Friday, July 6, 2012

Housekeeping... Physics Style!

Good Morning Philly!
Its Friday! Field trip day! But even if you aren't an excitable zoo animal (anyone for the obscure Madagascar reference?), Friday is a pretty great day.  After the usual breakfast routine, I headed off to class through an alternate route.  Throughout Penn's campus are brick walkways with beautiful landscaping and sculptures.  I decided to take one with some friends and although I'm not sure if it was an actual shortcut, it was quite a pleasant walk to start the morning.  

This morning one of our teachers, Craig, taught us about conservation and mechanics.  We talked a lot about energy, and he pointed out that the definition we are taught in school is flawed.  He defines energy as a language that describes the universe dependent on a moment in time.  In other words, for every second, one can explain where all the energy is and why it is there.  After the lecture, we went upstairs to the lab, where we did an experiment with bouncing balls. We took the system of the bouncing ball and found the different types of energy during each point of time.  I have gotten very close to my lab group (aka the best lab group) and I am sad that we won't get to work together next week (the lab groups change each week).

Practicing Circles
We broke for lunch pretty early due to our afternoon field trip.  At 12:30 sharp, we met at the quad and bused to the Simeone Foundation Museum.  Here, we tackled the great bowling ball challenge.  We started by practicing accelerating and decelerating a bowling ball simply by taps from a broom.  If you are sitting in front of your computer thinking, "I could do that," you are sorely mistaken.  Once we had some practice with straight lines, we attempted circles and parabolas.   Then, each lab group did a relay race around an intricate track.  My group came in second, and the experience was very educational.  Not only did I learn that it's not a good idea to where flip flops with 10 bowling balls rolling around on the floor, the physics of the race was fascinating.  

We then had some time to walk around and look at the cars in the museum. Professor Berner explained the physics that made each car unique and what made them better racers.  I never realized how much science is contained in one car, even one from 100 years ago.  

This evening was movie night, a fun way to spend some time with people in other programs.  Tomorrow we go to New York! Seeing as the only 3 days I've spent there were shared with Hurricane Irene, I'm very excited to see the city in the summer.  I don't think I will have one day here that isn't exciting, fun, and filled with new experiences. 

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