Wednesday, September 9, 2015

The Book Arrives

Fight Like a Physicist is finally here! It's been a very long road to get to this point, and it's amazing to have a tangible representation of that work in my hands.

This first copy belongs to Jen Hahn for supporting my work and tolerating my long hours, so I'll have to borrow hers until I get one of my own in the mail.

Looking at the book again with fresh eyes, I can imagine it's going to piss a lot of people off, and that's fine. You can't advance human knowledge without annoying the people who were happy with the the state of the world before you came along. All I can really hope for is that for every person who gets pissed off as a result of this book, two people start to ask tough questions about how they train or what it really means to be safe. If enough of us start asking tough questions, maybe one day, when someone asks a simple question, such as "Why do boxers wear gloves?" or "Why do football players wear helmets?" the answer will be a resounding "I don't know. It's pretty dumb, huh?"

Monday, August 17, 2015

A Dichotomy of Human Punches

The science for this one is not too tough, but it does seem to catch a lot of people off guard, so I figured I would turn it into a short video:

It turns out that punches are not like projectiles. Your muscles make a trade-off between adding to the velocity of a strike or adding to the effective mass, and this trade-off gives us a dichotomy based on quantities that we usually think of as changing together in simple classical mechanics scenarios.

If you want to get into the details, it is an incredibly interesting and rich topic with a lot of unanswered questions.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

Is pi really universal?

Full disclosure: I have the first 51 digits of pi tattooed on my left calf and foot, so I am personally and permanently attached to the traditional definition of pi.
My left leg
Pi is a fundamental constant of the universe, and it is defined to be a circle's circumference divided by its diameter, or the distance around a circle divided by the distance across it. The number pi shows up in math and physics on a regular basis, even when we are not talking about circles, and it is safe to say that without an understanding of pi, we would not be as technically advanced as we are as a species today.

But if NASA is right, we will discover alien life in the next 20 years, and while that life will probably just be microbial, as a species, we should start thinking about how we would communicate with intelligent life, should we ever find it. Math is a universal language, so it is only a matter of time before humans try to show off our intelligence by demonstrating our knowledge of pi, but... what if we are wrong?

Thursday, July 31, 2014

New Science Tattoo: The Periodic Table of the Elements on My Back

It is really difficult to get a good picture of your back.
It's the periodic table of the elements, and the simplicity of its structure is one of my favorite examples of scientific beauty.  Everything in our macroscopic world is made up of stuff in these boxes, and when you line them up by the number of protons like this, their columns (and general location) tell you quite a lot about their physical properties.

Other tattoos:
Just in case you were curious, here is a quick inventory of my other tattoos.  All of them represent the inherent beauty that comes from our ability to look at the universe, and build an understanding of it with only a few simple symbols.  To me, this is the prettiest art there is.

Right Calf:  The Schrödinger equation, and an electron trapped in a quantum well
This is the key to understanding how things behave at the subatomic level.
Right Foot:  The uncertainty principal
This captures the inherent randomness of our universe and our inability to observe it perfectly.  The irony is that this one is starting to rub off, making it difficult to observe.

Left Calf and Foot:  Pi, out to 51 digits
This ratio is fundamentally tied to the curious fact that our universe has more than one spatial dimension.
Left Bicep:  Maxwell's equations
These four equations govern all of electricity and magnetism.  Unfortunately for me, some assholes went and created a magnetic monopole in a laboratory, which violates the third equation, so now I have to go get an asterisk or something tattooed on there.

Left Tricep:  Electric field lines from static charges
A companion piece to maxwell's equations.  All the field lines start on the positive charge and end on the negative charge.
Left Shoulder:  Magnetic field lines from a bar magnet
Another companion piece to maxwell's equations.  Every line is a fully closed loop with no beginning and no end.
Right Ribcage:  List of martial arts I have studied
Taekwondo, kenpo, judo, wushu, muay thai, eskrima, and hapkido.  I have studied a lot more than just these, but these were the ones I felt most shaped my journey as a martial artist.  This is my only non-science tattoo, but this is still art to me because it reminds me that I live in a place where all these cultures come together, and I can learn a little bit from each of them.