Section 1

Joshua Walker

The Railgun is often touted as one of the most iconic weapons in gaming history. The weapon was extremely slow to fire but it packed a massive punch that was effective at any range. A skilled gamer could safely hide in a dark corner of the map and pick off any opponent. The Railgun had a fear inducing hissing sound and colored stream that sent opponents running for cover. Simply put, the Railgun changed the way we played First Person Shooters. Is the Railgun a physics-bending product of a game designers creative mind or a real weapon that could one day be seen on the battlefield?

The Department of the Navy is currently testing an electromagnetic Railgun as defensive technology on battleships. Testing is underway at the Naval Warfare Center in Dahlgren, Virginia where researchers are evaluating barrel life and structural integrity of the prototypes built by BAE Systems and Raytheon Integrated Defense Systems (Cummings, 2012). The Navy began testing these future weapons in 2005 with the hope to use them for long-range precision strikes. The first prototypes were capable of producing a 10.64-megajoule projectile while newer designs can deliver a 32-megajoule projectile. A 32-megajoule projectile produces as much force as a semi-truck traveling 100-mph. The electromagnetic Railgun is capable of firing a projectile more than 5,000-mph and hit targets 200 miles away in less than six minutes (Roach, 2012). The next step for Naval researchers is to design thermal management systems to prevent the Railgun from overheating. When the Railgun is fully operational it will cut down on the cost of manufacturing ammunition as well as remove the hazard of explosive projectiles (Cummings, 2012).

The electromagnetic Railgun is made up of three parts: a power source, a pair of parallel rails and an armature. It is essentially a large electric circuit. The power source generates an electric current in the millions of amps (Harris). The parallel rails are made of conductive metal, such as copper and range from four to 30 feet long. The third component, the armature, bridges the gap between the rails. The armature is usually a solid piece of conductive metal, however, some Railguns use plasma armatures. Plasma armatures use a thin metal foil on the back of the projectile that vaporizes and carries the current (Harris).

Like any simple electric circuit, the Railgun operates by running a current from the positive side of its power supply, up the positive rail and across the armature (Harris). The current then runs down the negative rail and back to the power supply. The electric current traveling through the rails produces a strong electromagnetic field. The electromagnetic field runs counterclockwise on the positive rail and runs clockwise on the negative rail. The force produced between the rails is known as the Lorentz force. The Lorentz force is directed away from the power supply and fires the projectile at an incredible velocity (Harris).

The Railgun has great potential as a future weapon on the battlefield. Researchers are also exploring other uses such as launching satellites and spacecraft into the upper atmosphere as well as missile defense systems for the Star Wars project (Harris). Simply put, the iconic video game weapon is becoming a reality and could one day protect us from asteroids, aid us in space travel and intercept missiles.

Harris, W. (n.d.). How rail guns work. Retrieved from http://science.howstuffworks.com/rail-gun.htm

Roach, J. (2012, February 01). Railgun tech takes a step towards warship reality. Retrieved from http://www.nbcnews.com/technology/futureoftech/railgun-tech-takes-step-towards-warship-reality-24118

Cummings, C. (2012, March 13). Navy begins testing electromagnetic rail gun, quake fans salivate. Retrieved from http://techli.com/2012/03/navy-tests-railgun/

Section 2

Carey “Van ChiSO” Chisolm

Physics and Music

Let me paint you a picture. Bright strobe lights dancing off the walls of Madison square garden. Music is blaring from speakers ranging from fifteen to six feet, which are strategically placed to entertain the many fans in attendance. The wide stage is decorated with the many talented musicians that make up the band and background singers. And lets not forget the minor but necessary details that some artist would like to include in their show, such as traps underneath the stage that makes the artist rise up to the stage. Possibly even hang wires to make the artist fly over the audience.

