot from the live chat in Stephen Wolfram’s stream

Brian Greene publishes daily videos called “Your Daily Equations” on the World Science Festival channel, and viewers can “order” which equation they want to discuss next. He also does a weekly live Q&A.

It’s funny how both Wolfram and Greene are Simon’s professors as part of the World Science Scholars program, but he seems to have gotten a better chance to engage with them personally now that we’re all stuck at home (through the live chat and comments) than during the official World Science Scholars sessions!

Every day, Simon feels like he’s sitting right next to Brian Greene in his living room. There’s this atmosphere of informal talk and human warmth, as one of the world’s top flight professors is accessible for questions and gives Simon and other students so much of his precious time to explain all the quantum physics fundamentals. So touching yesterday, as Brian Greene just took off his socks and held them up in the air to visualise spin.
On April 2: there’re equations for relativistic mass and rest mass. The speed of light equation that Brain Greene talks about is with relativistic mass. — Do you know the equation with the rest mass? — No… In fact, let’s derive it right now!
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World Science Scholars Feature Simon’s visit to CERN in a newsletter. The current course is about neurons. Reading Stephen Wolfram.

Simon’s September visit to CERN has been featured in a World Science Scholars newsletter:

Here’s our update on the World Science Scholars program. Simon has finished the first bootcamp course on the theory and quantum mechanics by one of program’s founders, string theorist Professor Brian Greene and has taken part in three live sessions: with Professor Brian Greene, Professor Justin Khoury (dark matter research, alternatives to the inflationary paradigm, such as the Ekpyrotic Universe), and Professor Barry Barish (one of the leading experts in gravitational waves and particle detectors; won the Nobel Prize in Physics along with Rainer Weiss and Kip Thorne “for decisive contributions to the LIGO detector and the observation of gravitational waves”).

September 2019: Simon at a hotel room in Geneva taking pat in his first WSS live session, with Professor Brian Greene
September 2019: screenshot from Professor Brian Greene’s course module on quantum physics

At the moment, there isn’t much going on. Simon is following the second course offered by the program, at his own pace. It’s a course about neurology and neurological statistics by Professor Suzana Herculano-Houzel and is called “Big Brains, Small Brains: The Conundrum of Comparing Brains and Intelligence”. The course is compiled from Professor Herculano-Houzel’s presentations made at the World Science Festival so it doesn’t seem to have been recorded specifically for the scholars, like Professor Brian Greene’s course was.

Professor Herculano-Houzel has made “brain soup” (also called “isotropic fractionator”) out of dozens of animal species and has counted exactly how many neurons different brains are made of. Contrary to what Simon saw in Professor Greene’s course (mainly already familiar stuff as both relativity theory and quantum mechanics have been within his area of interest for quite some time), most of the material in this second course is very new to him. And possibly also less exciting. Although what helps is the mathematical way in which the data is presented. After all, the World Science Scholars program is about interdisciplinary themes that are intertwined with mathematical thinking.

Screenshots of the course’s quizzes. Simon has learned about scale invariance, the number of neurons in the human brain, allometric and isometric scaling relationships.

Another mathematical example: in Professor Herculano-Houzel’s course on brains we have witnessed nested patterns, as if they escaped from Stephen Wolfram’s book we’re reading now.

screenshot from the course by Professor Herculano-Houzel

Simon has also contributed to the discussion pages, trying out an experiment where paper surface represented cerebral cortex:

The top paper represents the cerebral cortex of a smaller animal. Cerebral cortex follows the same physical laws when folding is applied.

Simon: “Humans are not outliers because they’re outliers, they are outliers because there’s a hidden variable”.

screenshot from Professor Herculano-Houzel’s course: after colour has been added to the plot, the patterns reveal themselves

Simon is looking forward to Stephen Wolfram’s course (that he is recording for world science scholars) and, of course, to the live sessions with him. The information that Stephen Wolfram will be the next lecturer has stimulated Simon to dive deep into his writings (we are already nearly 400 pages through his “bible” A New Kind of Science) and sparked a renewed and more profound understanding of cellular automata and Turing machines and of ways to connect those to our observations in nature. I’m pretty sure this is just the beginning.

It’s amazing to observe how quickly Simon grasps the concepts described in A New Kind of Science; on several occasions he has tried to recreate the examples he read about the night before.

Simon playing around in Wolfram Mathematica, after reading about minor changes to the initial conditions of an idealised version of the kneading process
Simon working out a “study plan” for his Chinese lessons using a network system model he saw in Stephen Wolfram’s book “A New Kind of Science”
Crafty, Experiments, motor skills, Physics, Together with sis

Some Physics Demos with Geomag

Rotating a merry-go-round with a “magic wand”
One beautiful thing about Simon’s recent return to Geomag is that, as it turned out, he is now capable of building all the tricky constructions on his own, without any help from the grown-ups
An example of a Gaussian Gun, a magnetic chain reaction to launch a steel ball at high speed. As soon as the rolling ball hits the magnet, another ball in the opposite side is launched.