Sunday, 20 July 2014

The Promiscuous Physics Plan

The muon Academy: more practicality more personality, more promiscuousness!

There's been a hiatus in the muon Academy due to a planning of changes. Some of you may have noticed muon Academy appear on other platforms: WordPress, Medium, Svtble and even The reason is that Blogger is too limited for the muon Academy mission. The mission requires more! As a result there will be no new blog posts until the changes are finalised in the awesome re-launch in September.

Twitter is still happening, so keep up with the muon Academy on Twitter, @muonAcademy!
Planning to change.

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Saturday, 12 April 2014

The Feynman Phectures on Lysics

The first few years of a physics degree are like this:

Lecturer: "Read the Feynman Lectures on Physics!"
Student: "What are the Feynman Lectures on Physics?"
At this point, a lot of students go out and buy themselves a set of the big red books emblazoned with the infamous silver text. But it turns out that you don't need to. This is how to get the Feynman Lectures on Physics for free.

Still learning to draw...

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Saturday, 29 March 2014

The Physics Video Procrastination

PhD progress has been slightly approximate in the last few weeks. In moments of research slumps, I usually end up reading PhD comics just to help me feel like I'm not alone. Either that or I'm pottering around with the side project I accidentally signed up for. Whatever the distraction, the particle physics PhD is procrastination at its finest. I'm going to explain how a free day out badly backfired.

It started with an email

There's a constant barrage of emails into my inbox. People advertising events, asking for assignment help, announcing success, announcing failure... yawn. There's even an emailing list that shares amusing links, such as Doge Weather. Most emails get a quick scan and binned, but one caught my eye. A free trip to a public engagement training workshop in London?! Naturally, I signed up. A few weeks later I was walking on Whitechapel Road - the £60 Monopoly street that no one wants, heading towards the workshop at Queen Mary University, London.

The workshop was open to physics PhD students from the entire South East Physics Network (SEPnet). So it started with meeting what felt like an endless supply of SEPnet physicists. After that the day unfolded in a peculiar fashion. Within an hour it was clear that I had signed up to make a fully fledged physics public engagement project... Huh?

That was me.
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Sunday, 26 January 2014

The String Theory String Images

String Theory and a free online library described with images... it's a good idea!
Python Strings for String Theory...
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Sunday, 19 January 2014

The Learn LaTeX Paradigm

In the last post, Fluid Dynamics researcher, Jamie Nutter, named Latex as an important tool to one of his kind. Having said that, it's actually an incredibly important tool to physicists across the spectrum. Pretty much all physicists use it. So I'm going to tell you what Latex is, why it's worth using and how you can learn it and use it for free.

For research purposes...

In Light of LaTeX 

LaTeX, to use its proper styling, has nothing to do with the shiny clothing material that might give you a peculiar Google search. In short, it's a document writing system. On a word processor such as MS Office, you type away at your computer and end up with a finished, printable, presentable document, often in the form of a PDF. Well LaTeX is pretty much the same but with an emphasis on its users being mathematicians, computer scientists, physicists... people who want equations on screen. LaTeX's forte is getting equations into a document. 

To do LaTeX magic you need an application that can understand LaTeX writing, and you need some understanding of LaTeX to write it. But before that, this image from Wikipedia really demonstrates what LaTeX is about:

The left side shows what you type into the computer. You need to type in the LaTeX commands for your writing to be understood how you want it. The line that say "\title{...}" tells the computer that the contents of the braces are the document title. After clicking to compile the document, the computer uses the commands and gives you a PDF out, as on the right side. Image from Wikipedia.

LaTeX Applications

To get started using LaTeX, you need to first get an application to do. Here's two good applications that you can install and run on your computer:
  1. TeXMaker
  2. TeXShop
However, you might be on someone else's computer or device like a Chromebook. For this situation you can you use ShareLaTeX which runs in your browser. It allows you to login into its website, write and compile multiple LaTeX projects, share projects and has a nice interface.
I had a little play at making this post on ShareLaTeX and that's what it looks like as you do.

In Search of Instructions

The best way to learn LaTeX is by doing it. Of course there are places where you can get instructions, but they are usually only good for reference. The following website is a really good reference that I run crying to at least once a week:

However, if you need something you can download, here is a PDF on LaTeX form Oxford:

There are lots more PDFs out there, however they are all pretty much the same. If you ever get a problem in LaTeX, StackExchange has a section just for LaTeX. I often end on there when I get stuck. It's also pretty helpful to have a list of the common symbols in LaTeX, like the one in that link just there.

In Limine LaTeX

A few lines back I said "the best way to learn LaTeX is by doing it", but the best way to do that is via an example. So I have made this blog post into a TeX document just for you* (which explains the variety in layout). I made it in TeXShop. Get it in the link at the end!

Vive la révolution.

Gotta love xkcd!


The following is a link to this post as a LaTeX document on Google Drive.

*Especially for you from the muon Academy!

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