As a fan all the instruments, lights and the show in general are what make the experience memorable which means in actuality the setup process doesn’t really matter to them. While the backstage crew consisting of the organizer, tour and production manager, Rigger and many more important people which may involve some college students. Now lets take it back to the drawing board for a minute, to the artist that’s making the music. Physicists such as Albert Einstein and Werner Heisenberg played the musical instruments violin and piano.  “Music is putting patterns together, he adds, just as in physics where scientists seek meaning out of diverse phenomena.”-Giambattista, Lauren Gold; (2006) Good physicists make good musicians. The making of music can actually be compared to the formal structures of physics.  Such as the high and low pitches of vocals or instruments, which could determine the rhythm and possibly the genre.

The wave patterns of music can be measured by their frequencies and that the many different harmonies have their own dimensions.  The notes of the piano can be described in Hz or hertz for example the A note is 440 Hz. The ideal instrument to use in my opinion would be a piano; you would get a more defined note. I often find myself playing C4, better known as one of the middle keys, which is 261.626 Hz.  I never imagined how my love for music could cross paths with a subject I didn’t quite understand until after doing some research. All of the notes have their own Hz (Hertz).  As I delved a little deeper into physics relating to music, because at this point my curiosity was involved, I also found out that physics also could be related to performing. Being a musician I can see how waves and frequencies can play their part. Now recently becoming a singer of a live band it’s become a battle between my pitches and octaves battling with dominant instruments like drums and the keyboard. I’ve had to learn to center myself inside the music and become one with the sound. That’s why I think physics has similar qualities as music.

Now back to our concert scene. There’s specific dimensions that will give off the proper sound which bounces off of walls and makes the audience become one with the music. After searching YouTube for videos that could explain my theory, but sadly came up empty handed. Although on my quest to becoming a music guru there was a great amount of music and physics theories. In conclusion either way we look at it physics plays a vital part in life in general. Whether its music, art or everyday life there is some type of formula and equation to solve those mind-bending questions.

References:

  • Harris Goldberg, Adam Tobey, Mike Russo, Adam Taylor, Dave Stevens, Amanda Campbell (2004); Concert Ideas Event Planning Guide; Web; Mar 24, 2013
  • Lauren Gold;(2006) Good physicists make good musicians; Web; Mar. 24, 2013
  • Jonathan Powles;(2012) Music and physics- the connections aren’t trivial; Web; Mar.24, 2013
  • Dr. Patrick Dixon; (2007) Future of music, Secret of performing; Web; Mar. 24,2013

Section 3

Kevin “Southpaw” Lee

For this bonus assignment of a blog post somehow related to physics I will be discussing the use of physics in the gaming world.

First let us begin with a little history lesson.  Physics was not what it is now in the world of video games.  Back in the day (May as well have been the Jurassic era) games merely simulating physics through programmers telling their games that characters fall… or that such-and-such had a projectile path that curved.  There was no code in the game that allowed “Real” physics to happen.  You can look at any games of the time on any platform to understand what I mean… however here is a link to a video of a classic NES title to express my thoughts visually.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCXNXGvYfVk

What a classic, pity there are no actual aerodynamics taking place.  The physical properties of the world around the player in Top Gun have no affect on the player(s) so long as they stay within the sky (Don’t crash).  At the time Top Gun was released this was of course normal, the hardware and know how did not yet exist to create game worlds where physics could be exploited in a meaningful way.

The games of this era are beginning to represent actual physics more dynamically than in the past.  Most titles released over the last few years (AAA platform games) have either interactive environments… or characters.  Sometimes both.  This is all because of something simply known as a “Physics Engine”.   With this wonderful tool developers are able to accurately depict physics in a manner they never have before.  A great example of physics in video games can be found in the title TES: Skyrim where in objects are able to freely move according to how the player interacts with them.  The following video may be a little silly but does showcase my description…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=O4wFtwtL6dc

Note how the cabbages interact with everything they touch based on their angle and trajectory.  Skyrim is stock full of such physics… however it is not a game played FOR the physics. (You don’t learn anything)

Kerbal Space Program is an example of a game that takes physics based gameplay to the extreme.  Think of this game as a NASA simulator.  Not only do you need to design aircraft(s) that follow the laws of physics… you get to see first hand how your creations would interact in the world BECAUSE of physics; as to if they work or crash / explode is entirely up to your design choices.

