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This Year in Review

This year has been a wild ride, and the AP weeks are approaching fast. With the third quarter ending, and soon most AP classes to have not much work to do, I need to take the time to look back on this year. Physics was a struggle, but that made it a lot of fun. I have learned a lot, and have learned new was of how to learn based on the style and difficulty of a class. It was a great choice to make and it has really helped me to learn what is in store for the future at college. Calc didn't catch up to physics until it was toward the end of the second quarter, which made the  math fun, but that was a good learning opportunity as well. As the year slowly comes to an end I am happy but sad as this year has been rough, but I couldn't have asked for a better year to end on.


Pokemon is weird and so, even the simplist things in the games must also be complicated. The pokeball is how you capture and transport pokemon. However, it cannot simply store a pokemons mass as it would cause serious problems outside of weight. For example, the pokeball seems to be about 9.52 cm in diamter giving it a volume (3/4(3.14)(4.76^3)) of 452.11 cm^3 so that the most massive pokemon, Groudon with a mass of 950kg would result in a mass density of 2101 kg/m^3 which is denser than the sun. That's a problem if I've ever heard of one. So this is how I came to Quantum Entanglement, after reading an article that gave a very simple explanation to it on reddit. So when two particles interact in the exact perfect way, they become entangled. This means that whatever happens to one happens to the other, and weirdest part is that the distance between the two particles doesn't matter. Research has been able to do this with particles as large as a grain of sand at a distance of up to 10 miles apart. So, pokeball's are then just quantum computers which turn a pokemon into data somewhere in the universe on how to reconstruct a pokemon. The worst part of this comes with the no-cloning theorem, so that in order for the copy to be made, the original must be destroyed. So every time a pokemon enters a pokeball, the original would be destroyed. If the pokemon breaks free, it is not the original that was encountered, and were it to be caught,  when it came time to battle, it wouldn't be the same as when it were caught. This makes the whole pokemon world a lot more grusome.


The pokemon games are full of weird situations and ideas, especially those relating to the all knowing pokedex. This post will highlight how weird the game is about first generation pokemon, Ponyta. One pokedex entry states that it can clear ayers rock in one leap. This rock in central Austrailia, standing at 348 meters tall and its average width across is about 1500 meters. This then becomes a projectile motion problem. The pokedex also states that its evolution can run at 67 m/s and so this is Ponyta's intial horizontal velocity. Ignoring air resistance, ponyta will keep this horizontal velocity through out its jump. To calculate the air time (x/v = t) giving that it takes ponyta 22.4s to clear the rock and 11.2s to reach maximum height. Then solving for the initial vertical velocity give 137 m/s and thus by Pythagorean theorem, p963onyta launches itself at an angle of 64 degree with a velocity of 153 m/s. Then, how high does Ponyta jump? Solving -V^2/2a for height gives 963 meters. That's taller than the worlds tallest building. This universe is just weird.



The technology for maglev has existed since the 1960's, the first trains weren't really developed and used till the 1980's and only since the 2000's has humanity had high speed maglev trains. The principle for a maglev train is fairly simple, as it runs using the knowledge that like magnetic poles with repel each other. Maglev trains use magnetic poles to oppose the magnetic field enduced by the train. Then the train is propelled forward by another opposing magnetic field.


This past Wednesday, April 11th, there was a very annoying and painful high pitched noise coming into the room occupied by Calculus teacher Mr. Crawford. This noise was not heard while walking through the hall nor could Crawford himself hear the noise. This noise do to its annoyingly high pitch, had to have been of a higher frequency than less annoying pitches. Also, as humans age, we can begin to lose the keenness of our hearing of high frequency sounds. This explains the confused look on Mr. Crawford's face when the entire class complained about the seemingly nonexistent noise.


A while back my cousin Ben who is majoring in physics at the University of Rochester, soon to attend Berkeley for his PhD, and I were discussing these blogs and my past pokemon blogs. As a result, my cousin pulled out his laptop as we discussed whether or not Wooper could possibly use the move Mega Punch since he has no arms. Then Ben started to explain the uncertainty principal in more depth than i understood and wrote up the fallowing document. Although I still do not fully understand his reasoning and math, it was a fun way to do get a blog done. I hope you enjoy Ben's theory.

