# Fun With Physics

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## Why is the sun hot?

I was recently reading a on a physics website (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/science/) an article revealing the actual reason why the sun is hot. Most people, like I, would think it is because of the energy dissipated from the collision of billions and billions of hydrogen and helium atoms. It seems like straight forward mechanics, the particles collide and dissipate a certain amount of heat energy due to the collision and the addition of the billions of collisions that happen every second mak

## Walking the plank

In a show I recently stumbled upon, a man was told to walk the plank. This plank was nailed down, but considering a plank that wasn't nailed down, one could find the length at which to extend the plank off the ship so that it wouldn't tip over when a person with a known mass walked across it. To calculate this, one has to think about the torques applied to the plank. The torques applied, assuming the person is at the end of the plank and the plank has a uniform mass, is only the torque applied b

## Tuba physics

Physics plays a massive part in music, whether instrumental or vocal, but physicists and musicians rarely realize the depth of the relationship between the two. As a tubist and a physics student, I find how closely intertwined physics and music are to be intriguing. Most people know that the tuba is an incredibly low instrument, second only to the contrabass saxophone, which is rarely found in a concert band anyway, but when asked why it is, the most common answer is because its big. This answer

## Time Travel

Many people think time travel is absolutely ludicrous, but one has to consider what kind of time travel they are referring to. To travel back in time is ludicrous, because if this were ever to become possible, there would have been discovered evidence of time travelers from the future that came to our time. Time travel according to Einstein's theory of Relativity, however, is not only plausible, but true. According to Einstein, as one increases the speed at which they travel, the rate of change

## The Piano

Many people understand that the third pedal on a piano allows the notes to be held out for longer by not allowing the strings to be muffled inside, but the first and second pedals are a mystery. The first pedal is also a mystery to me so I won't discuss that one, but the second pedal makes the notes played softer. There is a fair amount of physics that goes into making this happen in a piano. To reduce the sound, the strings are lightly touched so that they cannot vibrate as vigorously, but not

## Soun Board

Recently I participated in my high school's musical The Addams Family. Many times during rehearsal I would go to the soundboard to get mic'd and then have my mic checked. I never really knew what a soundcheck composed of, so I asked my friend Jack who worked the soundboard. In the simplest terms possible, one listens to the speaker/singer and they determine which frequencies sound good in the room and which sound awful. The ones that sound awful are cut out. I thought it was pretty interesting,

## Slipping in the Rain

I was recently driving on a day when it was raining fairly aggressively. I was driving fine when all of a sudden a car headed the opposite direction from me slid right in front of me almost hitting my car. After assessing the accident and making sure everyone was okay I began to think about what made the car slide all the way to the opposite side of the road. As the pavement was wet, the coefficient of friction between the car and the road was decreased. This made it so the traction in his tires

## Sleding

Many people spend the winter practicing thrilling winter sports such as skiing or snowboarding, but I like to stick with simplicity. Sleding requires very limited skill to still have the thrill of gliding down a hill. There is also a lot of physics behind sleding, specifically how to turn on a sled. People seem to automatically know that they should lean to a side to turn to that side on a sled, but why? It's all about the normal force. The sled glides down the hill because of the force of gravi

In a lab recently conducted by the Physics C class, Mr. Fullerton required the class to place a textbook at a location where they predicted a ball launched by a projectile would fall. The class got one test launch to observe the behavior of the projectile and then the angle that the projectile was launched at was changed and the location of the ball when it lands had to be predicted. The class failed to calculate the final location of the ball due to improper calculations, specifically not repre

## Rotational motion (don't forget friction)

In a recent lab done in my physics c class, my group was experimentally determining the moment of inertia of six different objects. We set up a ramp for the objects to roll down at an angle of 3.325 degrees. We rolled the objects down the ramp, recorded the time for each object and then found each objects linear acceleration, radius, angular acceleration, mass, net torque and finally moment of inertia. When we checked our answers with our teacher they were horribly wrong, like an average of 200%

My family and I were making bread the other night and my mother had to teach us how a flat piece of dough could turn into a delicious, golden brown loaf. All she knew was that heat made the dough rise, but there is so much more physics involved in making bread rise. In terms of energy, as heat from the oven goes into the dough, the heat energy is turned into mechanical energy in the molecules of the bread, mostly in the form of kinetic energy. This conversion from heat energy to kinetic energy c

## Returning a serve

In my limited time playing tennis for school and ping pong in my free time, I've learned how to properly return a fast serve. I would always see a quick serve coming at me and be tempted to swing hard back at it, but that would always end in the ball soaring off to either side. My coach instead told me to just hold my racket still and steady and let the ball bounce off of it. This technique has a lot of physics behind it that makes sense. Think of a ball being bounced on the floor. The floor doe

## Resolution

One of the most creative sounds in music is when a composer is able to resolve a chord. The chord starts out sounding as though the pitches are fighting each other, this is called dissonance. The listener hates this sound, but it makes the resolved pitches sound even better. To resolve the chord, the dissonance is ended by balancing out the wavelengths of the pitches. This is done by changing the notes in the chord such that their frequencies create regular harmonies such as a third and a fifth.

