Thursday, July 10, 2014

Electro *Statics (This Means Fuzzy and Bad Hair!)!*

A Charged Day Full of Hair!
Today was another typical day in my unusual and eccentric physics class. Craig today talked about electric charge through bits of paper, pens, and pieces of tape! To begin with, he told us to shred a small piece of paper into even tinier pieces and to rub a plastic pen on our shirts which would attract these pieces of paper. When we rubbed 2 pieces of tape together, we were able to see that charges are are either positive or negative and the net total of charge in an object affects its ability to attract or repel certain items. Craig also told us a story about his history class in West Philadelphia where he learned about pirates who would search for treasure and so the men who were supposed to guard the treasure would jump off the boat. This would make the pirates think that there was nothing important on the ship. Though this was a strange history lesson, it fit well with our discussion of charged bodies and physics! 

Crazy, Mad Scientist Bill (Which is Normal)!
Following History 101 on piracy, Bill talked to us about how charges can be created mechanically with a device called a Van der Graaf generator which is able to pump out negative charge to an aluminum ball. If you were to try and touch it, you would get shocked! This is because the negative electrons try to find the easiest route and so when they see your hand, they instantly go to it and down into the earth. Bill, after this explanation, placed his hands on the ball and he slowly became a mad scientist with his hair sticking up in all directions. The way that his hair stood up in all directions show that the negative charge is creating a field where force is exerted in all directions. When he was done with being crazy which isn't really possible with Bill, we took a break.
The Thought Provoking Presentation About Seafood
After our rest, we had a guest speaker! Her name was Alison Sweeney and what she studied was marine biology. Now I wasn't the only one scratching my head wondering why someone who did biology was speaking in a physics setting. Only when she started talking did I realize how she related to her studies in physics. Alison said that she studied biophysics and goes onto boating trips with other researchers to study new types of fish in the ocean as there are many species in the ocean that haven't been discovered yet. It was amazing when Alison said that whenever she went on one of her boating trips, she would always find something that she nor any other scientist with her would have seen before and studied. How cool is that to make a new discovery on a trip all the time! Anyways,  Alison said that she was studying how giant clams were able to survive and saw that they had algae who would produce food by photosynthesis. Now, the clam wasn't in the best situation and didn't seem to utilize the surface area it had to survive. But after further investigation, she was able to see that the clam had a good design of algae and colored cells called iridocytes which allowed for the maximum use of sunlight possible and give the best efficiency for the algae to live and reproduce. This could help scientists interested in the field of biofuels to have algae there grow uniformly and healthily. For me, that was pretty fascinating in how these clams were able to beat engineers in having such inherent designs for solar efficiency already built into their DNA!

The Mollusk Says "With Friends Like These, Who Needs Anemones?"
To end the day, I planned to the movie Wizard of Oz, but with an interesting twist of being partnered with the album Dark Side of the Moon by Pink Floyd! I thought it was pretty interesting and creative to blend such different genres into a new product, but I couldn't see as it was unfortunately canceled! In conclusion, today was another "shocking" delight with the labs on electricity and also surprisingly about clams. So the next time when I will have a clam, I'll think of how developed and advanced clams are in solar light absorption before I eagerly devour them. Bon appetit!


  1. U have such lively and creative instructors! Love hearing about all that u r learning :)