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  1. AKMcdonald


    What is senioritis? As Juniors we all hear about it, we even claim by the end of the year that we have been contaminated by this disease. But not until senior year do we realize that we only had a small touch of this so called senioritis and left untreated over the summer days just worsened these symptoms. Senior year requires more and more responsibility and gives us the most freedom we have experienced in our 16 years. Balancing everything from school to volunteering to sports to college and life it can be over whelming. With all this responsibility doesn’t feel like there is freedom. In search for a break and our so called freedom we in a way shut down and become lazy and only do things we want to do instead of care for our new responsibility. Once it hits us that we need to get back onto the merry go round that never stops, it is hard to get back into the swing of things. There life is a reflection of newton’s law that states, an object at rest stays at rest unless acted upon an outside force. Object = us the humans, rest= ignoring our responsibilities, outside force= realization of this so call merry go round. Also to understand life we must understand Freedom=Responsibility
  2. What is a rainbow? What makes a Rainbow? Why do we find joy in a rainbow? Well I can only answer a few of these question. Rainbows as we know occur after a it rains and it’s sunny, therefore rainbows must be the effect of diffraction. Diffraction is the change in the wave length when it passes through a barrier. Light waves have to do with rainbows. The sun is known to be white light, the special feature of white light is that it contains all colors meaning white light is an additive color mixture. To determine the visible spectra of light sources we can solve for different wavelengths - Y1=(lambda x D)/s. Different wavelengths exhibit different diffraction angles and each color has a different wavelength therefore each color diffracts at a different place, this allows us to see each color in white light since the diffraction grating has the capability to separate the light. Hence one can create rainbows using a grating and a white light source. So the water left in the air after it rains acts as the grating mechanism and the white light source is the sun. But to why rainbows create joy I cannot answer, it may be due to the idea of hope or magic or the idea there is a leprechaun at the end with a pot of gold at the end just for you if you can find it. (sorry to ruin your hopes and dreams if you’re a leprechaun hunter or a gold digger but there is no such thing as that leprechaun and a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow since rainbows actually make a complete circle,. So note to you, stop trying to find the end of the rainbow because it doesn’t exist. You may have better luck looking in the parries of Ireland for those leprechauns and for the gold, maybe try a pirates map, I sincerely wish you the best of luck.)
  3. Within the past few weeks I took advantage of the extraordinary opportunity of meeting Brian Greene. This man is highly known in the physics world, he has written multiple books, his best sellers are The Elegant Universe, The Fabric of Cosmos, and The Hidden Reality. Brian is known for his idea of string theory which is explains how “point like particles are replaced by One- Dimension object called strings. String theory then describes how these strings propagate through space and interact with each other.” When I met Brian Greene he was a very humble man who took great appreciation in not just science but the scientist before him and the scientists he works with. He did not talk so much about his idea of string theory but more on black holes and creativity. He began his presentation by explaining a recent where he had gone to an elementary school where he asked the students how many times 2 goes into 6. One student raised her hand and when called on she drew a big 6 on the board and then put the 2 literally inside it. Dr. Greene explained as we get older we need to harness this creative and open minded thinking children have. He explained in all his studies he loves having a few interns to keep fresh minds in the mix for that exact reason. He considers this to be a very good attribute to have, and warned us not to allow society to be crush this innocence but instead to flourish. When we usually talk about Gravitation in physics class we are bound to think like Newton, The idea where we assume objects exert force upon each other. We think of imaginary arrows of force in space acting upon each other. However this picture of forces acting upon each other and the apple dropping on Newton head may be good for high school but that is just the icing on the cupcake: It is the beginning of Einstein’s theory of Relativity. When we think of black holes and how earth was developed there are many many many theories, from use all being star dust, or we are a creation of god, or the big bang theory. We may never know how we came about but we are here now. Dr. Greene planted three seeds into his listener’s brain, each being a different philosophy about black holes. His first theory began by explaining that black holes may just be a one dimensional that absorbs information. To our knowledge this is no way to retrieve this information at this time but there has to be. Yes our initial belief of a black hole was a huge suction where information was lost forever but how can this be true? Information is never lost, or destroyed it is only transferred. If this were true all the physics we have come to learn would be wrong, and that would be hard to grasp because then all the answers we thought we knew would be wrong. He then went on and explained how black holes could potentially be created when particles or objects are crushed so small they can no longer support themselves. This means if the sun were to be crushed till it was a few meters by a few meters it could be likely turn into a black hole where all the light has escaped. This may sound unrealistic, but if you think this could be really common. When stars use up its nuclear fuel it can no longer support itself. Once that occurs the star implodes on itself and the explosion ripples out that soon blows off the outer layers only leaving the star with a small hard core. This core can’t support its weight so in then drops and becomes a black hole. His next theory made us image how our universe was arranged. Yes we all Know “Mercury is the closest planet to the sun/Venus comes next it's the hottest one/Earth comes third the only life that we know/Mars has the largest canyon and volcano/Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, Neptune” but he had us think more along the lines of how the planets stayed in orbit instead of the order. Think of space-time fabric as an actual cloth of fabric. When you place an object on the fabric, the cloth curves. This is exactly what happens in the solar system as well. The sun with such a huge mass bends the space-time fabric. And the earth and all the planets are kept in orbit by following this curvature that has been made by the sun. However a priest with a Doctorate in physics applied Einstein’s idea of relativity not just to space but the whole universe. From his surprise he found out that the world is not static. The universe was expanding! Many believed this to be wrong including Einstein, the most radical thinker of the time. Einstein resisted this idea as with many, even though he himself is the most innovated radical thinker of the time. However Freedman who pushes this idea further but Einstein still denies it because he claimed that Freedman’s results were irrelevant to the universe. Greene compares this philosophy to a bottle of water where we all know that molecules are continuously bouncing off each other but on a macroscopic level the water acts unchanged. However many scientist now believe in the Cosmic evolution aka big bang. Where the universe started small and compressed then slowly explodes. Which do you believe in? Do have another theory?
