Philip Ganderton


Welcome to my website.  Following the demise of, which I had hosted for over 10 years, I launched this website in 2013. It has a new host, a new look, and a new domain name (
Here you’ll find an academic section with details on my classes, and my research. Currently I am Senior Associate Dean and Associate Dean for Faculty in the College of Arts and Sciences, but I still teach courses for the Economics Department. There’s also a section about the consulting and expert witness services I offer.
I post occasionally to a blog called Ramblings.  Then there are my personal pages, that let me share a little of myself.  You can read about my obsession with my car, bicycles, photography, woodwork and a few other things.  My photography site has been around the web the longest, and doesn’t get the attention it deserves, I’m afraid.
I hope you find something of interest here. If you do, please comment via the Facebook and Twitter sharing links–or not. Thanks for visiting, and cheers!
Philip Ganderton
(You can click on most photos to see a larger image)

Recent Posts

the Art of Zen

I defined a simple measure of top performance and called it the Zen Ratio. It is so named as it came out of conversations with Marc Osgood, the owner of the Zen Spin Works Facebook group, after he had created a top he called the 1:1 that spun in minutes its weight in grams. 17g for 17 minutes. A very beautiful top, and an impressive performance.


We could calculate the ratio of spin time in minutes to top weight in grams for any and every top. The calculation is quite simple: Z = t/m, where Z is Zen ratio, t is time in minutes, and m is mass or weight in grams.
I have done this for all the metal tops in my collection and the graph is shown below.
The highest Zen ratio I have heard about is for a tiny top weighing about 3g that spun for nearly 9 minutes for a Zen ratio of over 3.
As you can see from the graph, the relationship between the Zen ratio and weight is negative, i.e. lighter tops are more likely to have higher Zen ratios.
The obvious challenge is to make a heavy top with a Zen ratio over 1.0. The heaviest top I have with a Zen ratio greater than 1 is a tungsten and titanium top made by John Phillips of JP Momentum. I have heard of a Billetspin Infinity top (weighing about 30g) that spun for over 40 minutes, which is likely the record holder for heaviest top with a Zen ratio over 1.

Screen Shot 2017-12-09 at 7.59.05 AM

  1. The origins of design Leave a reply
  2. An old thing, new to me Leave a reply
  3. Who is a friend? Leave a reply
  4. Taken for a spin (more later) Leave a reply
  5. The power of lies Leave a reply
  6. The day I appeared in The Guardian Leave a reply
  7. Philip Roth, on Donald Trump Leave a reply
  8. The Netherlands second Leave a reply
  9. The beginning of the end Leave a reply