Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Sci-Fi Physics with Superheroes Stopping Trains, Laser Beams, and Wave Makers!

Mary with One of Her "Unique" Demotivators. Yeah!
Today was another adventure getting to class as I tried to find the quickest way to class without getting lost! Turns out that I was dumb enough to not learn from my mistakes of yesterday! But I was still able to make it to class on time and so my day commenced. Mary gave a lecture today about impulse and more importantly, automobile collisions! Mary started explaining about how air bags are used to extend the time a collision happens in and decrease the force. This is because though the impulse remains the same in a non-air bag-equipped car, the force that affects the passengers is much less. This is true in superhero films as Mr. Incredible and Spiderman need time to stop a crazy train from falling off the edge of a cliff except of course Hancock who just splits the train in half! After this, Mary started talking to us about kinetic energy and potential energy where she let about 3 raw eggs go to waste by dropping them on the floor. She also acted as a daredevil in letting a shotput ball suspended on a pendulum get close to hitting her on the nose! What fun!

Doing Physics and Making Waves: Presented by Home Depot
After this daredevil stunt, we split up into our lab groups to do a lab about bouncing some elastic balls and recording the results on the computer. When this was over, Bill gave us a presentation about waves where he showed us his constructed wave makers which all came from Home Depot! Resources from Home Depot, he said, is key to physicists! This was the last thing we heard reverberating in our ears as well as the sound of middle C in some PVC pipes before we headed off to lunch. 

Bill Happily Presenting His Diffraction Wave Applet!
After eating lunch, we got back to class where Bill started giving us some context for the next lab that we were to do. It had to do with lasers and pointing them into little tiny slits which created a pattern of dark and bright red lines on the wall. While this doesn't seem cool at first, it actually shows that light can have properties of not only particles, but also as waves! We were to do an experiment to see how long the red laser beam was which we actually we managed to do with a percent of 100.4%! So, our results were excitingly close to the real answer! Following our lab, we decided to go to dinner, but not to the 1920s Dining Common.We actually went to Chipotle as our floor counselor's treat! That was so nice for him as it was also his first year being a counselor for a summer program like this in Penn! Talking with my other floormates closely, I realized that I wasn't the only smart person in the world. There were tons of smart people like my friends here! This was a sobering thought realizing that the world is competitive full of such intelligent and talented people like the ones sitting next to me. But I also realized that everyone has support in whatever they do in life such as through their family, school, and friends like I do! After this realization, I hung out with my friends Blake and Arpoova watching some comedians and eating popcorn. This brought a nice conclusion to another typical day at Penn!

I'm Not Alone in the Journey of the Life (Even Though This Penguin Is)!
In conclusion, I did a lot today! Today's labs were a bit tricky because the data wasn't accurate sometimes and so we had to do multiple retrials. But that's life! You can learn from your mistakes. It was also nice to hang out with some of my new-found buddies at Penn. At first, I feared not making any new friends or getting along with others and being alone. Yet I was able to quickly meet and relate not only with others who were also interested in science, but those who were quite different from me! I also realized that I wasn't alone as I have my family and school supporting me! Thanks guys and I hope to make you all proud!

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