Surrey Physics Blog

The blog of the Department of Physics at the University of Surrey

Tiger teams of rocket scientists

Occasionally I say to a student, that’s “not rocket science”. This is probably annoying, and I should stop it. I am trying to say: “Don’t worry, it is easy, you can do it”, but I am not sure I am succeeding. The expression implies that rocket science is hard. I am not sure this is […]


Ignore correlations, lose $9 billion

I am reading, and enjoying, “The Big Short:  Inside the Doomsday Machine“, Michael Lewis’ book on the 2008 financial crash. Judging from the book, the main reasons for the crash were human factors, basically people were placing multi-billion dollar bets they didn’t understand. They assumed the bets were virtually risk free. This was a mistake. […]


The Second Semester

Hello!  A slightly belated welcome from me to the Surrey Physics blog.  I’m one of the regular contributors, along with Jim Al-Khalili, Richard Sear and Clare Harvey.  I thought I’d kick off by introducing myself and some of what I do in the Physics Department at the University of Surrey. Now, as it happens, it’s […]


It’s a small world

Science (and maths) is a small world. We even study this fact via Erdös numbers. The Erdös number of a scientist is the number of links between him or herself and the well-known and very prolific mathematician Paul Erdös. Each link is a paper. My Erdös number is 4, because I have published a scientific […]


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