On Physics and Hinduism

Image courtesy, Be good stewards of mother earth.
Image courtesy, Be good stewards of mother earth.

At the entrance to the Centre for European Nuclear Research (CERN) stands a 2 metre tall statue of the Hindu deity, Nataraja (see above). To the unaware, it looks like something out of place: something that does not belong in one of the world’s largest scientific research institutions. But it is only one instance of the compatibility between physics and Hinduism. Continue reading

Start cleaning that fan, will you!

Ceiling fanI was reading today’s paper when I came across this question somebody had asked in the readers’ column: Why does a constantly rotating ceiling fan gather more dust than a stationary table fan? It was, at least, something along those lines.

Now I do not really know why I wanted to read the answer considering I knew it already, but I did and what I read rather shocked me.

The person who had answered it, no doubt an able, knowledgeable man, took to equivocation and beating around a bush that perhaps never existed. His whole argument was based on a ‘throw’ and an ‘impact’ that he referred to ever so often. He explained that dust gathering on a fan is like throwing an ice cream on the wall. The harder you throw it, the greater the impact and hence the more the volume of the ice cream blob that stays stuck to the wall.

While, at the end of this amusing explanation, we have a dirty wall, we have not really bothered to leave square one.

The idea he intended to give the readers, as far as I could, with some degree of strain, make out, was that the ceiling fan, while rotating with great force, creates great whizzing movements analogous to our throwing the hard-earned ice cream at the wall, and this in turn results in an impact on the dust particles, analogous to the ice cream striking the wall.

He also proceeds to outline that there exists another possibility; that there are many sticky dust particles that attach themselves to the fan. Continue reading