Wooper is an impossible buffoon.pdf


Many everyday objects run on electric motors. These motors work due to the effects of an electric current in a magnetic field. The field exerts a magnetic force which rotates the wire. The motor then convert electric energy into mechanical energy. Studying this made my trip to Odyssey of the mind states, we were required to have a character who couldn't be portrayed by a team member. As a result we used an RC car that moved our friend the spore around the stage during the performance. 


Image result for the martianImage result for hollywood conspiracy



Released in 2015, the Matt Damon film, The Martian was released and had some accurate science. Matt Damon grows potatoes in his martian habitat with just some soil, water, and lets just call it, well... fertilizer. However this was just part of a science fiction movie, right? WRONG!!!!


Potatoes can be grown on Mars, just not how it was done in the film. The first problem of course is getting the potatoes to Mars. The average medium potato has a mass of about .213kg and around 163 calories per potato. According to NASA the average small woman in space would require 1900 calories per day while a large man would require 3200 calories per day (based of data from the ISS). A man such as Matt Damon would fall towards the larger man side of the spectrum so we will do the math assume the 3200 calorie diet. Thus Damon would require 20 potatoes per day to survive. The current average for a one way trip to  mars is 300 days so we would need 6000 potatoes just for the trip and that doesn't include the potatoes that would need to be taken to plant. It takes about 20 weeks for a potato plant to mature, and thus in that wait would require Damon to bring another 2800 potatoes on the journey. Then we will plant enough potatoes to supplies enough food for a year on mars. The average plant will produce 1.36 to 2.27kg of potatoes or around 11 potatoes. Therefore we will need to plant 664 potatoes. This brings the total amount of potatoes needed up to 9464 potatoes on the trip to mars. This is 2015.8kg of potatoes plus the mass of Matt Damon (around 70kg the mass of the aberage human male) meaning we would have to send 2085.8kg into space. The Falcon Heavy Rocket designed by SpaceX can carry 16,800kg to mars so we have the required force to launch the system.

Now, there is a few other requirements to growing potatoes on the red planet. First, for both our astronaut and the plants, we would be to build an atmosphere. Then, remove the percholorates from the martian soil. Perchlorates are toxic to both plants and humans so that's a big problem. But if we could build the atmosphere and clean the soil whiling adding nutrients and other good things into the soil; then yes, it is possible to grow potatoes on mars and fuel a colony.


Image result for falcon heavyImage result for marsImage result for potatoes


The day was April 11, 2018. Tyler Austin (bleow left) slides into 2nd base in the third inning with his spikes up, spiking Boston Shortstop Brock Holt (below middle), the two exchange words, the benches clear but then it all settles down. Then in the seventh, came the shocking events.


Image result for tyler austinImage result for Brock HoltImage result for joe kelley boston


Boston Red Sox Pitcher, Joe Kelley (above right), decides that Tyler Austin has to pay for his actions, he was looking for blood. Kelley throws one pitch which misses Austin but the second, a 98 mph (43.8099 m/s) fastball to the hip. The ball had 139.15 joules of energy upon hitting Austiin in the hips which has to hurt. ( a baseball has a mass of .145kg so KE= .5(.145kg)(43.8099m/s)^2) It takes about 4000 joules of energy to break the human femur on average so Kelley would to have had to throw 234.89 m/s to really do any damage to force Austin to the DL. (4000J= (.5)(.145)(v^2) therefore v=((4000J)(.145kg)/(.5))^.5) The fastest pitch thrown in 2017 was 105 mph or only 46.9 m/s. So the joke is on Joe Kelley, they both get ejected and Austin will come back witha  venjence.


Also the two fought clearing oth benches and bullpens. Image result for tyler austin

Image result for tyler austin



Most of everything we use today uses electricity. But how do we produce it? All power plants whether, coal burning, wind, nuclear, and hydroelectric, uses a force to turn a magnet in a coil of wire to power our modern lives. Coal burning, and nuclear both uses steam to turn the turbine while wind uses, well... the wind, and hydroelectric uses the pressure of flowing water.


