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A Review and Conclusion

This year, I really pushed myself with new challenges that were difficult, but also very rewarding. I took on the challenge of a flipped classroom and learned a new way to be a student that will help prepare me for college. While at times it was a struggle to keep up, this course kept helped me prepare for college by forcing me to work on my time management skills. I think that I have a lot more of improvement to do on this, but I have come a long way from the beginning of the year. I think before I go to college, it might be a good idea to review Dr. Chew's videos and brush up on some of the proper learning techniques that he taught. Another new thing that I took on this year was completing blog posts for this class. This activity taught me a lot of new things about how what we are learning in physics applies to the real world and I really appreciate all that I have learned. Going forward, I will have to apply the math and physics of the classroom to the real world, and doing the blog posts gave me a little bit of insight into the connections between the two. Although it may have been a challenge at times to complete the necessary blog post on time, I enjoyed learning new things about the world around me. 


While doing some exploring on the internet, I stumbled across this video that does a pretty decent job of explaining a crazy pool vortex that forms when you push a plate through pool water. The woman in the video lists some examples of vortexes which include water going down a drain, hurricanes, tornadoes, and air going over a plane. In the example with the plate, the difference in velocity between the water moving with the plate and the stationary water next to it causes a shear force and makes the water spin. The vortexes keep spinning because of angular momentum and minor friction. She also examines what happens when a vortex line is curved or a complete circle like in a smoke ring, bubble ring, or even the plume rising up from an explosion. This seemed interesting to me so I decided to explore more behind what creates a plume after an explosion. 

The plume formed after an explosion, often called a mushroom cloud, is best known for occurring after nuclear explosions. Below is a picture from WWII of the atomic bomb explosion over Nagasaki, Japan. Some simple physics can explain the phenomenon behind the forming of this cloud. When the explosion occurs, the hot burning gases which are less dense than the surrounding air, rises up fast, creating a vacuum affect that pulls cool air up into the cloud. This is called the Raleigh-Taylor instability which occurs when two different substances of different densities interact. I've included an additional video that better explains this stunning affect. Enjoy!

                                                                         Image result for nuclear explosion nagasakiImage result for mushroom explosion explained




Have you ever seen a Galileo Thermometer? They are a pretty cool way of telling what the temperature is and it also serves as a cool decoration for your home. The thermometer has little glass bubbles with different color liquid inside of them. Each little bubble has a tag on them with a different reading of the temperature. You read a Galileo thermometer by reading the tag on the lowest bubble that is still floating. The way the thermometer works to change to different temperatures involves a bit of physics. 

                                                                                                                 Galileo Thermometer

An object immersed in fluid experiences two forces, the downward force of gravity and the upward force of buoyancy. In the Galileo thermometer, its the downward force of gravity that makes it work. Each of the tags on the different bubbles has a different calibrated weight, making each one a slightly different weight from the others. The liquid inside the each of the bubbles has the same density, so that when the weighted tags are added, each bubble has a slightly different density then the others due to the ratio of mass to volume. The density of all of the bubbles is very close to the density of the surrounding water. Therefore, as the temperature outside the thermometer changes, the temperature of the water the bubbles are immersed in also changes. When the temperature of the water changes, it either expands or contracts which changes its density. So at any given density, some of the bubbles will float and others will sink. So for example, if the temperature is increasing, the waters density decreases. So the bubble with a tag that says 72 degrees, for example, will have now have a weight per unit volume that is greater than that of the surrounding water rather than lighter, and it will sink to the bottom. Very neat! 


Solar street lights are becoming increasingly popular as a green alternative because they are a better value for their cost, have lower maintenance, and easier installation. But have you ever wondered how these technological advancements function? What powers it and how does it turn on at night? I decided to look into this and examine the circuits behind the lighting of a street lamp. 

                                                                                                       Solar Street Light System

If you look at this picture, you can see the solar panel on top of the light that charges a battery inside the circuit during the day when the sun is shining on the lamp. Then when the sun goes down, the solar panel acts as a photocell and turns the light fixture on.  Photocells work by turning light into a form of energy.  A better way to describe them is that they are basically a resistor that changes its resistance depending on how much light is being shown on it. As light level increases, resistance goes down and allows the current to increase in a circuit. In reality, you can dive much further into how photocells and CdS cells work, but this basic understanding is simple enough for me for now. Below I have included a picture of a simple photocell. I have also included a picture that describes how a typical circuit in a street light might work to store the energy it converts from sunlight to provide light when the sun goes down at night. For more information on how this circuit works you can visit this website: https://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/energy/question363.htm This is a very cool concept that I hope to learn more about in the future because I would like to become an electrical or possibly environmental engineer. 

