More Sharing Is Better Sharing: A Q&A With Alum and WIRED Blogger Rhett Allain

‘Angry Birds’ scholar, ‘MythBusters’ consultant, ‘ambassador for physics’ explains science in everyday life


We’re all scientists, according to Rhett Allain.

The Southeastern Louisiana University associate professor of physics has made a career out of revealing the scientific principles behind the games we play, the movies we watch and the products we use.

And he believes we are all testing theories every day to learn about life — just like professional scientists.

“I think part of being human is to be a scientist,” Allain said. “It’s part of what makes us human, the idea of building models to explain how different things in the universe work.”

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Wolfpack Nation: Rhett Allain has (yet another) physics question for you

Rhett Allain loves to ponder arcane questions:

Is it possible to lift a car by sucking through a straw?

Are expensive batteries worth the extra money?

How much ice do you need to cool one can of beer?

“I’m doing it for me, for my curiosity,” says Allain, 46, who tackles conundrums like these on Wired’s Dot Physics blog. “My target audience has always been me. When I write about what I enjoy writing about, other people seem to like it.”

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Rhett Allain on “Sloppy Code” and Messy Learning

Elliott: How do you use code in a Physics classroom?

Rhett: For my introductory physics courses and labs, I now have the students make at least one numerical calculation (it doesn’t have to be in Python). The calculation should find the motion of an object with non-constant forces. Here’s a post I wrote with more details (including student complaints):

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B-Sides of Research (9/17/17)

If you’re looking for a smarter, not harder, alternative approach to learning about physics, Dr. Allain is your guy. His book (shown above), Geek Physics, would be a good place to start. An associate professor at Southeastern Louisiana University, Dr. Allain has a talent for getting you interested in physics by illuminating the ways in which physics plays a role in those things you’re interested in. Have you ever wondered how many zombies you could actually drive through? Physics does, and Dr. Allain translates that message fluently.

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