Animation of a hydroelectric power plant in a damDrawing of a turbine, which the water turns.

Hydroelectric power is built into dams and build up water pressure until power is needed to be generated. At that point the water is released and the flow of water from the upper reservoir to a lower level using gravity to move the water past a rotating turbine which spins the magnet in the generator. The movement of the magnet through the coil induces a current in to wire which we call electricity. The greater the pressure built up behind the dam, the greater the force, and the more electricity that gets produced.




Well, we're half way through our senior year at Irondequoit High School and graduation in just over five months away. Where have the past four years gone?  But I am excited for the future. The second quarter was not so rough as I found a new wave of motivation upon the beginning of swim season which pushed me to work harder and keep everything the status quo.  However, that backfired as i forgot about these blogs until midterms and then had tests to study for, practice, and blogs to write :hot:. It added more stress as I had ideas to write about but never did them. Moving forward I will have alarms scheduled for each week to get a blog post done. Here is to finishing out strong over the rest of the year.


As i have before in these posts reminisced on baseball, this too relates to the sport. For those that don't know, Kodak Tower used to be home to a pair of Peregrine falcons. These birds are the fastest animal on the planet diving at speeds of up to 200 mph (321.869 kph). How do they do this with their tiny bodies? physics. These birds dive onto their prey turning gravitational potential energy into kinetic energy,, while at the smae time, they tuck their heads and wings in towards their bodies to reduce cross sectional area and thus drag.


The class was told to find a partner and a table then given a description of materials 6 pennies, two paper plates, a pencil ,and tape. Then came one final instruction, "make a top."

1. How did this activity relate to the engineering design process?

The engineering design process includes four main steps, design, build, test, and reflect. This relates in the fallowing way. First, we to the best of our ability, tried to find the center of a plate and poke a pencil through. Then we traced out where each penny should go in order to make them equidistant from the center and each other. Then we built. Th planned design worked slightly, so back to the drawing board, we remapped the center and the pennies and the top spun. 

2. How does the activity relate to angular momentum and moment of inertia?

Moment of inertia involves the distance of mass from its center and how it is spread out. We had no perfect means of finding the exact center, thus the top was for some time doomed to wobble. Due  to the world refusing to be frictionless, the angular momentum of the top had to be accounted for to keep the top rotating upright as possible.


The recent static fire of the Falcon Heavy Rocket on January 24th got m thinking more about SpaceX and how the company has revolutionized space flight. While NASA continues to pay SpaceX for launches to the ISS, they also continue to invest money and time into developing the Space Launch System (SLS) lead by Boeing to replace the space shuttle. But back to the static fire. SpaceX fired all 27 merlin engines of the Falcon Heavy on the launch pad as a final test before the maiden launch of the Falcon heavy.


This reminded me about how i have yet to write about the launches or landings of Falcon 9, and the little i could explain of the launch and reuse of first stage rockets. 

First, the ignition of the Falcon 9's 9 merlin engines provide 7,607 kN (1,710,000 lbs) of thrust to launch the rocket. As the gases from the liquid oxygen and kerosene fuels leave the engines, it exerts force on the Earth which then pushes the rocket off the ground by Netwon's third law of motion. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction.

Then, while rising up through the atmosphere and upon return to the adorably named, "Of Course I Still Love You" drone ship, the rockets first stage experiences drag forces. Upon launch, the rocket must be able to overcome these forces and upon re-entry, not burn up. The Falcon 9 first stage carries extra fuel to to fire the engine for a landing burn above the drove ship to counter act the rockets combined kinetic energy and gravitational potential energy. The rocket also has fins attached that open upon decent to apply drag to the rocket to steer and slow down. 

This process of landing first stages and reusing them has cut the cost of SpaceX launches dramatically and has still had its fair share of failures, enjoy.




