Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Hot Racing Cars and Bowling Balls Galore! Oh My (Happening on Friday)!

What's In Store for Physics Today?
As you might have guessed from the title of this blog, cars and bowling balls are somehow related to what happened today. Duh! But I'll talk about that a bit later. Right now, I'm talking about the morning and today was just another simple morning where I woke up and ate breakfast at 1920s. But what made today interesting was that I got lost for like a couple of minutes as I walked to my physics class! Now, I wasn't totally lost as I recognized where I was and what buildings seemed familiar. But I just couldn't for the life of me find out where the David Rittenhouse buidling was until I walked around in a circle and by luck found the back of the building! That won't be a route I'll forget soon!
The Groundbreaking Professor Bill Hollobeek!

Anyways in physics, Craig, one of our teachers, started teaching us about Newton's genius in really linking the former Greek ideas of motion with Galileo's idea of inertia with his 3 laws. The first law basically says that an object has a constant velocity unless acted on by an outside force. Newton's 2nd law basically says this, but in a mathematical way saying that force equals mass times acceleration or F=ma. So if no outside force is acting on an object, then the object is not accelerating, but has a constant velocity. The 3rd law says that forces come in pairs. After his lecture, Bill started building upon these principles of force by talking about how force is related to momentum, impulse, work, and energy. Bill highlighted that physics is composed of laws that say that this situation or object doesn't work and so the rest of the situations that do work must be able to happen. All of this was gathered just by staring at Newton's Cradle, a normal office toy! After Bill's lecture, we had Bob Hollobeek, a Penn instructor, who was working on something groundbreaking in radiation treatment. He told us that he was creating a proton particle beam to help destroy cancer cells in place of less efficient gamma rays and electrons. Though there is still much improvement to be done in lowering the costs and making the device more precise, his presentation helped make proton therapy a promising method to help curb cancer in unreachable areas such as the head and spine!

Lunch soon commenced and I ate at Houston Market again today. Eating with some new friends like Blake and Arpoova, I learned that they were from Singapore and were still recovering from jet lag. Yet they were promising students and were a bit anxious of junior year with AP exams and SATs! After lunch, we went back to physics where we performed a lab on momentum and energy. Today's lab was easier than yesterday's lab because we worked with materials and programs that I had at El Cerrito High in my physics class. Yet it was still challenging because it made me really think and distinguish between what momentum and impulse really were such as how they were similar but also how they were similar! It also helped me flex my calculus muscles in creating functions that had to be integrated from our experimental data!

Now Here's the Bowling Ball and Broom! Where's the Cars!
Now about the title! Before we started our labs after lunch, Bill started talking about how we would have a "curling" competition where we would have to brush a bowling ball with a broom around a certain track so that it would go as fast as it could, but not go off the track or past the finish line. This would all be done in one of the biggest collected car museums that one of his friends owned with sports cars, the Simeone Automotive Museum! This fit perfectly with what we were studying because most of the cars in the museum were winners in automotive races and the winners there usually required physics and some daredevil recklessness to go as fast as they could as far as they could go before crashing and braking to safety! All of this would happen on Friday!

Nikola Tesla, as Eccentric and Zany as Experimental Physics!
In conclusion, today was another curious, sometimes scary, but always fun day at Penn. I really like Bill and the physics class I am in. But I also enjoy the people that I am with and hang out with whether it be eating or watching funny Youtube videos! I also forget to mention that I signed up for a ghost tour. Not sure if we are going to a haunted house, but it's an interesting way to get involved! I hope to do more fun things like this tomorrow!

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