Saturday, July 26, 2014


Playing with Oobleck
This morning in physics the first thing we did was play with Oobleck... a whole swimming pool of it, thanks to the group studying non-Newtonian fluids. People ran, danced and jumped across it, and one person did a belly-flop on it (ouch... oobleck feels like any other solid when you apply pressure, and I don't see anyone trying to belly-flop on the ground). I wisely stayed out of the way so as not to get cornstarch all over my clothes for the rest of the day.

"It wasn't actually that intense."
Then we went back inside and started presentations. First were the four groups who still hadn't presented their exponential and Hershey Park experiments (my group included). Most had taken data on roller coasters... with varying levels of intensity. Then the interest group on High Energy Physics presented. They were a huge group, consisting of a third of the class. Their project had been on detecting cosmic rays.

Cosmic ray detectors
After lunch, we continued with presentations from the rest of the interest groups. First the group that had been making radio telescopes went. They had been working with James Aguirre--the man who came in the other day to talk about looking deeper into the cosmos by using larger wavelengths. The second group was the one working with a cloud chamber to detect muons. They had some interesting videos (and wow, well-timed) showing muons entering the cloud chamber and leaving glowing trails behind them. After that, my group went up and presented on quantum mechanics.
Our project had been taking data with single- and double-slits to show the wave-particle duality of light. Right after us the Franck-Hertz group presented on the quantum nature of atoms, which is related to the wavelength of the electrons (and the fact that they have a wavelength). Finally, the Oobleck group presented the theoretical aspect of their project, talking about the quantitative behaviors of non-Newtonian fluids.

Bill's not actually as surprised as he looks
After the presenters finished, Bill showed us a few really cool demos, and for the grand finale blew up a house (don't worry, just a house the size of a breadbox) with "lightning." It is really sad to think that the program is already over and I won't see Bill and Mary again. I will be staying in touch will Bill though, which is awesome. Unfortunately, the class had run so long that we didn't get out until almost 5:30, so we missed our meeting with John in the bookstore to get Penn sweatshirts. Andrew and I came back at 9:00 to get them, and Donna will meet John in the morning.

I can't believe we're leaving tomorrow already, and I'm sad to go, but I'll also be really glad to be home.

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