Tag Archives: Academic Departments

Words of the Week (well last week)

bifurcate

Pretty neat way of saying to divide in to (two) parts.

It is used in a variety of disciplines:

In Law- To bifurcate is the decision to spilt one case in to two separate trials so that one part can be finalised before moving on to the next part of the case. So if we think about a situation at a school: a child has accused their classmate of pouring some lemonade on them. Without bifurcation- both the accused and the prosecutor will be brought before a teacher and discuss what happened, (why) and what to do next. This could lead to a lot of arguing between the two children, where one may say that the prosecutor is lying or that it was an accident. Thus to then sort out some sort of compensation or punishment could be complicated. The defendant may say that they doesn’t deserve a punishment as they didn’t do it or say there is no evidence to back up the prosecutors argument. With bifurcation- the teacher would have two separate meetings, where they discussed what happened and then to sort out compensation and punishment. This means that what happened would be finalised so less negotiation would take place when sorting out the outcome.

In maths- it’s complicated and I don’t particularly understand much of it. If you don’t understand something, NEVER EXPLAIN IT! That is against the human code, and probably the bro code.

Rivers and Lakes- when a river splits in to two. These are normally temporary as the water in the separate channels will erode through the material that separates them eventually. Bifurcation lakes are lakes which have outflows in to two drainage basins.

Derivation:

From Medieval Latin, “bifurcatus” (having been divided). This is the perfect passive participle (yeah, Latin is useful sometimes) of the verb “bifurcare” (to divide), which is from the adjective “bifurcus” (two-pronged) from the prefix “bi-” (two) and “furca” (fork).

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Coalesce…

Coalesce

Meh it’s an alright word. Nothing special. Simply to grow together or fuse, to amalgamate and unite. Although if we get down to some physics, linguistics and genetics….(I left out chemistry and computer science because they don’t follow the rhyme, not acceptable.)…then this word means a WHOLE lot more.

In Physics, it simply is the process where two or more particles merge after contact and form one single “daughter” particle. So this is most commonly used in meteorology. Let’s take a nice fluffy cloud, which contains thousands of tiny rain droplets. I am guessing that the more rain droplets there are, the more they collide or coalesce to form a larger droplet. When these larger droplets bash in to each other, they form even larger droplets. Eventually the size of the droplets become too heavy for the air currents to sustain and the droplets fall as rain.

In Chemistry, it is the process by which two or more (miscible) substances pull each other together after contact, so basically the same thing as physics- although it probably has different meanings in different fields of chemistry.

In linguistics, fusion or coalescence is when two segments of a word are turned in to one segment. So the most common example of this is in French, where the masculine word for a/one, “un” is pronounced without the “n”. So the u and n segments have merged together to form one sound. If you compare “un” in French to its counterpart in Spanish, “un (poco)” or “uno”, it shows that this new sound, quite nasal, has only developed in French! 

I hope that was un poco interesante!

“The world coul…

“The world could get along very well without literature; it could along even better without man”

Jean Paul Sartre– the famed French philosopher (especially in existentialism)

“Qu’est-ce que la littérature?”

Situations- 1947-49

Words of the Week

Dilletante“- a dabbler in a field or skill, someone with an amateur or superficial interest in something.

Derivation– from Italian: present active participle (yes I have being doing Latin for much too long) of “dilletare”, the participle meaning “lover of the arts” and the verb meaning “to delight”. “Dilletare” in turn comes from the Latin “delectare”, which means the same.

Synonyms include “smutterer” and “sciolist” from the Latin (diminuitive) “sciolus” ,which bears the same meaning as sciolist, from “scious” (knowing) from “scire” which is the verb “to know”

This word is my favourite, because it practically sums me up.

Now here is the star of the week for all you science people out there…..(drum roll, if you please)

Differential Equation“-an equation which relates a variable that changes over time to its rate of change. Now I am simply a dilletante (get it?) in the field of all science and maths but I will try to give an example..please do correct me if I am wrong….(I just hope my pure maths, PhD in maths brother never reads this..)(ellipses are gooood aren’t they…)(bracket-mania again sorry folks.)

My example is VELOCITY AND ACCELEERAATTTTTIIIIIOOOONNN (that is quite picturesque, is it not?), so velocity is the variable that is changing over time, and its rate of change is acceleration. The  equation is dv/dt= a. Cool beans. Calculus is cool, I like calculus. I don’t like graphs but I like calculus, thanks Democritus for starting it off.

Hasta el proximo post (yeah I know that it was bad spanish)

I’m Back!

Hey everyone, I’m back- I don’t really have much of an excuse for not writing for so long apart from not having a computer for a bit and then being bogged down with work. This old chap is the mirror image of me right now. NO JOKE but no point complaining, I don’t have much of a life anyway so I’ll just get on with some chemistry revision….

But what the hey, chemistry is awesome. I mean can anyone even imagine gazillions of tiny atoms floating around- some big, some small, some unstable (need to cut down on the neutrons guys!) and some stable. I think that this has led me on to a chemistry joke, which is probably so bad that you will laugh.

Two atoms bump into each other.’I think I lost an electron.’ The other asks: ‘Are you sure?’ The first replies: ‘I’m positive.’

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