The winter Olympics has both traditional figure skating, and speed skating as events. For this post I will focus more on the physics in Speed skating. First, how to go forward on ice skates. Since the friction between ice and sharp skates is almost zero you cannot simply just move, however, an ice skater must keep one foot in the direction of travel and push off the other at an angle from the first foot. This then creates forces in the x and y plane of the second skate, and it is the perpendicular force that pushes the skater forward. 

Now for short track speed skating.picture of short track speed skaters

The radius of the turns in short track are much smaller than those of traditional speed skating so the skaters must than rely on their momentum from the straight portions of the track in order to go around the turns. Also, the lean seen above is caused by the centripetal acceleration of the skater around the turn.

schematic of short track speed skater as he goes around a turn

g= 9.8m/s2

G is the skaters center of mass

P is the point of contact between the skates and the ice

L is the distance between P and G

Fand Fy are the x and y components of the contact force respectively

R is the turn radius

ac is the centripetal acceleration of the skater

Θ is the angle between L and the horizontal


F- mg = 0

F= m(v2/R)

Fx sinΘ *L - Fy sinΘ *L = 0

By combining the first and final equation you would end up with: tanΘ = (Rg)/(v2)

Assuming an average radius of 8m, and the top speed of American Olympian J.R. Celski, at around 10.967 m/s at the 2009 Jr championships, the angle that Celski would lead would be 33.1o 


The 2018 winter Olympic games begin in less than a month on Friday, February 9th in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Though I do prefer the events of the summer games, I will have to wait till Tokyo 2020. However, the winter games still has athletes who use physics in order to bring home the gold. In this post I am focusing on a weird but fun event to watch: Luge. In luge, the athlete must try to travel down a track in the least amount of time in order to win. This is where it gets interesting. After a the athlete creates their initial velocity by moving themselves back and fourth with handles at the start, the only force acting on the Luger which could increase speed. However, it is not so simple as the Luger must fight the friction on the ice from their sled blades and the drag forces of earth's atmosphere. The drag force on a Luger can be calculated by: Fd= .5CpAv2 where C is the drag coefficient (typically ranging from .4 to 1), p is the density of air, A is the frontal area, and v is the velocity of the luger. Minimizing drag increases the luger's speed so they minimize the variables they can. Luger's lay nearly flat on their sleds with pointed toes to create the least possible frontal area. If they didn't have to look up to see where to go, the luger could lay completely flat, but we haven't yet strapped cameras to these people and had video play in their helmets. Go USA! Next, there are two parts of the track, straight and banked turns. While on the straight part of the track, the luger can lay flat, however he must look up to steer on the turns. When going around the turns, the luger expireinces a centriptal acceleration. With speeds reaching 140 km/h, and a turn with a radius of 30.9m, a luger can feel up to 5g's of centripital acceleration.


This morning i worked with Vinny bray and after all the swimmer exited the water we talked about our swim and dive season, which lead me to this thought. As my practice last night continued and a kick set presented itself, I took the time to watch and mess with Vinny Bray, the top diver at IHS. Vinny this year is trying to break the school 11 dive record of 431 points at sectionals, and this year he has worked on dives of increasing DD (Degree of Difficulty) this year. But what is he really doing once leaving the board, some would say just some flips but, oh no, he is mastering physics. In high school diving, divers dive off a one meter high board instead of the Olympic 10 meter, but that doesn't matter. A classic dive style for Vinny includes the tuck position, in which he would compact his body, decreasing his moment of inertia, allowing him to complete more flips before entering the water. As Vinny's moment of inertia decreases, his rotational speed increases to conserve angular momentum. Then, there is the pike position. This also helps to decrease moment of inertia, however the divers legs are kept straight, granting less control over angular velocity and increasing degree of difficulty. 


We are now only a few weeks out from the unofficial start to the Major League Baseball season, pitchers and catcher reporting. This day, February 13th, 2018, begins the spring training process that leads up to the start of the season on March 29th. My realization of the nearing call, lead me to think about how many different breaking and off-speed pitches that exist in baseball today. What i discovered is that only two main factors contribute to how pitchers manipulate their throws to be more than just a simple thrown ball. Every curve-ball for  example moves based on the position in which the ball lies in the pitchers hand, and the spin applied.  Of these two factors, spin seems to have the greatest effect and the most physics tucked away. 

