Browse all


Everyday science

Everyday science

World Cup sticker cost calculations, physicist versus optician, final round of Subatomic Smackdown

30 Mar 2018 Hamish Johnston
World Cup stickers
Stick to it: how much could it cost to fill this book? (Courtesy: Cardiff University)

With the World Cup just a few months away, you better start collecting those Panini stickers of football players, managers etc if you want a complete set. But how much would it cost, on average, to collect all the stickers if you don’t swap with friends? There are five stickers in a packet, which costs 80p. There are 682 unique stickers, and don’t forget that you will end up with lots of duplicates. You can check your answer with Cardiff University mathematician Paul Harper, who has used Euler’s constant in his calculations – so he must be right!

Testing someone’s eyes and prescribing glasses is a serious business, so you might think that a leading chain of opticians would have a decent understanding of optics. Not so, claims John Houlihan, who is a physicist at Ireland’s Waterford Institute of Technology. He was in his local branch of Specsavers and suspected that a sales demonstration involving polarized light was trying to pull the wool over his eyes. Not so, says the firm. Conor Pope illuminates both sides of the story in the Irish Times.

A few weeks ago I mentioned the Subatomic Smackdown, which will reach fever pitch today. Physics labs around the world are championing their favourites for the title of “Most Awesome Subatomic Particle”. Today is the big day for voting by the public and you cast your ballot for either the proton, neutron, photon or electron between 9:00-17:00 EDT on Twitter using the hashtag #SubatomicSmackdown. More details here.

Related journal articles from IOPscience


Copyright © 2018 by IOP Publishing Ltd and individual contributors
bright-rec iop pub iop-science physcis connect