Who is Rhett? Where is he from? What are his super powers? Why do you want to contact Rhett for your project? Let’s answer these questions.
Super Brief History
How about just the highlights? Yes.
- Born in the past, not the future.
- B.S. in physics from Benedictine University (although it was called I.B.C. back then).
- M.S. in physics from the University of Alabama (including work at CERN).
- Ph.D. in physics from NC State University.
- Some other stuff here.
- Associate Professor of Physics at Southeastern Louisiana University.
Stuff I Do: Blogging
Yes, I like to write. Blogging is the best (for me). It’s quick and free form. You can use a variety of tools (video, gif, graph, python). It’s just the best. THE BEST!
I should probably include some of my favorite posts—but there are just too many that I love. If you want a post on a particular topic (like video analysis)—just google “rhett allain video analysis” and that should get you what you need.
Oh, I also blog here—but I guess you already know that.
Stuff I Do: MacGyver
I am currently the technical consultant for the CBS show MacGyver. It’s a super fun and awesome job. But what do I do? Essentially, I help out with the “MacHacks” in the show. I look over the hacks and see if they are at least plausibly based on some real thing. Other times, I make suggestions for hacks. Finally, I offer suggestions for some of the science-type stuff that MacGyver says.
Oh, I also make DIY home-versions of hacks. Here is an example.
As a bonus, here is an interview I did with CBS KPIX out of San Fransisco on my work with MacGyver.
Stuff I Do: MythBusters
I’ve actually been working on MythBusters much longer than I have worked for MacGyver. I worked on about the last 4 seasons of the original MythBusters and then I did the reboot with Jon Lung and Brian Louden. Finally, I worked on MythBusters Jr.
So, what do I do? Really, there are two things. First thing is to do some background check on future myths. For some myths, I do some estimations and calculations to see if there is a chance of a myth working. You don’t want something that is either too easy or too hard, it should be just right.
The second thing I do is the science explanations. When there is a short explanation about how something works, I help with that.
Stuff I Do: Books
Writing books isn’t as much fun as blogging, but there it is. Here are the books I have authored.
- Just Enough Physics (self published ebook)
- Angry Birds Furious Forces (National Geographic)
- Geek Physics (Turner Publishing)
- Physics and Video Analysis (IOP Press)
I could talk about books more—but I’m just going to leave it at that.
Stuff I Do: Python and Numerical Calculations
It’s not my fault. If you want to blame someone—how about Bruce Sherwood and Ruth Chabay. It is through their textbook, Matter and Interactions (Wiley), that I was introduced to python and numerical calculations. It’s awesome.
Once you start solving problems by coding, it sort of gets addictive. I’ve been creating python programs since about 2003 (just a guess). Later I started putting more and more of it in my classes—and here we are.
I’m not an expert coder, but I am an expert at implementing this stuff in introductory courses. That’s what I do. I have even held workshops for teachers and educators. It’s fun.
If you want to look at the stuff I’ve done, here are three versions (all online).
- Physics Python for Mere Mortals. This is an online type book with embedded code. Designed for intro students with zero previous programming experience and some physics. This is what I use in my lecture and lab courses.
- Introductory Physics with Python. This is more like a full book. It’s incomplete, but the idea is to teach physics using python. I want to work on this some more.
- Numerical Calculations in Physics. I wrote these as tutorials for students in the calculus based physics course. It uses more vectors and stuff than the over stuff.
Again, I could list a BUNCH more stuff on python but I won’t.
Stuff I Do: Talks
I’ve done quite a few talks. Instead of listing all my talks (or my favorite talks), I’m going to list my favorite topics:
- The physics of superheroes.
- The physics of Star Wars and science fiction.
- Video Analysis (real vs. fake videos).
- The best physics models (python and stuff) and estimations.
- Science communication (blogging, MythBusters, MacGyver).
- The physics of video games.
- Learning about physics learning (education stuff).
- Physics demos.
- Physics and python.
I’m not a huge video guy, but I do make videos. Here is one that turned out better than I expected. It’s a video made at WIRED.
Here is another one that I made (from my youtube channel).
Here is one more. I like to make videos that show physics solutions.
Wait. One more. This one is a more advanced video.
Contact me if you want to work on something. I’m always looking for extra jobs.