The physics of pitching starts by looking at air as the fluid it is and knowing it fallows Bernoulli's law. This states that an increase in the velocity of a fluid decreases its pressure. When a pitcher throws a curve-ball they spin the ball to use this principle to do deceive the batter. A baseball has three axis on which it can spin, X. Y, and Z. Forward spin along the x-axis is known as top spin while backwards spin along the x-axis is what we know as backspin. These two spins carry great effects on balls as they introduce rotation either in the direction or against the direction of travel. As the ball flies through the air, the bumps on a ball cause drag that allows the sin of a ball to change the pitches placement and direction. As the ball spins in either direction it causes a pressure differential on either side of the ball due to Bernoulli's principle. Then combine topspin and backspin with a spin along another axis, it is easy to see how all other pitches are created, simply by some combination of these spins.

This all holds true until we consider the one, rare, odd ball pitch: the knuckle-ball. The knuckle ball has little to no spin on it and thus is considered by some to be a cheap pitch and many are not taught to throw it. Simple thought justifies that it would be simple to hit a ball with no spin since it wont move like previously stated. That's where things get complicated. The knuckle-ball benefits from chaotic fluid dynamics where each imperfection in the balls surface leads to an impact on its flight. Since this is so subtle, it only requires a slight change in the balls path to completely change the balls direction. As a result, the ball wiggles uncontrollably and unpredictably fooling even expert batters.


Fire is Wild

Many describe fire as one of humanity's greatest discoveries. It helps to keep us warm, provides light and energy, and can the remaining coals can help to cook a mean dutch oven stew or cobbler.  Fire works by combustion, requiring fuel, oxygen, and an energy source to kick start the reaction. Though this sounds more towards the chemistry side of science, fires in the wild have mastered physics in order to spread and speed up their consumption. 

Most wild fires tend to seemingly prefer to spread uphill when compared to another other possible direction of travel. The reason for this leads to the physics of wild fires. Fire, like the sun, releases radiant energy to its surroundings. As a fire burns at the base of a hill, the fire radiates energy to the combustible matter in its path. This allows the fire to supply its own energy source to start a new combustion reaction or to feed its current reaction. Studies of wild fires in California, found that for every 10 degrees of slope on a hillside, a fire can double its speed. 


With this recent warm weather that we have had, i have had thoughts of spring and a world booming with plant life. With spring time in Rochester comes rain, sadly, and everyone's friend the Monarch Butterfly. 

Butterflies also have an enormous wingspan compared to their body size, and research shows that most butterflies can fly with damaged wings, or even as little as half of their current wing span. All those times as child when your parents told you not to touch a butterflies wings or wont be able to fly, that's right, they lied to you.

Image result for crying

So this brought me to question the size of their wings as towards advantages, and also lead to an interesting discovery about butterflies. First, did you that butterflies fly by contracting and relaxing their bodies rather than directly flapping their wings? This creates a more bizarre flight pattern making harder for predators to catch butterflies. Try it, their tough little buggers. As for the matter of why their wings are so large, its because their larger wingspan makes them more agile in the air allowing them to turn faster in the air. Butterflies have over evolved their flight and have one up'ed the animal world. They  think they're better than us. Can't trust butterflies.


Yankees catcher,  Gary Sanchez, takes some abuse at his position. Not only from public criticism of his struggles blocking pass balls, but also the constant force of catching baseballs for 9 innings of play. In this blog I will examine the force that Sanchez has felt while catching Chapman.

