Every once in a while it’s good to ask ourselves some deep questions, and this one popped up as news recently. Why do old Dutch windmills turn left and newer ones turn right? It has nothing to do with the wind or with most millers being right-handed – let’s get that out of the way now.
The material that older blades are made from provide a more precise explanation. The two rods that form a cross to which the blades are attached are made from a tree trunk. As it was growing and needed sun to do so, the trunk would rotate to the right because the sun rises in the East, then moves to the South and sets in the West, and the tree would follow.
By turning the blades to the left, counter-clockwise, it would turn avoid splintering the wood. The wood needs to be super solid and ideally be of high quality, which could sometimes come from trees that grow very straight in forests, but not all the time.
Taking physics into account, there is no reason why modern-day windmills should have a preferred rotation direction. For example, wind turbines are manufactured in factories that use the same type and angle of blades, making them standardised and so they turn the same way – to the right. They could all be made to turn left if for some reason the world decided to do so.
Old Dutch windmills were not standardised and unique, which makes them nice to visit.
Tags: forests, physics, trees, windmills, wood
‘Symmetry’, a new film by Dutch film-maker and former dancer of the Nederlands Dans Theater Ruben van Leer, transforms a particle accelerator with its scientists in hard hats into a experimental dance fest. On Saturday 14 Match the show will premiere at the Cinedans Film Festival in the EYE film institute in Amsterdam for anyone who is in town.
According to Van Leer his first challenge was writing a film script for dance, which he had never done before. The main character is called Lukas played by himself, a scientist/dancer, who, by way of a soprano voice in his head sung by Claron McFadden, begins to doubt his rational thinking.
There is also a making of you can watch as well.
(Link: thecreatorsproject.vice.com, Photo of Large Hydron Collider by shotleyshort, some rights reserved)
Tags: CERN, dance, Large Hydron Collider, physics
And we’re back with a Nobel Prize winning edition of ‘Zoek de Nederlander’ (’Find the Dutch person’), with Russian-born Dutch physicist André Konstantinovich Geim, co-winner of these year’s Nobel Prize for Physics and his partner, Konstantin Sergeevich Novoselov, a Russian-British physicist. Geim is happy to have a ‘Western’ passport having chucked his Russian nationality like mouldy bread after years of frustration, while Novoselov has his reasons for enjoy dual citizenship. Either way, both these men were able to make their dream come true and future generations will surely be able to enjoy their discovery.
They were jointly awarded the Nobel Prize for Physics this year “for groundbreaking experiments regarding the two-dimensional material graphene.” Surf the net and you’ll find cool videos and explanations with magnetized frogs and graphite pencils.
This material called ‘graphene’ was long thought to be unstable, as it is only one atom thick.” Geim and Novoselov used scotch tape to drop graphene, a single layer of graphite onto a piece of silicon, and the rest is history.
(Links: rnw.nl, montrealgazette)
Tags: André Geim, graphene, Konstantin Novoselov, Nobel Prize, physics