Dougmet Blog

A place to keep the longer thoughts of Doug Ashton.

Moving a Blog

Toward the end of my PhD, in 2008, I started a blog called Kinetically Constrained to talk about science and, as I was into it at the time, bad science. The name came from my thesis topic about kinetically constrained models of glass formers. It also played to that bigger feeling that, despite being such complex unique creatures, our choices are relatively constrained sometimes, and as a group we’re much more predictable than we might think....

March 30, 2021 · 7 min · Doug Ashton

Journals for e-readers

One thing that makes me cross is that despite the terrifying amount of money our library pays to buy back our research in the form of journals, they’re still not terribly easy to read. I’ve got an e-reader now and I’d like to read things on that, just the sort of value-added that the publishers could do. Unfortunately everything is still just a pdf file only to be printed on A4....

May 15, 2014 · 3 min · Douglas Ashton

The Renormalisation Group

A new video which more or less completes the critical phenomena series. Jump straight to it if you want to skip the background. One of my favourite topics is the critical point. I’ve posted many times on it, so to keep this short you can go back here for a summary. In brief, we’re looking at a small point on the phase diagram where two phases begin to look the same....

April 25, 2012 · 5 min · Douglas Ashton

The thermodynamic limit

This post has been at the back of mind for a while and written in small, most likely disjoint pieces. I wanted to think about connecting some of the more formal side of statistical mechanics to our everyday intuitions. It’s probably a bit half baked but this is a blog not a journal so I’ll just write a follow-up if I think of anything. I’m often accused of living in a rather idealised world called the thermodynamic limit....

April 18, 2012 · 7 min · Douglas Ashton

Just hurry up and sit down!

As a semi frequent flyer, and incredibly impatient stand-behinderer I couldn’t resist linking to this - Time needed to board an airplane: A power law and the structure behind it from a Norwegian group, Vidar Frette and Per Hemmer. Boarding strategy is of great importance to airlines, where the turn around time of planes – especially short haul – can make a real dent in profits. For the authors of this paper, however, it seems they just think it’s a neat model to test out 1D problems where the particles are distinguishable, rather than the more common indistinguishable particles....

January 21, 2012 · 2 min · Douglas Ashton