An exciting week! I felt I could fly!

Wow, what an exciting week it has been.  We have been studying waves and sound in physics class.  The in class recordings are finally working.

Class of Standing Waves in Pipes

My proposal for the NASA Reduced Gravity Flight was accepted.  So come the last week of June, I along with several of my fellow teachers will be flying on a zero-gravity NASA airplane ride!  We will be performing an experiment to analyze the motion of a simple pendulum in a reduced gravity and hyper gravity (2g) environment.

Thursday morning David Latham from Harvard talked to the BU Academy students about the recent discoveries of  exoplanets.  One method for detecting exoplanets is Doppler Shifts which we will study next week.   We are on the verge of discovering Earth size planets.  This reminded me of my childhood dreams of becoming an astronaut.  And this NASA airplane ride is almost as  good as it gets to becoming a Teacher in Space!

So this week in physics class we studied waves in strings, water, and springs!  The issue of water waves and the tsunami in Japan has had relevance to our current classroom discussion.  In the deep ocean, the tsunami is not very tall and moves very fast.  In our discussion of refraction, and the change of speed of a wave in different media, we realized that the water wave speed depends on the depth of the water.  So as the waves approach shore, they slow down, which results in the catastrophe we have seen on TV. We could view the change in water wave speed in our ripple tank!

Watch the   Class on Sound

I borrowed a lot of cool toys from the BU Physics Department.  I never played with a vacuum bell jar before, and it was really cool to evacuate the air and hear the sound level diminish.  Check out the video file.  In space, no one can hear you scream! (Again, my mind is on NASA).

I also borrowed a cool wave machine to make standing waves.  At the end of the week we examined waves in strings, interference, constructive and d-d-d-destructive interference.  I am not sure why, but the students were making up stories about the dark side of physics (Destructive Interference) and claiming that only Supercrest could save them.  I just want to clarify a few things.   There is no such thing as Supercrest.  I have been hearing silly rumors of Supercrest for nearly 20 years.  Noone has ever taken a photo of Supercrest.  There is no evidence that he exists.  He is like the tooth fairy and Santa Claus.