Reading and plotting data in Jupyter notebook

For this tutorial I am going to assume that you have some idea about using either Jupyter notebook or Python in general. I also assume that you have Anaconda installed, or know how to install packages into Python. If you do not, then I would first suggest putting a few minutes aside for installing Anaconda and taking a crash course in Jupyter.

The data structure

I am breaking down the data that I’m going to work with because the things I’m going to talk in this post can be applied to any other data which looks similar – That is, a simple two column data, which when plotted will form a 2D line plot with an x and y-axis.

In my lab we use a spectrometer to collect data. For the uninitiated, a spectrometer is basically a fancy prism with a camera at the rainbow end to take a black and white picture (intensity) of the rainbow. The data in this case is formed by spatially dispersing an input light into its constituent colors (wavelengths of that color). The intensity for each color is recorded using a camera. That is two columns of data – Wavelength is the first column, in nanometers and Intensity is the second column (photon counts, let’s say). The data file, of a near-infrared spectrum around 900 nm, if opened in a text editor, would look as follows.

900.0999819	1072801
900.200739	1087873
900.3014958	1101660
900.4022521	1113931
900.5030081	1118967
900.6037637	1099496
900.704519	1097624
900.8052738	1113681

If you would like to use the same data file I am using, you can download it from here.

Now, note that ASCII files like these are easier to handle for us starters and should show good numbers when opened using notepad or Microsoft excel.

Other proprietary formats such as the ones that directly come out of our spectrometer, like .SPE formats (for Princeton instruments cameras) is a binary format. These will give you garbage if you try to open these with notepad or excel. There is a way to open these using Python, but you need to have a detailed information about the format and construct the code accordingly to read them properly. In this post I’m going to deal with simpler ASCII (text, CSV files etc) files only.

If you are dealing with SPE or other such difficult file formats, I would suggest using a file conversion software that usually comes with the equipment to export the binary file to txt or csv format.

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11 Websites That Can Help You with Your Math Homework

by Jerry Rhodes

Math is one of the subjects that make a lot of students struggle while in school. However, the math does not only challenge students, but it also puts a lot of parents in difficulty. Everyone knows that education doesn’t end in the classroom. Those parents who want the best from their child, know this very well. Therefore, parents along with teachers put a lot of efforts into coming with alternative solutions to stimulate children’s intelligence and prepare them for the future. On the other hand, technology continues to evolve, making teachers and parents think of solutions to put difficult subjects like math into a technological context. This is how the websites which help students with their math homework appeared.

11 Websites That Can Help with Math Homework

Math is Fun

Math is one of the subjects that make a lot of students struggle while in school. However, the math does not only challenge students, but it also puts a lot of parents in difficulty. Everyone knows that education doesn’t end in the classroom. Those parents who want the best from their child, know this very well. Therefore, parents along with teachers put a lot of efforts into coming with alternative solutions to stimulate children’s intelligence and prepare them for the future. On the other hand, technology continues to evolve, making teachers and parents think of solutions to put difficult subjects like math into a technological context. This is how the websites which help students with their math homework appeared.

11 Websites That Can Help with Math Homework

Math is Fun

Even though math is not always fun, this website tries to change student’s misconception about it. This website comes with simple math exercises to make children find the fun in math. On the other hand, whenever parents are in difficulty and they don’t know how to help their children, this is a good website to find the answers they need. On top of that, parents can use the tests and activities provided by the website to check whether their child has understood the material. The fun element comes also from engaging mathematical games and printable worksheets.

K-5 Math Teaching Resources

“Many parents and children love this game. It has a lot of games and activities connected to math and real-life events that no children can get bored when he browses this website. This is an excellent resource to help children understand better what he learned in class”, says Michaela Williams, writer at WowGrade.com. Students can choose from four categories of math exercises: geometry, data, measurement, and numbers. With just one single click, students up to 5th grade can consolidate their math knowledge.

Learn Zillion

Visuals will always have a better impact than written text. When it comes to students and math, then videos are the best option to help children understand this subject better. There are various videos which will teach children more about various math strategies and help them get an A at math tests. This site is ideal for children from 2nd grade and up.

BBC Bitesize

Everyone knows BBC as the national broadcaster which offers the latest news about the world. BBC did a step forward to come closer to their viewers and they created Bitesize to help both students and parents who are looking for free advice on math. David Williams, content director at Studicus.com, recommends Bitesize as “one of the most colorful websites offering online clips to help children love math like never before. Everything is easier and fun on Bitesize. What is more, the subjects are organized on various categories for English, Welsh, Northern Irish, and Scottish students”.

