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About this blog

As a Physics C student during the 2016-2017 school year at Irondequoit High School, I am interested in discovering how I can relate what I learn in the classroom to the world around me. This blog will include how I see physics in action in my everyday life.

Entries in this blog

 

Physics of College

Hey y'all, Chris, a student at Cornell, wakes up at 8:59am for his 9:05 class. If the class is 1.5 km away, at what constant velocity does he need to travel in order to make it to class at 9:05? Neglect air resistance.

nathanstack15

nathanstack15

 

The World's First Quad Cork 1800

A couple days ago, a Swiss skier named Andri Ragettli landed the first ever 'Quad Cork 1800', in which he flew 38 yards off of a jump in Italy, making five full rotations and four head-under-body spins. The video of the jump is attached below. The true difficulty of landing such a trick is very clear when considering the physics behind it. First, in order to be in the air long enough to perform such a trick, a skier needs to gain a great amount of kinetic energy as he descends from the top of th

nathanstack15

nathanstack15

 

Physics of the Saxophone

I have played the saxophone for a very long time and really enjoy it. Although I have played it for so long, I have never learned the physics behind how blowing on a little piece of wood generates sound. In making a sound on the saxophone, one blows air at a high pressure through the mouthpiece. The reed controls the air flow through the instrument and acts like an oscillating valve. The reed, in cooperation with the resonances in the air in the instrument, produces an oscillating component of b

nathanstack15

nathanstack15

 

The Leaning Tower of Lire

Recently in my BC Calc class, we've been talking about series and in some cases the application of them. The harmonic series is especially applicable to music: in music, strings of the same material, diameter, and tension whose lengths form a harmonic series produce harmonic tones. Another application of the harmonic series is the Leaning Tire of Lire, a theoretical structure. Suppose that an unlimited identical books are stacked on the edge of a table in such a way that the maximize the overhan

nathanstack15

nathanstack15

 

Physics of Magnetism

Mr. Fullerton recently gave us a hand out explaining electromagnetism and how it directly relates to Einstein's Theory of Special Relativity.  According to the theory, length and time are not absolute measures, but can be perceived differently based on the motion of the observer. This can be applied to current in a wire. Take a wire with no current flowing in it. As a whole, the wire is neutral as there are equal numbers of protons and electrons. When current flows through the wire, the electron

nathanstack15

nathanstack15

 

Recent Planetary Discovery

Recently, astronomers discovered a solar system much like ours that could potentially support life. Seven earth-sized planets orbiting nearby star Trappist-1 were found this past week. The solar system is 40 light years away from the Earth. At least three of the seven planets are the right temperature to sustain life. They're rocky and could have oceans. Their orbital periods range from 1 to nearly 13 Earth days. All of the planets are located within a distance from Trappist-1 that is 1/5 the di

nathanstack15

nathanstack15

 

Physics of Bowling

Last week, I went bowling for the first time in a long time. I noticed that there is a lot of physics in the sport. When rolling the ball, the bowler applies a force to the ball causing it to accelerate and travel with a relatively constant velocity down the lane. The reason that the ball does not decelerate very much at all is because a substance with a very very low coefficient of friction is applied to the surface of the lane, making the force of friction on the ball small, but nonzero. If th

nathanstack15

nathanstack15

 

Physics of the Compound Bow

Last week, we began the archery unit in gym class. One thing that was especially interesting was when Mr Carrick brought in his compound bow. The compound bow, unlike the longbow and recurve bows, utilizes a system of cams and cables, which is a basically a Pully system, redistributing the tension in the string of the bow. This allows the archer to hold the bow at full drawn length with less force than the maximum draw force. This is especially useful for hunters, where bows may need to be held

nathanstack15

nathanstack15

 

Physics of the African gourd drum

This past week, a group called the Saakumu dance troop featuring Bernard Woma came to IHS. Their performance featured multiple instruments that are atypical in the United States. For example, they brought with them an African gourd drum, which looked a lot like a curved marimba. However, a marimba's resonators are hollow pipes, whereas this gourd drum's resonators were gourds, the vegetable. This instrument is played by striking wooden bars with mallets. The work done by hitting the wooden bars

nathanstack15

nathanstack15

 

Physics of Intervals in Music

As a saxophone player, I have always wondered how exactly sound waves work and why some notes sound good together while others don't. For example, when notes that are a half step apart are played simultaneously, "wobbles" are produced. If two sound waves interfere when they have frequencies that are not identical but very close, there is a resulting modulation in amplitude. When the waves interfere constructively, we say that there is a beat. The number of beats per second is known as the beat f

nathanstack15

nathanstack15

 

Physics of Transistors

Recently in AP Chemistry, we talked about modern materials, like transistors, and how exactly they work. Transistors are a type of semiconductor. Semiconductors correspond with the metalloids on the periodic table. In Physics C, we typically refer to objects as either conducting or non-conducting, and have learned how to deal with electric fields, electric potential, electric potential energy, and capacitance for either of the two objects. The physics becomes more involved when considering semic

nathanstack15

nathanstack15

 

Physics of Equilibrium

I recently saw this picture on one of my friend's Snapchat stories. How is this water bottle able to balance on its side? The bottle is positioned so that its net torque is equal to zero. On the left side of the bottle, the force of gravity due to all of the infinitesimally small pieces of its mass on one side of the system's center of mass multiplied by the distance that their weight vectors are from the center of mass (AKA the counter clockwise torque) has some definite magnitude. On the right

nathanstack15

nathanstack15

 

Physics of Hip Checking

This past weekend, I went to an IHS hockey game, and noticed that @SJamison was able to completely send his opponents off of their feet without even applying too great a force to the opponent. Skylor continually used the hip check, which seemed effortless compared to body checking and a lot less painful for the defender. What is the physics behind hip checking? By applying a force further from a player's center of gravity, a defender applies a torque to the other player, causing that player to e

nathanstack15

nathanstack15

 

Gauss's Law - for both Electricity and Gravity?

