Week of April 9, 2018

Remember to read past the Cool Science of the Week to find your assignments. ūüôā

Cool Science of the Week
We’ve discussed satellites and the relationship between tangential velocity and the gravitational force that creates the centripetal force. What happens when a satellite’s tangential velocity slows so that the centripetal force it requires is less than the gravitational force it’s experiencing? It falls back to Earth, and this is precisely what will happen with the Chinese space station, Tiangong, sometime during spring break somewhere between 43 degrees north latitude and 43 degrees south latitude. (Yes, we are in that range, but only at the high northern end withour 41.5 degree latitude.) Not to worry: Most of the school bus-sized space station will burn up due to friction upon reentry, and the chances of being hit by what’s left are infinitesimally small. Why is this happening? China lost control of Tiangong in 2016, so it cannot force a controlled landing. This is one of the risks of our space station/satellite age, and it gives you the chance to ponder risk versus benefit, one of the most important questions in science and technology! Definitely check out this link, which drives home home the understanding of just how much “stuff” we’ve put in orbit around our planet. Fun fact: The Chinese space station featured in the movie¬†Gravity is a future version of Tiangong, since¬†Gravity is set in the near future. Chinese scientists even got some ideas from seeing the movie!¬†Fun link:¬†How to track the space station’s spectacular reentry
FILE - In this Nov. 3, 2011, file image taken from video from China's CCTV via AP Video, China's Shenzhou-8 spacecraft is docked with the orbiting Tiangong-1 space station. China's defunct and believed out-of-control Tiangong 1 space station is expected to re-enter Earth's atmosphere sometime in the coming days, although the risk to people and property on the ground is considered low. (CCTV via AP Video, File)
Image from Cleveland.com

This Week in Physics
First and foremost, remember that we have the SLO on Wednesday, April 18, which is the week after we return. It’s in your best interest to start studying early. It covers units 1-6, and we will spend some class time reviewing. This will impact the rate at which we are able to move through our new unit. Ideally this week we will complete assignment 1 from unit 7 and take a quiz over goal set 1. If we are lucky we will take notes on¬†PODCAST 2: Electric Force (Coulomb‚Äôs Law)¬†and begin to move through that material. I’ll make announcements in class in regard to due dates.

Week of March 26, 2018

Once again we’re starting with the Cool Science of the Week feature! Be sure to read past it for your assignments. ūüôā Four-day week – spring break is almost here!

Cool Science of the Week
We all know that what goes viral is often not true. In recent years stories of a supposed alien skeleton from Chile began making the rounds, even showing up in a documentary. A scientist picked up on the story and asked to examine the tiny six-inch skeleton with the oddly elongated head, which, admittedly, looks a little un-human. DNA and X-ray examination revealed the shocking truth. You won’t believe what they found! (LOL ironic clickbait)

This Week in Physics
Due Monday: Assignment 2¬† and goal set 2. (Yes, first period, I know I told you it wasn’t due. I changed my mind. Aren’t you lucky?) The test for unit 6 is Tuesday. For Wednesday please take notes on podcast 1 from our new unit on electrostatics. We’ll go over this, do a little lab activity, and dive into¬†assignment 1¬†by the end of the week.

Week of March 19, 2018

How weird is this? We are entering the first week of FOURTH QUARTER!!! Prom, Cedar Point, graduation, and summer are within sight! Enjoy every minute! (Especially enjoy the minutes you spend doing fabulous physics!) I’m going to start beginning the blog with the Cool Science of the Week in the hopes that more of you read it. Science is awesome! Read beyond the Cool Science to find your assignments.

Cool Science of the Week
Happy St. Patrick’s Day to those who celebrate! Did you know that the great symbol of the holiday,¬†the shamrock, is not a real plant? There is no species of clover known as a shamrock. Instead, the shamrock is a popular term for a three-leaf clover, and botanists over hundreds of years have debated about which species people consider to be the shamrock of lore. In 1988 an Irish botanist tried to determine definitively which species of clover is the shamrock with a survey, finding that the majority of Irish people consider the species¬†Trifolium dubium (common name: lesser clover) to be the true shamrock, with¬†Trifolium repens (white clover) taking second. However, many others, including a plant that’s not even a clover (Oxalis ocetasella, or wood sorrel), made the list! Pro tip: A four-leaf clover is a mutation and is never considered a shamrock.

