Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Dark Phenomena

Another day; another fascinating lesson. Our first lecture, led by Craig, focused more on mathematical concepts such as exponential graphs and physics equations as we slowly eased into the topics of space and time. The true highlight of our class was actually hearing our guest speaker from the Center for Particle Cosmology, Bhuvnesh Jain, explain dark energy and dark matter. There are still many mysteries to uncover about dark energy and matter, but they're basically particles existing in space created after the Big Bang. We also talked about gravitational lenses, such as an Einstein Ring, which is usually recognized by their faint, blue glow. 
A slide of Einstein Rings from Bhuvnesh's PowerPoint
After our lab on electron motion, a few of us decided to go to Carina Tea and Waffles (since we couldn't  stop talking about how amazing that place is) and briefly planned our Physics group project. We were each allowed to choose people to be in a group of four and the class quickly sorted that out. The hard part was choosing the experiment or research activity that we wanted to do. The nine project options included interesting experiments on radiation decay, harmonic motion, light transmission, and more. I feel like my group members would've went for all of them if we weren't limited to only one project! 

Carina Tea & Waffles
We went back to the Quad in hopes of signing up for an activity tonight, but sadly, everything was filled. However, my remaining hours of the afternoon were not wasted, since I had plenty of time to research more on Bhuvnesh's lecture. Dark energy and dark matter was what interested me the most, especially when we moved onto discussing the role it plays in our solar system and how it is affecting our universe. Bhuvnesh described dark energy as a "domination" of our universeenough energy to overcome gravity itself! When the universe continued to expand outwards after the Big Bang, scientists thought that the expansion would eventually stop as gravity will pull the objects inside together. However, scientists have now indicated that our universe is now expanding more than ever before. 

Our Physics class is quickly escalating towards the big class activity at Hershey Park this Friday! Hopefully, I'll be able to easily pick up the new material for these two more days of lectures before combining and integrating all of our knowledge into an amazing day of physics and roller-coaster rides! 

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