                                                                        Picture of Photocell Tutorial!street-light-relay.jpg



When you pull up to the intersection to turn onto my street, the traffic light is able to detect that my car has pulled up. Have you ever wondered how this is possible? I thought I'd explore more into this capability. The most common method is the use of an inductive loop which is a simple coil of wire within the surface of the road. https://auto.howstuffworks.com/car-driving-safety/safety-regulatory-devices/question234.htm This website gives a great example of how this process works.


With this image as a reference, they write the following: "So... Let's say you take a coil of wire perhaps 5 feet in diameter, containing five or six loops of wire. You cut some grooves in a road and place the coil in the grooves. You attach an inductance meter to the coil and see what the inductance of the coil is. Now you park a car over the coil and check the inductance again. The inductance will be much larger because of the large steel object positioned in the loop's magnetic field. The car parked over the coil is acting like the core of the inductor, and its presence changes the inductance of the coil."

For more information you can click on the link above. It's pretty cool to finally understand this process! 


As a part of my morning routine, I usually straighten my hair with the Paul Mitchell express ion smooth hair straightener (sounds fancy I know) that can heat up to 410 degrees Fahrenheit in 60 seconds. This is a pretty incredible feat that certainly makes my life easier, but I thought I'd explore a little more behind the straightener's ability. After doing some research, I found that the straightener has a rated wattage of 40W and the voltage of American outlets is 120V. After doing some calculations, I found that the resistance of the straightener to be 360 Ohms. This is a relatively low power rating and high resistance when you consider that the hair dryer that I use has a power rating of 1875W. Pretty interesting stuff that I can't quite understand. Feel free to leave any comments that could help explain this! Thanks. 


In class we learned about how electric motors work and we talked about a couple examples of things with electric motors such as your air conditioning. To review, moving charges in magnetic fields experience forces. When the charges move perpendicular to the magnetic field, they experience a force which is applied to the wire. With electric motors, moving charges are sent through a loop of wire which creates motion when you examine the forces acting on the wire. There are several everyday household items that use an electric motor. Starting off in the kitchen, the refrigerator, the freezer, the blender, the disposal, and the fan in the microwave all use electric motors. In other areas of the house, the ceiling fan, bathroom fan, the garage door opener, the hair dryer, the washer and dryer, the vacuum cleaner are other examples and the list goes on and on. 


Do you know how to tell the difference between hard boiled eggs and raw eggs without cracking them open? A common method for determining the difference is spinning the eggs on a table. If you do this, you will notice that the hard boiled egg will spin faster and then raw egg will slowly wobble around. This can be explained by simple physics. In a raw egg, their are different substances inside that each have a different inertia. Thus when a torque is applied to the egg, the substances rotate at different speeds resulting in a wobbling motion more than a spinning one. When you spin the hard boiled egg, it spins as one solid unit, thus the hard boiled egg has more inertia and spins easily and longer. Here is an eggcellent video demonstrating this. 



Have you ever wondered what it would take to break a trampoline? Well in a video from How Ridiculous the YouTubers explored which would prevail a bowling ball or a trampoline. The video is pretty cool to watch and they do some fun shots in slow motion too. However, there is also a lot you can learn from their experiment. 

You can analyze the velocity of the bowling ball as it hits the trampoline using physics to find that its final velocity is 29.7 m/s. You can also analyze the forces acting on the trampoline using Hooke's Law. Hooke's Law proves why the bowling ball goes so high on the last drop shown in the video in which they added several golf balls and an additional bowling ball to the trampoline. According to Hooke's Law, F=-kx the heavier the force on the trampoline, the longer the springs extend. Thus the dropped bowling ball is propelled back into the air with a greater force and can reach a greater height. 

In another video, they also dropped watermelons and a large block of ice on the trampoline, and the trampoline still prevailed. However, you can begin to see the springs being stretched to their breaking point when they dropped the ice block from 45m. I think it will be interesting to discover what object will finally cut through the trampoline. 



As I said in my first blog post, I love playing soccer in my free time, so I thought I would finally explore some of the physics behind a really cool technique in soccer of bending the ball. Players often use this skill when taking free kicks to put a spin on the ball and curve their shot into the goal. This technique is famously used my David Beckham and the video below highlights one of the most famous moments when he used this technique to win a match in the World Cup. 