  4. AKMcdonald

    Photon Camp

    Over the summer I had the amazing opportunity to attend Photon Camp at the University of Rochester for a week. This camp offered many great experiences and opened my eyes to the possibilities that are offered through the world of physics specifically optics. In a singles week I learned how to make holograms and had the opportunity to do fiber splicing along with working with C02 and Hene lasers and much much more! Along with all this excitement, throughout the week in small groups we had to create a capstone project that we would present. My group of four researched the pros and cons of DSLR vs Camera Phones. Obviously DSLR Cameras are better due to their responsibility of just being a camera, but what makes DSLR have better quality pictures? And what makes them so different since camera phones have come a long way since phones first had cameras. As with any project we had to organize our research, we began by narrowing down our research to specifically learning the basics on; Pixels, Flash, F Stops and how lenses work. Through our study we first researched pixels. To start we learned the word pixels comes from the combination of the word pictures and elements. Then we learned that a pixels are small illuminated area on a display screen. Pixels are displayed in horizontal and vertical dimensions which form an image. We learned pixels are only made up of three colors, green, red, and blue. There three colors are important since these are the colors that our eyes pick up the best. We learned the amount of pixels needed is based on the amount of information that is gathered from the picture. We learned that more pixels is not necessarily better quality. This is due to the idea that if little information was given it doesn’t matter whether you have 1000000 pixels or 100 pixels if there isn’t enough information to fill the space. We learned that in DSLR Cameras the picture is almost exactly what the human eyes see, where as in a camera phone the is a lot of information lost therefore the picture is full of fake information. This is because a DSLR has the capability to gather all the information in one picture where as in a camera phone for every one picture a person takes their phone takes a minimum of three photos, these three photos are then combined into one in order to make up for the lost information in the picture. Noise is often defined as the uncertainty in a signal due to random fluctuations in that signal. There are many causes for these fluctuations, most of the time it has to do with the amount of pixels vs the amount of information given to the camera. The number of photons emitted from the source per unit time varies according to a Poisson distribution detectors themselves which is often another cause of noise. This noise is due to the exposure of the grains in the film that produces random variations in film density on a microscopic level. DSLRs use tubes of ionized xenon whereas smartphones use LEDs. Xeon makes for brighter quicker images with better color accuracy. Yes LEDs are still cheaper and more compact which is why phone companies use them instead of higher quality Xeon but glare now becomes more common. Glare is the interference with an image process by unwanted light through the lenses. Red eye is a common form of glare and this is caused by the reflection of light off the bloody back eye when the shutter of the camera closes too quickly. Such glare can be easily prevented by certain DSLR add-ons which are too large for a phone. Internal reflection can be reduced by baffles which are plates of ridges that prevent specular reflection and which again take up space The “f/#” or “f-stop” is a number that represents the ratio between aperture and focal length the aperture (d) focal length (f) and f stop are related by this equation f/d=x. Therefore as aperture increases and f number decreases there is more light in, allowing for better color and clearer image/more resolution because more “data” is being let in. You can double the light let in by multiplying the lens size or else the proportion will be wrong. You can only decrease the aperture of a cellphone camera but because of the ability to use a range of light intake settings F# plays a key role in Depth of Field which is a component of focus and since f # is better in DSLRs so is the focus capacities. Zooming helps focus capabilities however zooming is only beneficial when the camera does not have fixed lenses. Sadly iPhone and many other smart phones have fixed lenses or lenses where you yourself do not have ability to change the lenses. Non-fixed lenses create higher quality images and allows for higher resolution no matter how closely zoomed in the camera is. The zoom on camera phones only allows the camera to get closer to the images, so the picture that is process is what the camera thinks it saw, this is why phone camera zoom is blurry.
