Monday, July 21, 2014

College Bound Particles In Motion!

Working With Lasers and Light
Today was an interesting array of events. To start things off, Bill talked about an experiment we would do that had been tried by scientists for many years. We were going to measure the speed of light. Galileo tried to do this, but his timing errors kept him from getting a definite answer. With our fancy equipment, we would embark on this quest by setting up a laser light which would pass through timed sensors. Our data would then be used to calculate the speed of light. Turns out today, we just set up the equipment on a rolling table for our experiment tomorrow. 
A Familiar Face For Fluid Mechanics

After this, we had a familiar guest Phil Nelson come speak to us again about fluid mechanics. Using a simple observation that things don't mix well in corn syrup as well as they do in water, we derived a relationship between force, viscosity, and mass density of a liquid all with just simple math. The wonders that can happen when you follow your curiosities!

The Particle Cloud Chamber In Real Life!
When lunch came and went, we split up into out interest groups. Basically, they are groups dedicated to investigating and experimenting on 1 topic. My group was interested in creating a particle cloud chamber which would detect cosmic rays or particles created from solar radiation. We made it out of methanol, ethanol, and dry ice. It's usually a hit or miss thing. Luckily, we saw some muon particles move around at the very beginning of our experiment. Hopefully, we'll see more tomorrow. 

Dean Furda Active and Walking
To end the day, we had a "seminar presentation" by the UPenn Dean of Admissions Eric Furda. I really enjoyed Dean Furda's talk because he was a realistic guy. He knew that not everyone is fit for Penn, and so he gave us advice that helped everyone decide which college would be best for them. One thing that he said to do was to create a list of characteristics and ideals that a person would want in a college and compare it to the values listed on a college website like Penn's website. A strategy that he said students might want to pursue is to do rolling admission, early action, or early decision for colleges that really fit what they value most. In conclusion, today was another typical day at Penn. A day full of science and college exploration. Man, how many more Penn days do I have left before we leave?

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