Doing it the Hard Way

October 15, 2010

How the game ball arrived for Michigan State’s 34-17 shellacking of Michigan last Saturday:

Almost as practical as Homer’s vision of what goes on behind the scenes at a bowling ally:

In very tangentially related news, Michigan will play Alabama at Cowboys stadium in 2012. Michigan might actually have a defense by then (seven freshman starters are part of this year’s last in the FBS unit) and if Denard Robinson is still playing for a scholarship it might be a great game.

Solving Conference Realignment Mathematically

June 14, 2010

When I read this article at, I immediately thought of this site.

So, how y’all been?

Whatever you are… own it?

May 7, 2010

A tennis player recently sued for defamation when a London newspaper labeled him the world’s worst professional tennis player. Proving a tennis court and a court of law aren’t so different after all, the pro lost: the judge ruled that the newspaper’s assertion was supported by the facts.

Details here.

Reminds me of when Duke backed out of a football game with Louisville by arguing, in essence, that they could not be competitive. If I remember correctly, they replaced UL with a I AA opponent, whom they beat, but ended up missing out on bowl eligibility by one game. Though they had the requisite number of wins, wins against lower division opponents do not count towards eligibility.

Our Shrinking World

July 24, 2009

The schools of Duke and Coastal Carolina continue to get closer together. The first overtures were made when I went from graduate school in the Triangle to a job in the Grand Strand. Since, the link has remained strong. John and Ann visited in the spring to speak to my physics seminar classes, and I’ll be venturing back up to Duke very soon to collaborate with my former advisor, both activities I hope will become standing. An extensive interstate system will simplify the route between home cities. But perhaps the most important link between the two happened just this past week: CCU just got its very first Jimmy John’s.

Read the rest of this entry »

Physics Thunderdome

May 28, 2009

Pardon me for talking shop for a minute, but I have a question for the group.

The subject of a coming controversy in my program has to do with the curriculum. As it exists, the four “upper level” physics courses undergraduates are required to take are mathematical methods, analytical mechanics, electromagnetism, and thermodynamics and statistical mechanics. In addition, one must take four other science or math courses numbered 300 or above, the reason being that the degree is Applied Physics, whatever that means. One choice is, of course, quantum mechanics.

Read the rest of this entry »

Grant Wishes

May 22, 2009

I suppose I can now call myself a real scientist. I have applied for funding from the NSF.

I’m listed as a co-PI on a Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) grant proposal. We’ve called it Improving the APplied Physics Laboratory Experience, or iAPPLE. The purpose of the grant would be to create a junior-level lab course sequence,

Artist’s conception of iAPPLE.

Artist's conception of iAPPLE.

which hasn’t existed to date. Instead of doing the “classic” experiments, though, students would propose, design, and carry out independent projects. They would have to create mathematical models (using Mathematica, naturally) for the phenomena they’re investigating and produce some sort of physical apparatus of demonstration equipment-level quality. In turn, these would be folded back into the introductory courses, and the lab students would be responsible for assessing the quality of their work as it’s used in the intro classes. Therefore, a feedback loop is created, in which students come into the program and learn from materials more advanced students have made, then they make more materials for the next “generation”. These educational materials would accumulate in our department over time. It’s win/win/win… or so we believe.


The grant-writing process itself has been hectic, especially toward the end. I was gone on vacation for a week, though, so I missed a lot of the slog of writing and editing. I feel a bit guilty about it, but my responsibility in the actual execution of the grant is quite significant. But the last few days since I’ve gotten back have been a constant cycle of re-writes and edits and meeting to talk about grammar and re-formatting. We submitted it today, though, so the pressure’s off. We think we have a very good shot of getting funded. We’re all very excited about the project anyway, regardless of the NSF’s decision.

Now, it’s on to write another NSF grant about starting an REU program here…


April 15, 2009
Greg Paulus

“According to sources close to the situation, the former Duke point guard was in Ann Arbor on Tuesday meeting with Michigan football coach Rich Rodriguez about the possibility of playing this season for the Wolverines.”