It's incredible to see the curved path that the ball takes when you look at the footage of the goal head on. Players like Beckham are able to accomplish this by imparting a spin to the ball. When you kick a soccer ball with the inside of your foot and you hit the ball in its center of gravity, it is going to move off in a straight line. However, if you kick the ball with the front of your foot and kick it slightly off-center and with your ankle bent into an "L" shape, the ball will curve in flight. This is because the applied force on the ball acts as a torque which gives the ball a spin. This spinning in the air then causes the ball to be laterally deflected in flight in what is known as the Magnus effect which causes the "bending" motion of the ball in the air. You can see this represented in the image below:


As you can see its pretty neat to learn about the physics behind this cool soccer technique and learn something new about the game!



Here I am again, at the end of the quarter, rushing to finish up blog posts. But that's not to say that nothing has changed. When this quarter first started out, for the first four weeks, I managed to keep up with blog posts and do one over each weekend. However, as time went on and I got further away from my disciplined state of mind, I began to fall back into my old habit of neglecting blog posts. That's not to say that I didn't have some roadblocks along the way that prevented me from doing blog posts like finishing up college applications or preparing for midterms, but I could've done a much better job staying up to date with my blog posts. This upcoming week is not only the start of a new quarter, but also a new semester and a new chance for me to improve upon my time management skills and step further away from procrastination. At the start of this year, my bad habit of procrastination was deeply rooted, so I am not surprised that it hasn't exactly been a breeze to overcome. But I am glad that I have made some progress this quarter and I hope to continue to grow and learn and stay ahead of the game in this next quarter. 



Popcorn is probably my favorite snack ever. But how does a small hard kernel turn into this fluffy, buttery treat? Here is what I learned:

Popcorn kernels have a hard shell on the outside, but on the inside there is moisture and starch. Thus when you put a bag of popcorn in the microwave, the kernels inside start to heat up and the moisture within the kernels turns into steam. The steam then tries to escape, but is blocked by the hard outer shell. The pressure that builds up from the steam trying to escape causes the kernel to explode and the delicious white fluffy part that you eat is formed during this reaction.

You can learn more about this from this video that I watched:

But when the kernel pops, it doesn't just go straight up into the air. It does a sort of somersault when the pressure from the water vapor is released. Scientists captured this amazing reaction of the kernels in slow motion and used physics to help them explain the causes for this type of motion. The initial parts that form act as legs that exert a net torque on the popcorn that causes it to rotate when it pops.

You can watch what they found in this video below:

Thanks for reading! Now I'm gonna go make some popcorn. 


I have recently gotten into the tv series Game of Thrones (which is an amazing show that I would highly recommend) and I have picked up on a couple different aspects that relate to the world of physics. While some elements of the story are clearly impossible in our world, like a 700 foot high wall 300 miles long that is made out of solid ice, it is cool to note some other elements of the show that involve basic physics. For example, you often see catapults which involves the use of torque and rotation to launch projectiles into the air. 


Another aspect of the show that you can analyze the physics behind is archers, which you see a lot of in the show. When soldiers are told to "loose" an arrow, Newton's third law comes into play in the force applied to the bow string and the force applied to the arrow. You can also analyze the impulse given to the arrow and its motion as a projectile.


I hope to explore more of the physics behind Game of Thrones in the future once I finish watching the series.


I love Disney Pixar's movie Up for lots of different reasons, especially for its very imaginative and fun story line. But have you ever wondered how many balloons it would actually take to lift Carl's house? Well if you consider that about 1 liter of helium can lift one gram, then the average balloon that holds 14 liters can lift about 14 grams. So if I wanted to buy enough balloons to lift myself off the ground, that would require about 3,715 balloons. If we suppose that it costs one dollar to fill up each balloon, that's a lot of money. 


Going back to Up, if you consider the weight of the house and the fact that the house detaches from the foundation, Pixar estimated that you would need 20-30 million balloons to accomplish this. Not only is this an insanely ridiculous amount of balloons, but also an insane amount of money. With 30 million dollars, Carl could've flown to Paradise Falls in a private jet and built a mansion right on the falls. But where's the fun in that right?


As I looked into other Olympic winter sports for my third edition of physics in winter, I thought I might explore the physics behind curling a little but more in depth. At first when you consider curling, you automatically think of friction and how that plays a large role in where the stones land during competition. I also thought about conservation of momentum because when the stones knock into one another, it is pretty clear to see that momentum is conserved when one block moving with some initial speed immediately stops after hitting another stone that was initially at rest. However, there is an entire other layer of physics behind the sport of curling when you consider the rotation that is involved. I found this video that goes into depth about the unique movement of the stones in curling when they start to spin on the ice.

