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Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Chem/Phys Reunion in September!!

We will have a Chem/Phys reunion on September 23, at ETHS. We are trying to get as many alums from as many decades as possible, and current students will be a part of this as tours of the classrooms and schools will be coming through. It can be a wonderful chance to meet people who were in your same seats years ago, and also start networking prior to going to college...you never know when there might be a summer internship or connection at a school you are looking at, etc. Save the date! And if a parent or sibling is an alum, pass this along! Check out https://eths.revtrak.net/Chem-Phys-Reunion#/list.

Friday, July 14, 2017

Studies Suggest We Should Expect More Lightning With Warmer Climates

For the past five or so years, one thing we've discussed in 4 Chem/Phys E&M is lightning. It is a naturally curious phenomenon for human beings, and simply really cool from the science perspective! But one aspect of this that most never think about is how lightning is related to climate change and a warming atmosphere. In the video we watch on lightning, it was surmised that the sheer number of lightning strikes should increase with warming - makes sense at first thought since moisture drives cloud and lightning production, and a warmer atmosphere should mean more moisture in the atmosphere. A relatively new study shows evidence for this prediction. If anyone is interested in this sort of thing, there could be some research possibilities! See me.

Monday, July 3, 2017

Malawi Fundraiser - GoFundMe for wells for crop irrigation

Thank you to the students who put together this GoFundMe campaign for our Malawi brothers and sisters! We have helped them get land, seed and fertilizer so schools can grow their own crops, but now, for long-term self subsistence, they need funds to drill wells and irrigate those crops when the next drought happens.

Check out https://www.gofundme.com/ethsformalawi. Even small donations matter A LOT, since $1 is some 730 kwacha!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

A Shameless Plug for UIUC Engineering

Just because I went there...in reality, some say the College of Engineering is tops in the world. It certainly is among the most elite, with 16 top-5 programs!

Monday, June 12, 2017

Northwestern's work on Climate Change - A lot going on!!

If you have any interest in climate change and want to get a sense of the research efforts going into this important topic, or if you are interested in checking out research labs involved in these studies, you really need to read this extensive site outlining Northwestern's involvement in climate science! Let Doc V know if you want to learn more about any piece of this work.

Sunday, June 11, 2017

Fractal planting patterns yield optimal crop yields

Some students have been intrigued by fractals. And the more we look around in Nature in all sorts of systems, we find fractal patterns develop. It appears that this is also true for crop yields and production. An interesting article about some patterns that have developed, without planning, indicate that optimal yields are nearly reached when fractal patterns are used. This could lead to some interesting research options!

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Video analysis and the mass of the moon

We will investigate physics through the use of video analysis. The reasons for doing this includes a primary one of using Logger Pro software, which the school has from the Vernier electronic sensors, to do a video analysis. I want you to realize you can take any YouTube video, or any video (or digital photo) you take with your phone, and analyze any type of motion in any event you capture! This is a powerful tool that we all have access to in this day and age, and allows us to do so many more analyses. And with high-speed video options that more phones are providing, such as 120 frames per second (fps), 240 fps, and even 480 fps, or digital cameras that now provide 1000 fps or more, we can use video analysis software to look at finer details of motion than we ever could before in a high school lab. Keep in mind that a normal video is around 30 fps.

Watch this video for getting an introduction to using Logger Pro for video analysis.

One thing I recommend is to download a free piece of software called Tracker on a home computer (cannot do this with the Chromebooks, unfortunately), so you have the chance to check out details if you ever get the urge. This is an introductory video for using Tracker.

All you need is a few seconds of video to get into an analysis. For today we have as a goal to figure out the mass of the moon, perhaps using the original video footage of the first men on the moon in 1969! All you need is a bit of projectile motion to figure out the acceleration due to gravity, and the fact that the radius of the moon is 1079 miles. Work with a partner, and keep in mind you need to Google some conversions and get the mass of the moon in kilograms based on data from the video.You can use any moon landing video you want, including the moon buggy, dropping a hammer and falcon feather, or any other that involves some gravitational action you can use to figure this out. Also come up with a percent error compared to an accepted value of the moon mass.

Note that to import a video clip into Logger Pro or Tracker, you need to have the video file. To get this from your phone, of course you would need to just upload the video to your computer and then import into the software. For a YouTube video, you can make a screencast video file of the YouTube video, and save it to your computer. A quick, easy way to do this is to use Screencast-o-matic. Just select the brief scene you need to do the analysis, and capture it with the screencast! Here's a how to video for making a Screencast-o-matic video, which I suggest saving to your desktop or to your student My Documents folder. You will be able to Insert this video file into Logger Pro.