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Harmonics

There is a trick guitar players use where they lightly tap a fret while plucking the string and making a high pitched noise. This is commonly called "playing harmonics". However even without any fancy tricks, a guitar player is playing harmonics. In order to understand this we need to know some basic physics on waves. When someone plucks the lowest string on a guitar, you hear an E. You may think you are hearing just that one sound, but really you are hearing multiple harmonics and overtones co

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swimming the butterfly

How is it that when Micheal Phelps swims the butterfly he can glide effortlessly through the water and somehow resembles the mammal for which the stroke is named? Well it may not seem so, but Phelps is a physicist. He has perfected the stokes so that he is working with the laws of physics and mechanics, reducing drag, minimizing his surface area and maximizing his force against the water. The butterfly is arguably the most difficult swimming stroke. The swimmer throws both arms above his or her

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The physics of throwing pottery

The art of pottery requires a lot of patience, focus and a high tolerance for getting messy. Having a grasp on some basic physics concepts can also be a big help. The wheel spins as a result of centripetal acceleration. The diameter of the wheel and the velocity of the wheel (controlled by the potter) determine the wheel's centripetal acceleration (a=v2/r). The lump of clay is subject to centrifugal force (the tendency for an object to fly outwards on a circular path) because of the wheel

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Double Rainbow!

I'm sure we all remember the poplular Youtube hit where the hiker becomes completely overwhelmed with emotion at the sight of a "double rainbow all the way across the sky." So, maybe his reaction was slightly over dramatic, but the science behind the phenomenon is pretty exciting. Try to contain yourselves though. In order for a rainbow to form, there are a couplel conditions: there must be a lot of moisture in the air and the sun must be behind us. Sunlight is white and is made up of

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