Lesser clover (left) and wood sorrel (right) Images from Wikipedia

This Week in Physics
We’re all starting at slightly different places…
1st: On Monday we’ll finish the lab. Goal set 1 is due at the start of class on Monday. Quiz over goal set 1 is Tuesday or Wednesday as announced, and please take notes on podcast 3 for Tuesday. Then we’ll do assignment 2 and likely test on Friday.
3rd: On Monday¬†assignment 1¬†is due.¬†Goal set 1 is due at the start of class on Tuesdday. Quiz over goal set 1 is Tuesday.¬†Please take notes on podcast 3 for Wednesday. Then we’ll do assignment 2 and likely test on Friday.
8th: On Monday we will finish going over assignment 1.¬†Goal set 1 is due at the start of class on Monday. Quiz over goal set 1 is Tuesday, and please take notes on podcast 3 for Tuesday. Then we’ll do assignment 2 and likely test on Friday.
11th:¬†Goal set 1 is due at the start of class on Monday. Additionally please take notes on podcast 3 for Monday. Quiz over goal set 1 is Tuesday. Then we’ll do assignment 2 and likely test on Friday.

In Memory of Stephen Hawking, January 8, 1942 – March 14, 2018

Week of March 12, 2018

This is the final week of the grading period. Please check PowerSchool for missing assignments. I will no longer accept late work after Tuesday except in cases of extended recent absences as arranged with me by Monday.

This Week in Physics
11th period: Podcast 2 from unit 6 is due for Monday. All other class periods: Podcast 2 from unit 6 is due for Tuesday. This week we will go over the material from podcast 2 by practicing problems and concepts in class, performing the Circular Motion Lab, doing assignment 1, doing goal set 1, and taking a quiz. This unit will wrap up quickly, so please stay on top of the material.
Lab report: The lab report for the  Impulse-Momentum Theorem Lab will be due at the start of your class period on Thursday (3/15) or Friday (3/16) as announced. You must share your Google document with me at my Gmail address, burgessm@alstudent.org, not my school email address. You must then upload your document to TurnItIn.com by 3:00 p.m. on the due date. The class ID is 16214937, and the password to join the class is Tesla. Remember to use both the Lab Report Writing Guide and the Lab Report Rubric to guide your writing.

Cool Science of the Week
This past Thursday (3/8) was International Women’s Day. To focus on this event, let’s recognize one of the world’s premier physicists who happens also to be a woman.¬†Fabiola Gianotti is the director of the¬†European Organization for Nuclear Research, better known to us as CERN, one of the most important (perhaps the¬† most important)¬†physics research institutes in the world. (Just one example: It’s where the World Wide Web began!)¬† Her work could earn her a Nobel Prize, and her impact on science worldwide is unquestioned. We’ve come a long way from just a few decades ago when there weren’t even women’s restrooms in many physics institutions, and it’s been an even shorter time since Mattel produced a Barbie that said “Math class is tough!” (Video below)

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Week of March 5, 2018

There are two weeks left to third quarter. Heads up! ūüôā Also, as you know, our schedule will be a smidge topsy-turvey due to the SAT administration for all juniors on Wednesday morning.

This Week in Physics
For Monday complete assignment 3. If you are in first or third period, please also complete goal set 3. We will take the momentum unit test on Tuesday or Thursday as announced in your class period. Then we will complete the¬†Impulse-Momentum Theorem Lab. (This experiment will result in a gorgeous lab report… yay!)

Cool Science of the Week
Bummed about cavities? Scientists may have discovered a way to regenerate teeth! (Pro tip: Keep brushing and flossing anyway.) ūüėČ

Instead of Filling Cavities, Dentists May Soon Regenerate Teeth