Posts Tagged ‘Pressure’


So we were welcoming the new students to the UCSB physics department last week. I believe that it has become a tradition to make ice cream with liquid nitrogen in the physics department. It is very yummy and it’s so cool. Moreover, it takes just a few minutes. Above is a movie on how not to do it. If you recall the pressure cooker explanation, I warned about the dangers of evaporating
fluids in a closed container and the ensuing pressure buildup. In this recipe, the heat is provided by the ice cream ingredients, and the nitrogen is the liquid that you are boiling. In the movie you get a graphic explosion due to excessive evaporation of nitrogen and it is so very funny. For the future, if you ever try this recipe, remember to do it in an open container! You should also learn to use wooden spoons and do it by hand. It is much more fun than a blender and it makes much less of a mess.

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Every theorist (read that theoretical physicist) knows that without coffee there is no physics. Well, kind of. Every time I visit another physics department, after I am shown my office and how to get my computer connected to the web (also indispensable for physics), I am taken with reverence to the local coffee machine and I am explained with great detail on how it is supposed to be operated. Coffee seems to be the lubricant of good ideas.

Now you can probably believe, without reason, that coffee is actually good in physics departments. Well, in my limited experience, it varies a lot. From great coffee to lousy coffee. But the caffeine is always there. What is sure is that physicists drink coffee regularly and that is a fact. Now, being as I am, born from a country where coffee is a main export item, I can be very picky as to how good coffee is supposed to taste. Also as to how it is supposed to be prepared. I can go at length about it. So I thought, how can I talk about coffee and physics at the same time?

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