You can find an entertaining trailer to this game here…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BmorOO58KLM

Games such as Kerbal Space Program are starting to create a more scientifically aware community of gamers.  These games are more than mere entertainment… there is relevant real world information to be gained by such experiences in regards to how physics works.

Off the top of my head these are some games releasing soon that involve heavy use of physics…

Starforge

Kerbal Space Program

StarDrive

ARMA III

Kinetic Void

While not all these games are played in an educational manner the mere fact that real world physics as we know it applies in their game worlds means that we are taking something away from the experience.  It’s clear that as time passes we are more readily able to implement physics into our virtual creations.

Even titles already released are trying to improve their physics representation… just look at Planet Side 2 adding into their title enhanced PhysX this week

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=YVE_tcio5jE

I suppose my point is this… physics makes our games more entertaining while also giving developers the opportunity to educate us in a manner never before possible.  Now… if you need me I’ll be trying not to make my Kerbals explode due to poor design choices and LEARNING from the experience.

What do you mean I can’t strap an engine to one of their space suits and have them survive?  Damn you physics!

Section 4

Joseph “joseph martinez” Martinez

Watch this first, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuqkP5Mic2U

I’m doing this post on Stan Lee’s Super Humans, A show on the History channel. Like most of the students at fullsail I’m sure would agree, Stan Lee is one of my personal hero’s. So when I came across this show on the History Channel, I had to check it out, just about everything does is good. Come to find out the show is about real people who seem to have nearly super human abilities, people that break the laws of physics. Every case is tested by different experts, and scientists. Now this also interested me because in the first week of physics class we learned that everything has energy, that we see it around us everyday. We see it with gravity, an invisible energy that can actually be measured, a force that keeps the moon from flying into the earth, or the satellites from fly off.

The first show I came across was about this Shaolin Monk who had developed his Chi so well his skin was like steel, they call him the unbreakable man. Now Chi is a life force, or energy, the Chinese believe that everything has a Chi, and that through meditation and training they can control it. The Chinese believe even a house can have a Chi. So this Shaolin monk showed he was unbreakable by bending ¼ inch steel over his head without leaving so much as a mark. He also takes a big hammer drill and presses it hard against several parts of his body like his neck just below his Adam’s apple, and his temple without leaving a mark. Now I have worked construction for years, and if you start a drill and put it next to your skin, it will hurt something fierce. But that’s not what truly sold me. In week one of Physics class we where shown a video of a science teacher who lays on a bed of nails and places a board on his chest with a cement block on top, and they broke the block with a hammer.it was explained to us that the fact that there where so many nails spread out over his body that it levels out the force and that is why he does not get hurt. The Shaolin Monk does a variation of that, but instead of nails he uses swords, and only 3. He lays on top of them face down, with one at the base of his neck, the other two at the bottom of his torso, where his legs begin. Then someone places a sheet of marble on his back with a brick on top, and they break it with a sledgehammer. So according to what we learned in class, with there only being 3 swords or points the force on each point would have been greater and pierced his skin, and killed him as high up as he is. The bed of nails only works because the weight is distributed over so may points. Now maybe there is a trick to it, some kind of scam, or maybe it’s evolution. Because there are more people who can do amazing things that seem to defy physics. Like the girl who can run and run forever, without getting tired, or her muscles breaking down. Or the guy who can concentrate so hard that he has the ability to make objects stick to his body. There is lot of episodes on you tube.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CuqkP5Mic2U

The History Channel (history.com)

Kedar George

Roller Coasters

Roller costers are perfect to coincide with physics , kinetic energy, velocity, gravity everything we’ve been learning in this class. Rollercoasters should just be called physics. The very first roller coasters were created in Russia in the 1600’s, and were nothing like the typical roller coaster that comes to mind today.  People rode down steep ice slides on large sleds made from either wood or ice that were slowed with sand at the end of the ride.  The sleds required skill to control it down the slides

Gravity is the main ingredient for a roller coaster.  From the moment the roller coaster train passes the top of the peak of a coaster, it is the acceleration due to gravity that brings it back to the beginning.  When the train is released from the top of the lift hill, gravity pulls it down.  The train begins slowly, then picks up speed as it comes to the bottom of the hill.  As it begins to climb the next hill, it slows downs.  This is because of the acceleration from gravity, which occurs at 9.80m/s2 straight down toward the center of the Earth.

