Monday, 13 February 2012

Diffraction Grating

Sometimes I think my brother and his sons speak a foreign language - that concerned either with Physics or computer programming.  Today, during gift-giving for my nephew's 18th birthday - which featured the grand prize of a 750 gig hard drive with a 5-year guarantee - I gave him a humble keyring (apart from a cash donation) - cute, because it features an LED light feature which had my brother saying he would like to ' it through a diffraction grating to see the rainbow'.  Suitably awed, until I was told that any 17-year old physics student would know what he was talking about, I reflected that to some of us it is given to have given up science in favour of languages at age 13.  Thank goodness there are 'others' though. It is half term week here in the UK for both my nephews.  The elder has been closeted in his room all morning - no longer playing computer games - no indeed:  he has a 250-page project to complete for his computer-programming course. Whew!  NB - The younger one has been packed off to school for a day-long 'French refresher' pre-exam course - much to his disgust.  Predictably, although he is the best student in the class regarding the grammar side of the language, he finds it incredibly difficult to think up essays, and mostly just refuses to answer those questions.  His A-level subjects are to be Maths, Higher Maths, Computer Science & Science. Maybe he would have been more motivated if his school had offered Chinese  - an increasingly popular option these days. 


  1. I would like to have knowledge like your brother has...nice to be an A student in those subjects

  2. When I hear of the academic requirements required of today's students coupled with all the things they must participate in to be well rounded, experienced, and athletic, it makes me realize how fortunate I was to have grown up as just a kid back in the 50s and 60s.

    Don't feel bad on the science lingo. I am always amazed at how poorly the average Jeopardy contestant does in basic science and math. They know what color of underwear Othello wore, and can recognize quotes from Chaucer and Evelyn Waugh, but often don't have a clue what an atomic number or a cosine is.

    It would be interesting to see a white LED spectrum. I should imagine heavy in blue, but how do they get it so intensely white, white being a mixture of colors. We bought LED Christmas lights for our tree one year. They were colored sets and we hated them. The tree did not have a warm glow, it was an extremely cold, sharp and hard light. I believe the reason is that the colored LED bulb probably emits light is a precise wavelength, one point on the spectrum, whereas a colored incandescent lamp would probably emit a bell curve of wavelengths with the color in question being at the high point of the curve, but still heavy in yellow wavelengths of natural light. I never looked into it but that was my theory. The Christmas tree did absolutely nothing for my winter time blues that year.

    1. I'm glad you told me that info - I was considering LED lights for my Christmas tree, but I certainly won't now. I hate a cold light.

    2. Well try buying one string and putting them in your computer room or some other place where you spend some time for a week or so before you put up your tree. See how you like them. To me they were very harsh and cold and give the tree a sci fi effect. Both my wife and I hated them. For outside lights they are fine, but not in the house.

  3. They are also good on a keyring to open your front door when you come home in the dark.