I like the idea that its not always the most athletic team that wins in sports but sometimes its the physical manipulation of objects that allows more intelligent teams to win. This goes well with the information I've collected in other blog posts about how the physics behind sports can help athletes perform on a higher level. As he said, it's true that countries like Sweden that have scientists researching the physics of curling most often have Olympic athletes on the podium for curling. Whoever said that brains can't beat brawn in an athletic competition clearly never took a physics class. 


In this second addition of physics in winter, I will explore the physics behind skiing. Three popular skiing events that physics plays a large role in include alpine or downhill skiing, Nordic or cross country skiing, and ski jumping. Each sport can be manipulated using physics to achieve faster speeds and greater results.

In alpine skiing, there are several elements of physics that come into play. On a most basic level, downhill skiing involves the conversion of potential energy at the top of the hill into kinetic energy as the skier approaches the bottom of the hill. But as the skier goes around sharp turns through gates during a race, the physics becomes much more complicated. You can dive deep into the complexity of a perfect curved turn and the physics behind it, but here's a short video that helps explain it. 

Another major factor in downhill skiing is air resistance. You often see skiers in this crouching position, as shown in the picture below, to help them go faster. By crouching down low, skiers are reducing their projected frontal area, thus reducing the amount of drag force on them. 


This technique is also used in ski jumping as a skier descends the hill and attempts to gain the most kinetic energy at the bottom of the hill so that they will land the farthest away from the hill. Another strategy they use to increase their distance is employed during takeoff. Skiers minimize drag and maximize lift when they lean forward and make a V-shape with their skis, as shown in the picture below.


By spreading the skis into a V-shape instead of leaving them parallel, the skier increases the projected frontal area of the skis that is perpendicular to the direction of air flow relative to the skier. This increases the lift force that allows the skier to stay in the air longer and reach farther distances. This technique was initially ridiculed when it was first introduced by Swedish jumper Jan Bokloev in 1985. However, the physics behind the V-shape prevailed and by 1992, all Olympic medalists were using this style. 

Finally, in Nordic skiing, a skier must push himself forward using his own force, rather than being able to rely on the force of gravity to gain speed. To do this, they use a strategy vary similar to what skaters do which I discussed in my last blog post. Here is a picture to help you get a better idea of what I am referring to. 


                                                        schematic of nordic skier pushing off the snow


Thanks for reading!

nordic skiing.webp


At this time of year, when the weather gets colder and the ground is covered with snow and ice, there are many activities that people take part in that physics plays a crucial role in. These festivities include skiing, sledding, and skating as well as even simpler things like driving on icy roads and cutting down your Christmas tree. So in spirit of the holidays, I thought I would explore the physics behind some of these activities in a series of winter blog posts. In my first post, I will be exploring the physics behind skating. 

Figure skating, ice hockey, and even just leisure skating are fun to watch and participate in because of the low level of friction between the ice and the blades of skates that allows one to go so fast. With such little friction, in order to start moving forward, a skater must apply a force perpendicular to the blade of the skate. You can see this concept demonstrated in the image below.


While watching a hockey game the other day, someone asked how the players are able to skate backwards. This seems to come very easily to those who play hockey or figure skate regularly. But for the rest of us, we can use physics to help us understand how to skate backwards. It is actually quite similar to skating forwards, but instead of turning your skate outward, you turn it inward. However, a skaters blades usually never leave the ice when they are skating backwards and they instead glide in a type of "S" pattern. It is pretty cool to see someone skate backwards at fast speeds because it is harder to push off against the ice 

                                                               schematic of skater pushing off the ice and skating backward

Another part of skating that we talk a lot about in physics has to do with figure skaters spinning. When a figure skater enters a spin, they start off slow with their arms outstretched, but as they bring their arms in tight they are able to increase their speed. If you look at the equation for angular momentum, L = Iw it can help you make sense of this change. When they pull their arms in close to their body, they are essentially decreasing their radius and thus reducing their moment of inertia. Then, due to the law of conservation of momentum, their rotational velocity increases. Here is a short old video that demonstrates this. 


Speed skaters also take advantage of physics to increase their speed in numerous ways. They reduce their air resistance by crouching which decreases their frontal area and allows them to accelerate and maintain a greater speed. Speed skaters also take advantage of slip streams, which I talked about in more depth in one of my recent blog posts. 