The initial hill, which is the tallest in the entire ride.  As the train is pulled to the top, it is gaining potential, or stored energy.  The higher the lift, the greater the amount of potential energy gained by the train. The more potential energy the fast the possibility of the rollercoaster can go.

As the roller coaster train begins its descent from the fire drop, its velocity increases.  This causes the train to gain kinetic energy, which is the energy of motion.  The faster the train moves, the more kinetic energy the train gains

K = 1/2mv2

K is kinetic energy, m is mass in kilograms, and v is velocity in meters per second.  Since the mass is constant, if the velocity is increased, the kinetic energy must also increase.  This means that the kinetic energy for the roller coaster system is greatest at the bottom of the highest hill on the track: the bottom of the first drop.  When the train begins to climb the next hill on the track, the train starts to slow down, thereby decreasing its kinetic energy

G-forces are used for explaining the relative effects of centripetal acceleration that a rider feels while on a roller coaster.  Consequently, the greater the centripetal acceleration, the greater the G-forces felt by the passengers.  A force of 1 G is the usual force of the Earth’s gravitational pull that a person feels when they are at rest on the Earth’s surface; or it can be described as a person’s normal weight.  When a person feels weightless, as in free fall or in space, they are experiencing 0 G’s.  When the roller coaster train is going down a hill, the passengers usually feels somewhere between 0 and 1 G.  However, if the top of the hill is curved more narrowly than a parabola, the passengers will experience negative G’s as they rise above the seat and get pushed down by the lap bar holding you down. This is because gravity and the passengers’ inertia would have them fall in a parabolic arc.

“How Roller Coasters work”

http://science.howstuffworks.com/engineering/structural/roller-coaster3.htm

Section 5

Alice Kentala

The Theory of Everything?

“I want to know God’s thoughts, in a mathematical way.” –Einstein

Albert Einstein, a genius physicist sought to find a “theory of everything”, so much so he searched until his final days. Einstein changed the world and how it was viewed, but he did not achieve this goal. His works including “General Relativity” lead to something that inspired later physicist to comprise what is known as Super String Theory. Superstring Theory, although not entirely understood, is thought to be close to explaining, “the theory of everything”. But what is Superstring Theory and how does it encompass “everything”?

Superstring Theory takes a deep understanding of mathematics and an ability to understand complex mathematical equations. Today this theory is looked into as being the plausible connection between relativity and quantum mechanics (superstringtheory.com). In the past theories have neglected to encompass the “whole picture” meaning that the laws of gravity and relativity would not fit together to form the picture.  Superstring has opened the door into what seems to be a Sci-Fi reality.

What are Strings? Strings defined by quantum gravity would be 10-33 m Planck length (thinkquest.org.), which obviously is so tiny they can’t even be seen with today’s technology. These tiny strings comprised of energy, are said to be the building blocks of all matter. This vibration caused by the tiny strings would create all of the four forces; Gravity, Electromagnetic, The Strong Force, and Weak Force, in our universe if this theory were proven. Seems like a strange theory right? Well… I haven’t even gotten to the extra dimensions.

Science and Physics have proven and experimented in what we know as the four dimensions. These are length, width, height, and depth or time. If string theory were correct there would actually be 10-11 dimensions. Many questions arise from thinking about extra dimensions. One would be “why cant we see the extra dimensions?” another would be “can we go to these extra dimensions?” plus many questions that someone with a basic knowledge would struggle to even understand.

