Physics C and How it Relates to Me

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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.

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

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

Physics of Ping Pong

One of my favorite sports to play is ping pong. I've always had a ping pong table in my basement and play with my brothers and with friends pretty frequently. I've always been amazed at the skill of Olympic table tennis players. If you've never seen Olympic table tennis, It's amazing how fast the little ball is hit back and forth between the two players. Sometimes it goes so fast that you can barely see it. The physics behind the game can explain why these Olympic athletes are so skilled at the

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

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

Physics of Water Skiing

One of my favorite things to do during the summer is water skiing. I don't go very often, but when I do, I love the satisfaction of getting up out of the water. In order to get up, you have to point your skis upward out of the water. By doing so, the skis are able to apply a force perpendicular to the direction of the velocity of the boat as the boat accelerates in the forward direction. This perpendicular force prevents the skier from face planting in the water. Then, you must tilt your skis to

The Physics of Spikeball

One of the only games that I think I'll never get sick of playing is Spikeball. Spikeball is a new sport similar to both volleyball and foursquare. Two two person teams gather around a circular net. A point begins when a player serves a Spikeball by hitting the ball on the net so that it ricochets to the other team. The opposing team has three hits between them to hit the ball back on the net. If they do hit the ball back on the net, then the other team gains possession of the ball, meaning that

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

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

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

This past Friday, our class attempted the "Shoot Your Grade" lab, in which we had to place a book on the floor where we expected a projected ball would hit. As a class, we all failed the lab because the book was not placed where the ball hit. The main reason for our failure was lack of communication between our class mates. Doing a lab with 25 people and having all those people working to solve the same problem can easily be chaotic and confusing, and it definitely was. If we had established agr

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

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.

The Physics of Running

I'm gonna be honest, I hate running. I love athletic games that require running, but I hate running just to exercise outside of the context of a sport. One of the most dreaded days of the IHS soccer season is the first day of double sessions. We have to run a mile and a half around the track in under 9 minutes and 20 seconds. It's a pretty difficult time to get, especially for those that don't do very much training beforehand. It requires a lot of mental toughness and determination. I can't begi

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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,

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

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

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

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