Many different elements pertaining to physics can be manipulated to create faster, more efficient athletes in the world of skating. With the winter Olympics approaching, it will be interesting to see what new things the athletes can accomplish and examine the physics behind it. But its also pretty amusing to examine what happens when non-professional athletes put on skates. Thanks for reading and enjoy this video!



Spinner Reflection

On Monday during physics class, we were asked to create a “top” that would spin for a long period of time. The materials we were given included two small paper plates, a pencil, six pennies, and tape. At the end of the lab experiment, we were asked to answer the following questions in a blog post:

How did today's opening activity relate to the engineering design process?

The engineering design process involves designing, building, and testing something. This relates to what we did in class because we had to brainstorm solutions to the given problem, and then we built, tested, and redesigned various models. For example, we tried moving the pennies closer to the center of the plate, and then we tried moving them farther to the outsides. We also experimented with moving the plates farther up and down the pencil. Unfortunately I carelessly poked a hole through the plates that was off-center and this impacted our results. Oops!In the end, we learned that the task would've been much easier if we had snapped the pencil in half.

How did today's opening activity relate to moment of inertia and angular momentum?

If friction did not exist, the top could keep spinning forever. But because there is friction, you want to maximize the angular momentum of the top so that it takes longer for friction to stop the top. You can increase angular momentum by increasing pieces of rotational inertia such as mass and how far away the mass is from the center (or the radius). We did this by putting all six pennies evenly spaced on the outside edges of the plate.


Slingshot Engaged

Over the thanksgiving break, I watched one of my favorite movies, Talladega Nights. The movie is about a race car driver and one of the moves that he frequently uses to win is called the slingshot. In this maneuver, the driver would get really close behind his teammate to draft up speed and be able to pass the car in front of them. At first I didn't understand how this worked, but I dived into some of the physics behind it to get a better understanding. The slingshot maneuver, which is also known as drafting, is not only used in race car driving but also in other sports such as cycling.


In this imagw, you can see how drafting works and enables the second car to go faster. The second car gains speed when it gets right up behind another driver because the first car is keeping the second car from being impacted by wind resistance or drag forces. I watched cyclists use this technique in the Olympic events last year in order to gain an advantage. Towards the end of the race, the riders often go into a slipstream where the rider trailing gets really close behind the leader so that pedaling is easier because there is less drag force acting on them. Then when they have saved up enough energy, they are able to cycle past the leader and win the race. You can see this demonstrated in the video from the link below.


This is a pretty clever technique that can change the outcome of sporting events and it was interesting to understand the physics behind it.



The Wizard of Oz

Over the weekend, the movie the Wizard of Oz was playing on TV and my mother was reminiscing about how she was so mesmerized by the colorful movie when she first saw it. This inspired me to do some more research on what is commonly (but mistakenly) thought of as the first movie made in color and how it was filmed.

Image result for the wizard of oz

The Wizard of Oz was filmed in Technicolor, which was also the name of a corporation developed by two physics professors from MIT. An article from the MIT Technology Review titled The Advent of Technicolor says that in the initial model of the Technicolor camera, it "split the light from a scene to simultaneously expose two adjacent frames on the negative, one behind a red filter and the other behind a green filter. As the film ran through a projector, separate beams of light passed through the identical frames; focused by a prism, they combined into a single color image on the screen." This method ended up being pretty difficult to perfect and inefficient, however it touches on the spectrum of light and the effect on light after passing through a prism.


I enjoyed learning about this in physics last year and I hope to learn more about this process in the future. I also included a video that touches on how a modern digital camera works as well as how the human eye works. I can't believe how much I learned and I can't wait to learn more!





Blog Post Checkpoint

As we approach the end of the first quarter, it was a bit of a scramble to get all of my blog posts done. First quarter is always rough for me because it is very busy and hectic; nonetheless, I neglected doing blog posts and held off until the last moment possible to complete them. I regret this decision now that it has come to the final hour. I think it would greatly benefit me to try to work on one blog post each weekend so that I can stay on track and not have to cram at the very end. Over the course of the week, I can develop ideas about what the post should be about and over the weekend I can blog about it and post it. This isn't a new idea that I am suddenly coming up with to solve all my problems. The idea had already been presented to me, and I failed to follow through with it. Going into the second quarter, it would be a large help to have this routine down so that I can confidently complete all the necessary posts for physics class. 