Many physicists like Michio Kaku, have talked about the possibility of these extra dimensions and what they could look like (youtube.com). One example would be a dimension exactly like are own, the only difference, you’re not there. As Science Fiction as it may sound, in Superstring theory it’s not too far off. Looking towards the oddities of our own world one can see how things that we are accustomed to are just as “Sci-Fi” as the thought of different dimensions. An example of this is life in hostile environments like the bottom of Antarctic ocean, where not only life exists, but thrives (nytimes.com).

If Superstring theory will be proven is still unknown. The “Theory of Everything” remains unsolved. It has been a goal of many to achieve a single equation that explains the combined forces of the universes. With the combined workings of all the brilliant scientists and physicists the humane race is closer that ever to being able to explain dynamic concepts related to our reality.  Technological advances bring us closer to being able to theorize and conceptualize like never before with hopes that we can fully understand the beauty of our universe.

References

ThinkQuest.org. (n.d.). Introduction to String Theory. Retrived from http://library.thinkquest.org/27930/stringtheory1.htm

Schwarz, Patricia. (n.d.). The Official String Theory Web Site. Retrieved from http://www.superstringtheory.com/index.html

Kaku, Michio. (7, December 2011). Michio Kaku explains String Theory. Retrieved from http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kYAdwS5MFjQ

Gorman, James. (6, Feburary 2013). Scientists Find Life in the Cold and Dark Under Antarctic Ice. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/2013/02/07/science/living-bacteria-found-deep-under-antarctic-ice-scientists-say.html?_r=0

Section 6

Deeonna “Daleth” Gonzalez

Afternoons and Physics

Researching physics on one’s down time can be a very interesting day on the internet or at the library.  Perhaps you too have ended up in a web of articles, starting from liverwurst, ending on the War of the Roses. Physics searches can be just as enlightening. I’ve found several websites dedicated fun and easy experiments that show physics in action. These are great to do on an afternoon with nothing to do or with family and friends.

Some are as easy as spinning eggs, which is something that could be done this upcoming Easter as you prepare for your festivities. Spinning eggs can show the effects of inertia on cooked and raw eggs. The cooked eggs move readily due to the even distribution of solid mass within, while the raw egg will be more difficult to stop or start spinning because of the drag of the liquid.

Experiments can become more complex like building an electrical apparatus that can test conductivity. Usually these experiments involve construction or can get mildly dangerous if the user isn’t careful. These are better suited for adults or adult supervised children. There are a few that I’ve found to be easy and fun while thought provoking.

Have you ever tried lifting an ice cube in a spoon? What about with those special ice tongs? What about… a string? Fill a glass with water and then place an ice cube in it. Gently place a string on your ice cube and then carefully pour salt where the ice cube and string meet. Give it about a minute or two and then lift the string. You’ll see that your ice has taken nicely to the string. The reason this is would be that ice and water tend to be in dynamic equilibrium. Two things happen at once during this time, one being that the molecules on the ice escape into the water as it melts. Two being that the water molecules are captured on the way out by freezing.

Another fun experiment is the fireproof balloon. Grab yourself two balloons. Inflate one normally and tie it closed.  Fill the next one with ¼ cup of water and then inflate it. Tie it shut and grab something made of fire! By which I mean, carefully light a match and place it beneath balloon number one. Watch balloon number one burst. Repeat with balloon number two, but this time you’ll see that your balloon is not bursting.

The heat causes the rubber of balloon number one to weaken and therefore cannot resist the pressure of the air inside the balloon. Balloon two finds itself to be in a better position with water being an insulator. “It takes ten times as much heat to raise the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1C than it does to raise the temperature of 1 gram of iron by the same amount.” (“The fireproof balloon,” ).

There are many, many others that I could explain, but below you’ll find links to the sites I had the time to look through. There are a lot of fun experiments and projects including  the use of black light and light sticks. This can be helpful to other students with projects when looking for inspiration.

The fireproof balloon. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://scifun.chem.wisc.edu/homeexpts/FIREBALLOON.html

http://scifun.chem.wisc.edu/homeexpts/homeexpts.html

http://www.sciencefairadventure.com/Physics.aspx

http://www.bitesizephysics.com/experiments.html

http://www.stevespanglerscience.com/experiment

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