First, Aroldis Chapman can throw 105 mph (47 m/s) fastballs at Sanchez.


p= (.145 kg)(47m/s)

p= 6.8 kg*m/s

Say the time it takes for Sanchez to stop the ball is .1s

F= p/t

F = (6.8kg*m/s)/(.1s)

F= 6.8 N 



Swimming for the most part is a fairly cheap sport to partake in. A cheap jammer can cost as little as $10 and goggles cost as low as $3 but I wouldn't recommend going cheap if you swim to win. Swimming is a sport where you are constantly fighting drag, whether it is air resistance off the blocks or the water while swimming. Up until sectionals, we all use the suits the school is willing to pay to get us, and there ok. Then when sectionals rolls around in February, you see very few school suit and you get to look around at the different tech suits that people were willing to pay for. This past year I bought a pink, Arena Carbon Air tech suit for $250. This suit is thin and made of nylon, elastane, and carbon fiber, resists the water and cuts back on drag. This is the suit I liked but many others had a Speedo Fastskin. This suit is designed to cut down on drag forces on the swimmer and has attempted to mimic shark skin. the suit has small v shaped ridges to reduce the drag at the swimmers body. These ridges disturb the stagnant water trapped by the swimmers body decreasing drag. Between, the suits and shaving, swimmers can become quicker, and more competitive at sectionals. This is why I invested. 

Image result for arena carbon airImage result for speedo fastskin


Michael Phelps is not only the greatest swimmer of all time, but the greatest Olympian of all time. After competing in five Olympic summer games, ( Sydney 2000, Athens 2004, Beijing 2008, London 2012, and Rio 2016) Phelps has set multiple Olympic and world records and has won 28 ' Olympic medals. 23 gold, 3 silver, and 2 bronze. Standing 6' 4" with a enormous 6' 7" wingspan, the man is built to swim. On television it looks like he does so much work to set his records and win medals, but how much does he really do? The answer will surprise you.

First, lets define work. W= Fd In this case we will be determining force as p/t (momentum divided by time) where p=mv

Work = force times displace

Phelps set the world record in the 100m Butterfly back in 2009 with a time of 49.82 seconds. swimming the race with and average velocity of 2 m/s. Michael weighs 194 pounds or 88 kilograms. 

Thus, p=mv 

p= (88 kg)(2 m/s) 

p= 176 kg*m/s

Michael's force is then, F=p/t

F = (176 kg*m/s)/(49.82s)

F=3.6 N

Phelps swims the first 50m then turns.

W= Fd

W= (3.6 N) (50m)= 180 J

If Michael never turned:

W= (3.6 N) (100m)= 306 J

Phelps then turns returning to where we started the race:

W= (3.6 N)(0m)= 0 J

This proves why Michael Phelps always makes what he does look easy, he does not work at all. Well done Michael. 

Image result for michael phelps


Ever since 2014, the number of home runs hit in a MLB baseball game has risen 47%. While some blame PED's, it is easier to prove the physics. The primary factor in hitting a home run is bat speed. For every 1 extra mph of bat speed, means an extra 1.2 mph of ball speed making the ball fly 6 feet further. Also, launch angle effects whether or not a hit is a home run. The best launch angle is somewhere between 25 and 35 degrees. If the ball is hit on the upper half, it will be a ground ball with a downwards velocity. Lastly, hitting the ball with the sweet spot of the bat (5-6 inches from the end of the bat minimizes the vibration of the bat and thus maximizes the energy transferred to the ball. 

Players now are taught to try and hit the ball just below its center to create more home runs, and as a result, strikeout and most importantly fly out perentages have sky rocketed since 2014. 


Source: NOVA


We all know that mass must be conserved and that mass cannot be created or destroyed. This law is a  fundamental law in physics. In order for an object to gain mass it must be added and con not just simply appear. This is where not only Darwin but physicists can question pokemon evolution. Take Ponyta for example, this fire horse, weighs 66 pounds (29.94 kg) according to the pokedex. After it evolves into Rapidash at level 40, it weighs 209 pounds (94.8 kg). This makes pokemon evolution impossible because at the instant of evolution, ponyta would create 64.86 kg worth of mass, breaking the law of the conservation of mass. this then leads me to believe that the experience gained by a pokemon in order to level up is a form of energy. Mass can not be created but energy can be converted into mass as stated by E=mc^2. So how much experience energy is needed for Ponyta to evolve? Lets find out.


E=mc^2 The mass used will be the change in mass due to evolution 94.8 kg - 29.94 Kg= 64.86 kg

E= (64.86 kg) (3x10^8 m/s)

E= 19548000000 Joules of experience energy

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