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### Daybreak, Tesla, the New Yorker and of course Physicists

I spent some time playing around with the Daybreak ARG, (alternate reality game), android app this morning. Prior to this morning I had no idea what an ARG was. Players solve puzzles within the app to receive new clues. In addition, players are encouraged to post JackBoxer, (the name of the Daybreak game), logos near their locations to receive additional messages via SMS from the game's coordinators. The mathematical puzzles in the app had me reviewing Fibonacci sequences and looking up Platonic Solids. AT&T and Daybreak's creative team have done a great job of assembling material that gets people enthused about math and science. Some of the game media even mentions quark and gluon jets ala the experiments going on at Brookhaven National Laboratory only a few miles from Tesla's Wardenclyffe laboratory. Some of the game's clues have players speculating about Feynman diagrams and string theory.

Several of the game's documents mention Tesla living in the New Yorker Hotel. Last year I helped to organize an amateur radio event to support the ongoing restoration effort for Wardenclyffe. The New Yorker was kind enough to host one of the amateur radio stations commemorating Tesla's laboratory. We got to go on a tour of the hotel including the basement areas where Tesla may have spent much of his time. Here are few pictures I took during the tour:

### Cool Math Tricks: Deriving the Divergence, (Del or Nabla) into New (Cylindrical) Coordinate Systems

The following is a pretty lengthy procedure, but converting the divergence, (nabla, del) operator between coordinate systems comes up pretty often. While there are tables for converting between common coordinate systems, there seem to be fewer explanations of the procedure for deriving the conversion, so here goes!

What do we actually want?

To convert the Cartesian nabla

to the nabla for another coordinate system, say… cylindrical coordinates.

What we’ll need:

1. The Cartesian Nabla:

2. A set of equations relating the Cartesian coordinates to cylindrical coordinates:

3. A set of equations relating the Cartesian basis vectors to the basis vectors of the new coordinate system:

How to do it:

Use the chain rule for differentiation to convert the derivatives with respect to the Cartesian variables to derivatives with respect to the cylindrical variables.

The chain rule can be used to convert a differential operator in terms of one variable into a series of differential operators in terms of othe…

### The Valentine's Day Magnetic Monopole

There's an assymetry to the form of the two Maxwell's equations shown in picture 1.  While the divergence of the electric field is proportional to the electric charge density at a given point, the divergence of the magnetic field is equal to zero.  This is typically explained in the following way.  While we know that electrons, the fundamental electric charge carriers exist, evidence seems to indicate that magnetic monopoles, the particles that would carry magnetic 'charge', either don't exist, or, the energies required to create them are so high that they are exceedingly rare.  That doesn't stop us from looking for them though!

Keeping with the theme of Fairbank[1] and his academic progeny over the semester break, today's post is about the discovery of a magnetic monopole candidate event by one of the Fairbank's graduate students, Blas Cabrera[2].  Cabrera was utilizing a loop type of magnetic monopole detector.  Its operation is in concept very simpl…

### Unschooling Math Jams: Squaring Numbers in their own Base

Some of the most fun I have working on math with seven year-old No. 1 is discovering new things about math myself.  Last week, we discovered that square of any number in its own base is 100!  Pretty cool!  As usual we figured it out by talking rather than by writing things down, and as usual it was sheer happenstance that we figured it out at all.  Here’s how it went.

I've really been looking forward to working through multiplication ala binary numbers with seven year-old No. 1.  She kind of beat me to the punch though: in the last few weeks she's been learning her multiplication tables in base 10 on her own.  This became apparent when five year-old No. 2 decided he wanted to do some 'schoolwork' a few days back.

"I can sing that song... about the letters? all by myself now!"  2 meant the alphabet song.  His attitude towards academics is the ultimate in not retaining unnecessary facts, not even the name of the song :)

After 2 had worked his way through the so…