Permittivity and Frustration

Good evening, Darien.

It’s Saturday.
Forty eight hours ago, my goal for this post was to elucidate the concept of electrical permittivity.  I have since given up on that goal.  Permittivity, although it seems delightfully simple, has proved frustratingly difficult to get my head around.  I feel that I have greatly improved my understanding as a result of my efforts, but I am still quite far from a full understanding.  There are many sources available online which explain these things far better than I can as of now.  I plan to continue to investigate this, and hopefully come up with a worthwhile discussion in a couple of weeks.  Until then, I will share some of the websites that I have found most helpful.

This article is focused on permittivity.  Quite helpful.  Links e with E,P, and D

This article is initially helpful, but then goes too broad.

Here we have a brief application of permittivity to antenna theory.

SPLENDID!!! This and this answers the question “Why isn’t e0 = 1, since nothing can be more empty than a vacuum?”

Until next week,


Inaugural Post: Rules and telos (or lack thereof)

Good afternoon, Alexander, it’s Sunday.

As the inaugural poster for AlkynesofPi (Note to us: we need to decide how we want to stylize this moniker) I have been beset with many wonderful possibilities for the first posting to set the tone of our blog. I’ve considered posting about electromagnetic pumps; I even printed off a bunch of papers concerning pumps, of course, I promptly did not read them—as per my usual style. As of yesterday I was thinking greatly about a question that was posed to us in a physical chemistry exam, so I considered writing about the mixing of ideal gases and how entropy is a bit of a tenacious and possibly pernicious idea. Alas none of those actually happened. Why? I’m being lazy, of course.

So instead of a snarky review of Gibbs paradox or a discussion of how awesome engineers are for designing electromagnetic pumps you get to read a terribly uninteresting post concerning the ideas and guidelines behind AlkynesofPi.

Firstly, there are no rules. If there were rules then the first rule would HAVE to be one cannot post about something uninteresting, clearly I am violating that rule, and a violation of rules sets a bad tone to a highbrowed blog, no? So, that must be the first rule—that there are no rules.

Second rule: posts are to be made on alternate weeks by each of us with a week starting on Sunday and ending on Saturday. In other words, I posted this today, Sunday. Upon next Sunday you have until the Saturday following that Sunday to post. If you don’t post within that time period, you will forever be shamed as the first-poster-to-not-post.

Thirdly, citations are a good idea. Endnotes, maybe? However, there is no rigid formatting that needs to be followed for instance, you may merely provide a link to the wiki page from which you pulled your information. Consistency is a good thing, though.

Fourthly, esotericness should be kept to a minimum. Posts that are esoteric should be flagged as such. For instance, if I had a post concerning the Franck-Condon principle and I used the notion of an overlap integral without explaining what an overlap integral is, then I ought to title the post along the lines of “Franck-Condon Principle and all that Jazz: Pchem Nerdiness Required”. But, in general, posts should be written to an intelligent audience that has not spent the last four years studying chemistry, physics, and mathematics.

This moves us nicely into discussing the reason behind this blog. I think the telos of this blog lies in our betterment and enjoyment. I hope that by writing bi-weekly, each of us will increase our written communication skills, become better at explaining concepts, and when that fails, pull our hair out concerning how persnickety of a concept pretty much anything is when you try to elucidate it.

It is in the communication of truth(iness?), be it science, philosophy, theology, or art, that the life of this blog will be. This communication will be hard, much harder than conveying the rigid information of an experiment in a journal. Hopefully it is worth the time.

I leave you with one of my favorite poems by Emily Dickinson—with all of her em dash wizardry.

Tell all the truth but tell it slant —
Success in Circuit lies
Too bright for our infirm Delight
The Truth’s superb surprise
As Lightning to the Children eased
With explanation kind
The Truth must dazzle gradually
Or every man be blind —

Until next week,