Contents of the May/June 1996 issue of Quantum
by Vladimir Dubrovsky
Quantums Russian Field Editor for Math stumbles upon a rather nondescript problem in an old issue of Kvant and finds a remarkable variety of solutions based on different useful and instructive ideas. The problem, it turns out, was a diamond in the rough.
The Play of Light
by Dmitry Tarasov and Lev Tarasov
Everyone who has taken elementary physics knows that the speed of light is constant in a vacuum, but differs in various transparent media. But what if it were everywhere the same? It would be a strange world indeed!
Surprises of the Cubic Formula
by Dmitry Fuchs and Irene Klumova
Enough about quadratic equations, already! How about a formula for solving cubic equations? Well, there is one, but there are reasons why its not so handy for everyday use. (But it did play a significant role in the history of mathematics.)
Against the Current
by Alexander Mitrofanov
We dont pay much attention to the resistance the air put up as we walk through it. But as we ride a bicycle through it, or drive a race car through itthen we cant help but notice it. What is fluid resistance and how can we take it into account?
Kaleidoscope: How Enlightened Are You?
Some of the greatest minds in science struggled with the nature of light. How much of their legacy have you assimilated?
Follow-up: Queens on a Cylinder
by Alexey Tolpygo
A treatment of nonstandard chessboards and chess pieces that builds on earlier Quantum articles (Torangles and Torboards [March/April 1994] and Signals, Graphs, and Kings on a Torus [November/December 1995]).
Looking Back: A Brewer and Two Doctors
by Gennady Myakishev
A brief look at three men who were instrumental in discovering the law of conservation of energynone of them a physicist by training.
At the Blackboard I: A Pivotal Approach
by Boris Pritsker
Tips on using rotation in problem solving.
Quantum Smiles: The Mathematician, the Physicist, and the Engineer
A sampling from a collection of science jokes on the World Wide Web.
Physics Contest: Moving Matter
by Arthur Eisenkraft and Larry D. Kirkpatrick
A classic method for measuring the speed of a bullet transmogrifies into a problem featuring Tarzan and Jane!
Math Investigations: The Conductor of a Set
by George Berzsenyi
No, it doesnt have to do with railroads. It comes from a book with the tongue-in-cheek title Generatingfunctionalology (yes, its all one word!).
At the Blackboard II: Physics in the News
by Albert A. Bartlett
Using the laws of scaling and the authors candidate for Most Useful Equation in Differential Calculus to cast a news story in a new light.
Toy Store: Why Wont Weeble Wobbly Go to Bed?
by L. Borovinsky
The physics behind a certain toys contrary behavior.
How Do You Figure?: Challenges in Physics and Math
Brainteasers: Just for the Fun of It!
Scientific crossword puzzle.
Answers, Hints & Solutions
Copyright © 1996 National
Science Teachers Association