11 December 2005

Nerdy t-shirts

Check out these sites: the geek section of CafePress.com and Threadless T-shirts.

A couple of interesting t-shirts: Zen Atom, i<3 lattice structures, What's Nu?, Vaarsuvius Quote, Schrodinger Cat, Einstein is my Homie

Of course, you can also shop for PhD Comics gear!

Bring back the old LEGO!

I recall with great fondness playing with LEGO, the plastic bricks with knobs. Most of my sets were from the Castle series and of those, my favorite set was the "Robin Hood" outlaw outpost. I even made a model of Fort McHenry out of Castle pieces! I also had a lot of fun with the Technic series, though I only had one set of that kind.

I was perusing the LEGO website recently. What happened in the last 10 years? There is still a Castle-like series called "Knights Kingdom". But in that series, there are very few large-piece sets. The only one I could find was "Vladek's Dark Fortress." The rest of the sets were very specific, simple things like a single knight "Sir Jayko." Where are the sprawling massive sets of my childhood? How can you be creative with these newfangled LEGO sets?

LEGO seems to have moved in the direction of recognizable labels like Star Wars. It's sad. I'll have to save my old LEGO sets for the next generation.

Favorite physics books update

I asked some more friends about their favorite physics books.

Here are the updated results of the poll:
  • V. I. Arnold, Mathematical Methods of Classical Mechanics
  • Neil W. Ashcroft and N. David Mermin, Solid State Physics
  • Ralph Baierlein, Thermal Physics
  • Grigory I. Barenblatt, Scaling
  • Herbert B. Callen, Thermodynamics and an Introduction to Thermostatistics
  • John Cardy, Scaling and Renormalization in Statistical Physics
  • Viktor Dotsenko, An Introduction to the Theory of Spin Glasses and Neural Networks
  • Bjoern Felsager, Geometry, Particles, and Fields
  • Richard P. Feynman, Feynman Lectures on Physics
  • Richard P. Feynman, QED: The Strange Theory of Light and Matter
  • Richard P. Feynman, Statistical Mechanics (2)
  • Howard Georgi, Lie Algebras in Particle Physics (2)
  • Nigel Goldenfeld, Lectures on Phase Transitions and the Renormalization Group (3)
  • Michael B. Green, John H. Schwarz, and Edward Witten, Superstring Theory
  • David J. Griffiths, Introduction to Electrodynamics (5)
  • David J. Griffiths, Introduction to Quantum Mechanics (3)
  • John David Jackson, Electrodynamics
  • Charles Kittel and Herbert Kroemer, Thermal Physics
  • Daniel Kleppner and Robert J. Kolenkow, An Introduction to Mechanics (2)
  • E. M. Lifshitz and L. D. Landau, Mechanics
  • E. M. Lifshitz and L. D. Landau, Statistical Physics
  • E. M. Lifshitz and L. D. Landau, Theory of Elasticity
  • Richard D. Mattuck, A Guide to Feynman Diagrams in the Many-Body Problem
  • Albert Messiah, Quantum Mechanics
  • V. Parameswaran Nair, Quantum Field Theory: A Modern Perspective
  • Michael E. Peskin and Daniel V. Schroeder, An Introduction to Quantum Field Theory
  • Edward M. Purcell, Electricity and Magnetism
  • Gordon Raisbeck, Information Theory
  • John J. Sakurai, Modern Quantum Mechanics (2)
  • Steven Weinberg, Gravitation and Cosmology
  • Steven Weinberg, The Quantum Theory of Fields, Vol. 1: Foundations
  • Carlo Vanderzande, Lattice Models of Polymers
  • Anthony Zee, Quantum Field Theory in a Nutshell (5)

I polled 8 condensed matter theorists, 2 condensed experimentalists, 6 particle theorists, and 1 astrophysicist.

And no, I'm not the one who picked Jackson.

07 December 2005

Fashionable watches for the geek in you

While I was reading a holiday New York Times article in the Circuits section, I came across a link to Tokyoflash. Check out the nerdy watches: watches that use LEDs to tell time, a watch that looks like an audio equalizer, even Morse Code!