Primary Maths Arena

When math lessons are delivered in a fun game, then it becomes irresistible. Even though children finished their homework, they can still learn a bit more math during some fun games. Primary Maths Arena offers plenty of online games showing children that math can be a lot of fun. “Children will love this website as it comes with a lot of light and colors. Moreover, they can also play these games with other students in their network, making competition and games even more appealing. It is difficult to find another similar game which can sharpen the kids’ mind so much”, says Eleonor Dickens, editor at ProEssayService.com.

Khan Academy

Again, interactivity and visuals come into play. Khan Academy offers various videos and practical exercises to help children love math while learning at their own pace. The exercises’ difficulty varies. Therefore, there will be some which children will do on their own. But, there will be also others which push children’s limits and get out the best of them. Khan Academy website is recommended for children from kindergarten and up.

Cool Math

This is another website destroying the myth that math isn’t fun. The first element that catches students is its vivid colors and design. Moreover, it answers the questions for students of different ages. Starting from easy exercises to the most difficult ones, Cool Math covers a variety of subjects. For example, here students can practice pre-calculus, algebra, and many more.

NRICH

When it comes to expertise, NRICH is definitely one of the winners. Funded by a team of teachers from Cambridge, NRICH helps children do their math homework online, irrespective of their age or knowledge level. “This is one of the best websites to help children become highly skilled in math. Whenever they need help on their math homework, this is the website which will give them the answers they need. What is more, each answer comes together with a step-by-step explanation. Thus, it becomes easier for children to understand how he can find the solution to his problem”, says David Culson, marketing manager at EssaysDeluxe.com.

Doctor Genius

This website offers a lot of math practice for kids. It covers some of the most important math subjects for students in the 6th grade. What is more, it allows students to choose their difficulty level. Therefore, those who are not very experienced can start with the beginner exercises. Once they start mastering the basic math concepts, they can move to the next difficulty level and so on.

XtraMath

Whenever parents get stuck in their children’s math homework, they can always take a look on XtraMath. It deals with the most basic concepts like adding, multiplying, or dividing. All the information is wrapped up in a set of video games which make math fun and engaging. The only competitor students race against is time and themselves. What is more, this website is preferred by most parents because it is not only effective but also free.

Cosmeo by Discovery Channel

Even though this is not a free website, it has plenty of exercise combinations which can make math a lot of fun. Students can find here a lot of videos and math tutorials. Thus, thanks to various multimedia elements, it will become easier for them to learn math and sharpen their attention and intelligence. Cosmeo successfully manages to keep children engaged and learn to have logical thinking thanks to its math exercises.

Any of the above eleven websites can be of true help for children. They don’t have to struggle with their math homework to start using some of the websites above. Students can use these websites to understand math concepts better and learn more than they are taught in class. On the other side, parents can use these tools to keep their children interested in math and stimulate their imagination. Finally, these websites offer solutions for children starting from kindergarten up to high school. Thus, they can become an excellent method to keep children entertained and develop organized and strategic thinking.

Why Do Pipes Freeze in Winter?

by Megan Ray Nichols 

It’s one thing that no homeowner wants to deal with, but it’s often the reality during cold winter months — frozen pipes. In addition to cutting off water to the home, these pipes can also burst, causing water damage. Why do pipes freeze in the winter, and what can you do to prevent them from getting cold enough to freeze? What should you do if the pipes burst? Here are some tips and tricks to help you get through the winter with your plumbing intact.

Why Do They Freeze?

First, why do pipes freeze?

Like most things filled with water, they freeze when the temperature drops below the freezing point of water — 32 degrees Fahrenheit or 0 degrees Celsius.

With pipes, there are two more variable to consider — movement and expansion. It’s harder for water to freeze if it’s in motion. That’s why lakes will freeze at 32 degrees, but it takes much lower temperatures to solidify rivers and waterfalls.

If a section of your pipe starts to freeze, the water expands. This behavior is an anomaly in nature because most liquids don’t grow when they solidify. Water, however, will become denser until it reaches a point just before freezing, then it will start to expand again. In a confined space like the inside of a pipe, this extra pressure doesn’t have anywhere to go, so it will cause the tube to split.

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