My dad is smart

Through a Google search, my dad found a physics research paper he wrote years ago. The title: “Nuclear magnetic resonance study of the diffusion of bound and free fluorine interstitials in alkaline-earth fluorides doped with trivalent impurities.”

The abstract:

When alkaline-earth fluorides are doped with trivalent impurities, interstitial fluorines are created to maintain charge neutrality. We have performed NMR dipolar-energy relaxation measurements over a wide temperature range and have observed the diffusion of both free and locally bound fluorine interstitials F−(i) in the extrinsic region. We have observed that these motions depend strongly on the host-crystal lattice parameter. In particular, we have observed that the motion of F−(i) which is at the nearest neighbor (nn) site to the trivalent impurity dominates the relaxation above room temperature in CaF2: Y3+ but is unobserved in BaF2: Y3+. In addition, a second type of bound F−(i) motion, characterized by a much smaller activation energy, appears over a very narrow temperature range (150-185°C) in CaF2: Y3+, but over a large temperature range (below room temperature to 130°C) in BaF2: Y3+. SrF2: Y3+ shows similar behavior over a temperature range (54-160°C), which is intermediate between that of CaF2: Y3+ and BaF2: Y3+. Possible explanations in terms of the motion of a more remotely bound F−(i) [e.g., at a next-nearest-neighbor (nnn) site] and the motion of F−(i) near clusters of dipoles are discussed. We measured activation energies for all these F−(i)motions. A comparison of our results with those by other techniques (specifically, EPR, ENDOR, optical spectroscopy, ionic conductivity, ionic thermocurrent, dielectric and anelastic loss) is also given.

It's a strange feeling realizing your dad will always be smarter than you by a wide margin. I still have to teach him how to use his new Mac, though.

Relativity as video game

Willy Chyr is turning MC Escher's Relativity into a video game.

MC Escher's work has been referenced and remixed countless times in popular culture, from The Simpsons to The Matrix, including other Escherian video games like Monument Valley. How do you respond to these other Escher remixes in Relativity?

One work that has had a big influence on Relativity is Inception, specifically the scene where Cobb (Leonardo DiCaprio) and Ariadne (Ellen Page) are walking through Paris in the dream world, and Cobb is teaching her how to manipulate dreams. Ariadne then asks “What happens when you start messing with the physics of it?” and proceeds to fold the city in half. A little later, you see Cobb and Ariadne walk up a street that’s 90 degrees to their original plane.

When I saw this scene for the first time, I immediately had a ton of questions. What if you took an object from the world on the ceiling? If you let go, would it fall back towards the ceiling because that’s where its respective gravity is pointed? And if so, could you place an object from your gravity on top of that ceiling object, and have them balance in midair? I was imagining all these crazy possibilities. Unfortunately, Inception didn’t really dive into that apsect of that world. But that’s where Relativity comes in. I want to put players in the world shown in that scene, and let them play with objects from different gravities, and see what happens.

More about the game at its website. Speaking of gravity, if I knew how I'd insert Matthew McConaughey into the animated GIF above.

The interview with Chyr concludes with asking him what he has planned after he finishes the game.

I’m thinking of going to culinary school.