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Test your brains with the Physics World blackboard quiz

A blackboard at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterlook, Canada

BLACKBOARD 1

By Matin Durrani

Can you tell what branch of physics is being described on the blackboard above? It’s one of six photographs taken by the communications folks at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada, where blackboards are an integral feature of the building’s design, appearing everywhere from the lifts to coffee areas.

In this quiz, your task is to study six blackboards and match them up with the physics topics they represent. There’s no prize, other than the satisfaction of having at least some inkling of what those clever theorists at the Perimeter are up to.

So here are the six topics:

• Accretion physics and general relativity

• Cosmology

• Neural networks and condensed matter

• Particle physics 1

• Particle physics 2

• Strings

And here are the six blackboards (you can click on each to see it in more detail).

A blackboard at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterlook, Canada

BLACKBOARD 1

 

A blackboard at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada

BLACKBOARD 2

 

A blackboard at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada

BLACKBOARD 3

 

A blackboard at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada

BLACKBOARD 4

 

A blackboard at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada

BLACKBOARD 5

 

A blackboard at the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics in Waterloo, Canada

BLACKBOARD 6

We’ll reveal the answers at the end of the month. In the meantime, please don’t spoil the quiz for others by revealing the answers in the comments.

You can find out more about the power of blackboards in a great feature in the June 2017 issue of Physics World by science writer Philip Ball, who reckons that the blackboard still
retains an aura and usefulness for physicists that more advanced technologies can’t match.

You can read the article online here and in the June issue, which is now live in the Physics World app for mobile and desktop. It includes thoughts from Lauren Hayward Sierens, a condensed-matter physicist at the Perimeter Institute, who once appeared as part of a “live blackboard” artwork.

Remember that if you are a member of the Institute of Physics, you can read Physics World magazine every month via our digital apps for iOS, Android and Web browsers.

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One comment to Test your brains with the Physics World blackboard quiz

  1. Brian Dentry

    There are times when we ‘jump’ on the band wagon too quickly.  That is not to say that we should ignore new trends or technologies, but do not throw out the baby with the bath water!

    I have a white board that I move with me for the students to use in this manner. The board is there for a student or students to pose a problem.  Then students from the same class or other classes can add to this board. Often times this goes on for days (I have had it happen when it went on for over a week).

    Something for all of us to think about.  While the new technologies are great, are we abandoning some very powerful tools that help our students to develop cognitively?

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