This past week in physics, we learned about Gauss's Law for electricity. It states that the electric flux, or the amount of electric field penetrating a surface, is proportional to the charge enclosed within the surface. Interestingly, Gauss's Law does not only apply to electricity: it also applies to gravity. According to Wikipedia, gravitational flux is a surface integral of the gravitational field over a closed surface. This is analogous to electric flux, equivalent to the surface integral of

nathanstack15

nathanstack15

 

Electricity and Magnetism

This past week in Physics C, we started the electricity and magnetism course. It has proven to be very difficult so far, especially when talking about electric fields and finding electric fields at a point by integrating across an object where its charge is uniformly distributed. I am even more scared to start learning about Gauss' Law. Since I do not entirely understand the hard stuff yet, I'll talk about simple electrostatics which can be seen in everyday circumstances. Charging by conduction,

nathanstack15

nathanstack15

 

Physics of Arm Wrestling

Today was an unfortunate day in Physics class. After some bickering over some physics problem between my brother Jason and I, we decided that the only way to properly settle our dispute was to arm wrestle. Unfortunately, he beat me. Although I did not get the victory I deserved, I noticed that arm wrestling has quite a lot of physics to it. When arm wrestling, both people are trying to apply a greater torque than applied by the other person. Since torque equals the force applied times the distan

nathanstack15

nathanstack15

 

Physics of Trampolines

This coming Friday, I'm going to Skyzone with a bunch of my friends. If you've never been to Skyzone, an indoor trampoline park, you definitely should go. I've been thinking about the ways that trampolines work, and notice that they demonstrate an important physical concept: conservation of mechanical energy. When jumping on a trampoline, your weight and work done by your legs causes the elastic surface of the trampoline to stretch and it causes the springs attached to the trampoline to stretch.

nathanstack15

nathanstack15

 

Physics in The Simpsons

The other day, I was watching The Simpsons, one of my favorite TV shows, and noticed that in a particular scene, one of the characters, Mr. Burns, experienced multiple laws of physics in action. He was on a camping trip with his millionaire friends, and, with a shotgun, attempted to shoot a stationary pigeon. Mr Burns, who is unrealistically underweight, shot backwards dramatically after firing the gun. This occurrence demonstrates conservation of linear momentum. Originally, both him and the gu

nathanstack15

nathanstack15

 

Physics of Golf

One of my favorite sports to play is golf. I have played the game since I was about 8 years old, and have played on the golf team at school since 7th grade. I also play with friends over the summer pretty frequently. However, the game can be really frustrating due to the complexity of hitting a perfect golf shot. Hitting a golf ball well is much more complicated than simply keeping your eye on the ball and hitting it as hard as you can. Some people view a golf swing much like a baseball swing. H

nathanstack15

nathanstack15

 

Physics of Ice Skating

This past weekend, I went ice skating for the first time in a couple years. I was not as good as I remembered, but I still had a lot of fun. When I was ice skating, a noticed a group of girls who looked like they were on a figure skating team. At one point, one of them went out on the ice. She did some fancy spins, like triple axles and stuff (I don't know very much about figure skating sorry), and I paid particular attention when she would spin. She began her spin with her arms and one of her l

nathanstack15

nathanstack15

 

Physics of Snow Plows

Last week Rochester experienced a pretty heavy snow storm. Sadly, irondequoit was one of the only schools that didn't get a snow day. During the snow storm, I noticed a lot of snow plows hit the streets. Particularly, I noticed how the snow plows effectively get the snow off of the road. They have to angle their snow plows away from the center of the road in order to apply a force to the snow that has a component towards the sidewalks.  If instead they did not angle their plows, the snow would s

nathanstack15

nathanstack15

 

Physics of Jumping into a Pile of Leaves

When I was younger, I liked to rake all of the many leaves in my yard into one big pile. Then, I would jump into the big pile along with my siblings. Why did I, like many young kids, love to jump into a big leaf pile? Let's consider the physics behind the scenario in terms of momentum and impulse. When in the air, the instant before I have come in contact with the leaves, I have a downward and rightward (assuming that I jump in the rightward direction) velocity, meaning that I have a non zero in

nathanstack15

nathanstack15

 

Physics of Speed Bumps

Have you ever driven too fast over a speed bump and felt an uncomfortable jolt? Have you ever wondered why the feeling is so much less uncomfortable when you travel over the speed bump at a slower speed? This discomfort can be explained when considering the physics of speed bumps. When going over the speed bump, you experience an impulse, equivalent to the average force applied to you multiplied by the time during which it is applied. Let's say that you are approaching the speed bump at a relati

nathanstack15

nathanstack15

 

Physics of Playground Swings

When I was younger, I loved swinging on the playground swings. I always tried to go as high as possible because it made me go faster when at my lowest point, which was an exhilarating feeling. What I didn't understand then I understand now when considering the physics behind it. If you set your reference level at the lowest point of the swing, then when you first get on the swing, you have no mechanical energy. Then, when someone applies a force to you, they do work on you, causing you to accele

nathanstack15

nathanstack15

 

Physics of Hot Rod

One of the most amazingly idiotic movies ever created is Hot Rod, starring Andy Samberg as stuntman Rod Kimble. In one scene, he attempts to jump a public swimming pool while on his moped. He fails miserably, as the video below illustrates. How could he have successfully jumped the pool? In order to determine this, lets consider the physics behind the situation. Lets say that the ramp is angled at 45 degrees to the horizontal. Lets also say the the the two ramps on the two sides of the pool are

nathanstack15

nathanstack15

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