Credit Card Physics

My weekends are usually spent working at Wegmans where people most often pay using a credit card. The new chip readers don’t always work and people always wish they could just go back to the old method of swiping. Interestingly enough, there is a significant amount of physics behind the simple swipe payment that I thought it might be interesting to explore.

To get a basic understanding of how a credit card works, you can think of the black strip on the back of the card as a strip of magnets placed in a specific pattern. When you swipe the card, the credit card machine’s coil of wires causes a change in the magnetic field. This is called electromagnetic induction. The change in magnetic field induces a voltage that creates a current that is used to signal your account information to the machine.

I never knew that all of this went on when someone swiped their card at Wegmans! I hope to learn more about this in the future when we start learning electricity and magnetism. For a more in-depth explanation of how a credit card works, visit this website: http://pages.vassar.edu/ltt/?p=965


Flight Physics

Flight is a magnificent natural ability of birds and what seems like a tremendous accomplishment for man-made aircraft's that average at a weight of over 300 tons. So I thought I would explore more into this amazing ability and the physics behind it. Here is what I learned.
In order to fly, a bird or a plane must overcome both the force of gravity and drag forces as it is moving through the air. The force that opposes weight is known as lift and the force that opposes drag is called thrust. Lift is generated from the shape of the wings that cause air to move faster over the top of the wings and slower underneath. This means that there is lower air pressure above the wings and higher air pressure underneath them. The force from the pressure difference which is called the life force, exceeds the weight of the bird and the bird is able to fly. Here is an image demonstrating what is called the Bernoulli effect.
When you look into an amount of lift that a pair of wings can produce, you have to take in to consideration factors such as wing size, air speed, air density, and the angle of the wings with respect to the direction of the flight. A wings lift is directly proportional to the surface area of the wing, so a wing twice as large can carry twice as much weight. To simplify the relationship between lift and airspeed and air density, it can be said that if a bird flies twice as fast, it can generate four times as much lift. And if a plane flies where the air density is a quarter of the density of the air at sea level, then it must fly twice as fast to maintain the same amount of lift. Lastly, lift increases as angle of attack increases, but only up to a certain critical angle. The angle of attack is the angle between the wing and the direction of the oncoming wind. Past that critical angle, stall occurs as the air stops flowing smoothly over the top surface and instead peels away, leaving a turbulent wake. 

Prettu interesting!! To read more on this topic and where I found most of my information, check out this presentation:




Stranger Things

Stranger Things is a popular show on Netflix set in the 80's following the lives of three young boys as they try to rescue their friend Will from "the upside down." Here is a clip of the boys science teacher explaining it a little:

Throughout the show, the upside down is described as a parallel universe, or an alternate dimension. However, as you dive deeper into the physics behind these concepts, there is perhaps a better way to describe the upside down. According to the following video, the upside down could be better described as a parallel reality. The video also dives into some crazy physics that explains how "the upside down" from stranger things could really exist. You can dive a lot deeper into the talk of other dimensions and universes and time travel and string theory, and the list goes on. But for now, I can appreciate the somewhat simplistic explanation that this video provides. 

It's cool to analyze the science behind Stranger Things and dive into what's realistic about parallel realities. But I hope that demogorgon's are in fact fiction.


Mr. Guercio's Brick

Many times during our class, our physics teacher, Mr. Fullerton, has said how he would love to sit in on one of Mr. Guercio's classes one day because it seems like it would be really interesting. I found this humorous, but I never expected that physics would make its way into my English classroom in a completely different way. 

As I walked into Mr. Guercio's room the other day, the door started slowly closing on me despite the fact that it had a brick in front of it being used for a doorstop. My first instinct was to suggest that this was caused by the fact that the brick was hollow and not heavy enough to stop the door. However upon speaking to Mr. Guercio, I realized that the door closing on me was caused by a different problem. Mr. Guercio said that the brick used to be part of a wall in the school until they expanded the building. He said that he had found the brick when he started teaching at the school and had been using it as a doorstop for a long time. So it was not the brick that was too light, but that there was not enough friction. Since it had been used for so long as a doorstop, the brick had matted down the carpet and there was no longer enough friction between the floor and the brick to prevent the brick from moving. Thus, it was no longer an effective door stop.

Although this is a very basic application of physics in the real world, it was interesting to find that there is always a different way to look at a physics problem. Sometimes gaining new information from a different perspective can make all the difference. Unfortunately for Mr. Guercio, his door might stay shut for a while until he can find what he called "a carpet rake" to make the brick work again. 

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