Bookends for physics geeks

Bookend - 9

Books falling over? Here’s a simple bookend project. Total cost under a buck, and you can make them in just a few minutes.

The symbols on these particular bookends are in bra-ket notation, which is very common in many fields of physics related to quantum mechanics. Obviously, you can use other symbols as well– we put /* and */ around our programming books.

Bookend - 1

We said that it’s simple, and it is: it’s a brick wrapped in a piece of paper.

If you don’t have a couple of bricks (and we didn’t), they turn out to be cheap at hardware and home improvement stores. These are “cement bricks” — red dyed cement– and cost about $0.25 each. Wrapping them up keeps them from scratching up your shelves and books, but also from depositing cement debris everywhere.

Bookend - 2

Crease the edges of the paper along the length of the brick.

Bookend - 3

Fold down the ends just as you would for wrapping a present.

Bookend - 4

You can use tape or any glue you like for holding the paper on. We used contact cement for total overkill; duct tape would probably also be overkill.

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Repeat for the second brick.

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There are any number of ways to get your artwork in place– laser printer, modge podge, cut and paste, etc.

We chose cut and paste– which is a bit insane for skinny little pieces like these, but we did it anyway. The pattern was designed in an online LaTeX equation editor that can generate a PDF output. After cutting out the pieces we mocked them up in place to see where they would go when we applied the glue.

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Lay out the pieces to glue upside down. Freezer paper is a nice material for a gluing prep area because of the slick surface.

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And install on the shelf. Cat optional.

11 thoughts on “Bookends for physics geeks

  1. <books> and </books>

    With heavy paper, if you draw a line, pressing hard, where the fold will go, it will score the paper, and you will have really clean creases. Try it.


  2. It’s too bad there isn’t an easy transform for the expression presented in the first photograph.

    I mean, the part between the brackets simultaneously: 1) Contains several items that are mind-warping, 2) fails to be internally self-consistent, and 3) (the worst crime-against-math) is highly unlikely to reduce to any of the helpful and desired solutions (0,1,e,pi,h, h-bar, etc.) ;)

  3. I have more Quantum Mechanics (QM) books than Windell does. Yeah!

    No seriously, there are very few unsolved mysteries in QM. Of all the major fields of physics, statistical, mechanical, electromagnetic, and cosmology, QM solves, in my opinion, a huge number of physically interesting problems compared to the other fields.

    For decades (almost a century) people have struggled with the measurement problem and the classical-quantum (decoherence) problem. Also, unless interactions and/or nonlinear dynamics are involved, very few scientist are interested in pursuing experiments of any kind any more (and that goes for most areas of physics).

    Great book ends!


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