## Partial Derivatives

A partial derivative uses this nice formula. (f)/(x), where f:R^2->R is lim h->0 (f(x+h,y)-f(x,y))/h. Physics is everywhere, waiting, watching.

## Pancakes

My sister Abby loves to make pancakes for breakfast. She makes three small pancakes at a time using one pan. How does this cook all of the pancakes evenly? This is where physics comes into the equation. The flame is concentrated in the middle of the pan, so wouldn't that be the only place where the pancakes would be able to be cooked? One would assume so, but due to energy and particle movement, the entire pan is able to cook a pancake, even though the flame is not directly under that spot. The

## Mass CAN Change?

In high school physics we've always been told that test will try to trick you. They'll ask if a 10kg person goes from the earth to the moon how will their mass change. And the answer is always it doesn't. Mass doesn't change, mass doesn't change, mass doesn't change. It's been hammered into our brains. But it's a lie. So the speed of light in a vacuum is 300,000 km/s. This is the fastest speed any object in the universe can travel at. So what happens if you try to accelerate an object going the

## Is Gravity an Illusion?

From the earliest discoveries of gravity and when students first learn about gravity, they are told it's a force. The force of gravity is equal to mass times the acceleration due to gravity or Fg=(m1m2/r^2. That is just a fact. Or is it? Gravitational forces are actually much more interesting than just the relationship between one mass and another. Gravity is the act of changing space-time. Gravity causes space-time to curve into a bowl like shape pulling masses into the center of it. As a plane

## Ice Skating

When a skater goes into a spin, they usually start it with their arms out wide, spinning at a slow pace. Then the skater pulls their arms in and the speed at which their rotating increases and finally as the spin comes to an end, their arms extend again and they slow down. Many people understand that physics is incorporated in skating, but they don't understand how much goes into a simple spin in terms of physics. Rotational momentum is defined by the objects moment of inertia multiplied by thei

## Homer Simpson

In the greatest comedic film ever created, Homer Simpson attempts to ride a motorcycle around the inside of a dome. He accomplishes this feat in order to throw a bomb out of the inside of the dome. Not only is this the coolest stunt ever pulled in any movie in the history of film, the physics behind this accomplishment is elegant. In previous attempts when Homer failed, he drove too slowly and so he would fall when he got to the top of the dome. Lisa knew about physics, however, and told Homer t

## High Notes on the Tuba

As an experienced tubist, I have been practicing bettering the quality of my higher range for years now, but it is still a challenge. The challenging aspect of playing clear high notes through a tuba can be attributed to physics. The higher the pitch, the higher the frequency of the sound waves. To increase the frequency of the sound waves, one must increase the speed of the air through the tuba. To do so, you increase the pressure of the air in the mouthpiece by pressing your lips close togethe

Black holes are often thought of as dark holes sucking matter in towards them by there massive amount of gravitational force. Interestingly enough, however, black holes are anything but black. Black holes might be dark, but they glow. It is well known that black holes decay until they don't have enough energy to sustain their mass, thereby not allowing them to exist any longer. But what does this loss of energy turn into? The slight glow in black holes. This slight glow is due to "Hawking Radiat

## Fall

Fall is by far the best season. It's not too hot, not too cold and the leaves falling all around create beautiful views any way you turn. Physics is also all around during fall. To pick one example, falling leaves illustrate many principles of physics. One could pretend air resistance doesn't exist and see a leaf fall 9.8 m/s^2 in a straight line to the ground, but that would take away from the beauty of the leaf falling. One would have to include air resistance, measured by either bv or cv^2, w

## Drifting

By far the coolest thing you could do with a car is drift, but most people don't know the specifics behind drifting and how much physics is embedded in drifting. When someone drifts, they turn the car abruptly and then turn the wheel in the opposite direction they want to turn. This action, however, however seems counterproductive. Why would turning the opposite direction move the car in the intended direction? To answer this question, you need to know the nature of friction and Newton's laws. W