  5. DIVING: Flip it, Rip it, Win it. That’s the ultimate goal of a diver, but how does this all work, what are the mechanics that create diving? Torque and the Laws of Motion created diving that’s what. To each and every dive there is a routine. And each routine begins with changing the fulcrum. The purpose of the fulcrum is to change the flexibility/bounciness in the board. By moving the fulcrum all the way back the board is at maximum flexibility, this can be explained through the idea of torque. The equation for torque is fdsinθ, given the equation proves that farther back the fulcrum is, the greater the torque. This is because with fulcrum all the way back the distance of movement is greatest, and the force is a constant and theta is always 0 in this case hence an increase in torque. Next the diver sets up to dive, if the diver is moving in the forward direction then he/she will use a series of steps and “hurdle” off the board. Next they flip. When a diver flips forward off of the diving board, he or she may begin by throwing into a pike position to gain angular speed in a flipping direction while his or her feet remain on the board as long as possible. Almost all of a diver’s “work” is done on the diving board – by putting energy into the board, a diver harnesses the “equal and opposite” Newton’s Third Law of Motion, with that energy eventually being transferred back into projecting the diver up and forward away from the diving board. When a diver is not graceful and stomps on the board, energy is lost before the dive could begin and the board stops making the diver out of synch with the board. This can become dangerous because that means the board will not project the diver off the board properly. So to receive the maximum height off the board and to stay safe the diver must stay in synch with the board!
  6. Being a senior comes with the honor of cherishing your senior night, the night that every underclassmen can’t wait for. However after being on the varsity swim and dive team for 5 years I decided that I wouldn’t dive for the school, even if it meant not having a senior meet. Instead I decided to sail competively. As with any sport there are techniques to help you improve. The techniques in sailing directly apply to physics. The other day as it was too windy to sail, as a team we had a discussion about the basic these technics. Our conversation began with points of sail and the different velocities that come with each. By learning the points of sail we were learning the best way to manipulate the sail to catch all the wind in order to move the boats. So obviously when a boat faces directly into the wind the sails will be unable to caught any wind, therefore if the boat is moving at all it is moving backwards, this is called irons. Now if you were to sail a little bit off the wind this in known as close hauled and a little more a close reach, these points of sail get their name because the boat are sailing close to the wind. These two points of sail are known as going up wind. When going up wind the sails are pulled all the way in, the more you’re off the wind you are the more you can let your sail out. Now when the boat is perpendicular to the wind this is known as a beam reach since the wind is crossing directly over the beam of the boat. This point of sail is the transitions between upwind and down wind. Now if the was to head down wind there are two points of sail, one is called a broad reach and the next is called running. Running is when you are directly downwind. After knowing the points of sail we can now learn the velocity that comes with each. At this chalk talk we learned that a broad reach is the fastest point of sail. This makes a lot of sense because there the sail is almost all the way out and is capable of being all the way full of wind and the boat is not fighting to go against the wind since it has moving in the same direction as the wind. Many sailors may believe a close reach is the fastest since it feels the fastest. This is only due to the apparent speed the boat create. As a sailor you feel the wind that is coming towards you and the wind of you moving hence the apparent speed. The ultimate goal is to get a “lift” when sailing this is only possible when the boat is moving at its maximum speed. A lift is when the boat is able to come out of the water and glide above water. If you get really good some boats may look like the one below.
  7. AKMcdonald


    A little information about myself: I have been playing violin since I was 5. Why do I mention this you may ask? Well you see the tone and sound that violin make connected to physics. (wow our world is surrounded by physics) For those who don’t know a violin has four strings and infinite about of sounds it can create. The sound I made when the strings vibrate. This vibration is created by either plucking the strings or by the action of the bow on the string causes the string to undergo a so-called slip-stick motion. These vibrations can be altered by the use of vibrato or the speed or pressure placed on the bow or by changing the tension in the strings. As the bow is pulled across the strings the force on the bridge increases in the direction the direction the bow moves but the string moves in the opposite direction of the bows motion. The vibrations that are created are transmitted through the bridge into the body of the violin which then bounce off the wall of the violin creating observable sound. This sound that the violin produces to the ear is a fundamental pure tone aka a harmonic aka notes with frequencies that are integer multiples of the fundamental.
  8. Hey there, to those actually sitting down and reading this, I apologize, I’m not all that funny, and writing isn’t really my thing: I prefer math and sciences. So… as many other students in AP Physics C this is my first physics blog post (how exciting a place to share nerdiness!) Outside of school I’m also occupied with diving, sailing, violin and lots of homework. This is my second year in physics, last year I enjoyed physics because it was a science that applied math and made me think therefore I had to take another physics class. Plus with my interest in Biomedical Engineering this class will help me in the long run. It’s also nice Mr. Fullerton allows us to work at our own pace. I look forward to learning as much as my brain will allow. Phyziks Rulz
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