Section 1

Amy “Amy Bousamra” Littlefield-Bousamra

Robotics and the World of Bugs

Robots. The word can conjure up all sorts of science fiction images. These robot images can be derived from such characters as Tik-Tok from Frank Baum’s Oz series, Gnut  from Harry Bate’s Farewell to the Master, or film’s C-3P0 and R2D2 from the blockbuster hit, Star Wars.

What about real robots? In recent times scientists are thinking small and looking to mother nature for answers. The current trend, particularly in the field of robotics, examines the extraordinary life of insects. Here are a few recent projects making headlines today:

1. The Robobees: The biggest buzz on robotic insects goes to Harvard University and their invention of Robobees. This robotic invention has received numerous amounts of press. The amount of press is not surprising though as for such a small (only half a gram) robot with ambitious capabilities. According to researchers at Harvard these tiny robots strive to achieve the following:

  1. pollinating a field of crops;
  2. search and rescue (e.g., in the aftermath of a natural disaster);
  3. hazardous environment exploration;
  4. military surveillance;
  5. high resolution weather and climate mapping; and
  6. traffic monitoring.

Interesting fact: In order to create robobees, a new technique in robotics called pop-up fabrication of microelectromechanics (MEMS) of robots was developed.  Prior to pop-up fabrication, robobees were manually assembled one by one. This technique was inspired from origami and children’s pop-up books. Like a pop-up book, the robot emerges from an assembly scaffold when popped upward into a three dimensional figure. The motion and calculated rotation that occurs during the pop-up process helps create folds (joints) in the robot. This technique could lead to the mass production of other electromechanical machines.

A detailed video on how this technique is applied to the creation of a robo-bee can be viewed at:

2. Robotic Ants:  The New Jersey Institute of Technology’s Swarm Lab continues to make advances with the development of robotic ants.  During this project, scientists engineered ten robotic ants. The study uncovered the ants’ navigational behavior in a colony.

Interesting fact: The idea for this invention came from researching ants and trying to mimic the pheromone trails they leave with the use of light. The ants are equipped with light sensors used to detect the trail of light left behind from their previous path of movement. The information collected from this project could lead to improving transportation in the future. A demonstration of this robotic ants can be viewed at:

3. The Robot Dragonfly:

The Robot Dragonfly would make a perfect a gadget for 007. This robotic project began with graduate students from Georgia Tech University. It was funded by the US Air Force and has now formed into the company, TechJect.

Interesting fact: This little bug has spy capabilities, which can provide information as it hovers over its target. It is also the first small robot that can produce aerial photography and is tiny enough to fit in a person’s pocket. The development of this robot dragonfly is one to keep an eye on for the future.


Davis , S. (2013, May 02). Robobees take first flight.

Retrieved from Dvorsky, G. (2013, March 29). Engineers build the first robot ant society.

Retrieved from Flynn, S. (2012, December 26). Big buzz surrounds micro-robots.

Retrieved from Harvard School of Engineering. (n.d.). Robobees a convergence of body, brain and colony. Retrieved from

Hopkinson, T. (2012, April 19). Synapses on fire. Retrieved from

McMillan, G. (2013, April 03). Scientists build robotic ant colony that learns from each other. Retrieved from

Ratti , J. (2012). Techject company. Retrieved from

Section 2

Jodi Heller

OK Go’s Rube Goldberg Machine

Some of you might be familiar with the band OK Go because of their over-night sensation “Here it goes Again.” For those of you that are not so familiar, they became widely popular for creating a securitized sensation with the use of treadmills in their music video back in the early 2000’s. This single-shot home video put this band on the map, making it possible for them to create yet another popular music video, “This too shall pass.”

OK Go wanted to create another masterpiece staying true to what made them popular in the first place. They wanted to recreate that dance they had with their machines. To help them recreate their vision they hired a team of people from Syyn Labs – an LA based company – that has been known for their surprising tech projects. The concept behind the video was a large-scale version of a Rube Goldberg Machine. Think of the board game Mouse Trap, where this large complicated machine is built to complete a small task.

Before going in to this project there where some demands that the band had for this machine. One being, that there would be no “magic.” It had to come off as readable or that a mother could understand what was going on. They wanted it to make great use of space, so that’s what they did. The warehouse that was rented was used fully and even had a hole dug so that the camera could be placed. Also the machine had to flow with the music as it played, making sure to hit certain beats along the way. Doing this would also able them to provide live audio of the contraption into the song itself. As simple as all this sounds it’s by no means a simple task. Everything had to be perfect! The temperature needed to be controlled and there was dusting done regularly. They found that the smaller objects were harder to control, so they left them in the beginning that way if something went awry they wouldn’t have to reset the whole machine all over again.

There were eighty-nine interactions that all had to be executed perfectly for this one-take shot. If something missed or a marble flew off in the wrong direction they would have to reset everything. The reset alone took over an hour to set up and there where over eight five takes with only three of those retakes complete. You can get the idea how intense it was to make sure everything was perfect.

The group learned a lot of things along the way, mostly, to be patient. With over a hundred trips to Home Depot under their belt, ten TV’s destroyed and two pianos smashed to oblivion they finally completed their version of a Rube Goldberg Machine. Even though I am not the biggest fan of this bands music I do look forward to see what they will come up with next and it all really makes me miss those days when MTV really stood for music videos.

Tweney, D. (March 2010). How OK Go’s amazing Rube Goldberg Machine was built. Retrieved from

n.n. (April 2010). Adam Sadowsky engineers a viral music video. [Video file]. Retrieved from


Benjamin Thompson

          The Kraken, 4,177 feet long, 65 miles per hour, 7 inversions and a 144 foot drop. A steel roller coaster located at Sea Word Orlando. This is not a ride for the faint of heart. But how does it work? What goes into making this thrill ride even possible? Physics, and a whole lot of it. Beginning with the lift, gaining potential energy to push you in to the next maneuver… vertical loop, a twist, or a drop, all requires physics to build these extreme thrill experiences. Let me walk you through what it takes to make this ride a possibility.

As you ascend the lift, you are generating potential energy. At the top of the lift you have gained the energy you need in order to complete the first maneuver. But the tricky part is what is too much? And what is not enough? And all of that is dependent upon what is next.

Oh it’s a drop that leads into a full loop! You scream as you race down 144 feet going directly into a large vertical loop, and for that split second your whole world is turned completely upside down. During the drop you gather kinetic energy, energy that is put into play as you move right into the next maneuver. Enough energy to make sure that can complete a full loop with out sliding back the way you came. How is this possible? What would have happened if you had been going too fast? Or not fast enough?

Roller coasters utilize the principle of gravity and inertia as their primary power source to power them through the entire length of track. As we know gravity pulls us down and when you have the kinetic energy and inertia behind you, you are able to pull up against gravity. Once the RV hits the “gravity zone” you have an object that follows Newton’s 1st law, an object in motion tends to stay in motion. The object in this case is the ride vehicle and designers utilize the tracks to channel and direct this motion.

If we were to do this we would need to factor in the height of the lift, the mass and weight of the RV, the resistance from the track the height and the angle of the loop. Engineers and ride designers have spent countless hours running scenarios and creating simulations, punching the numbers to make sure that it works perfectly. Sounds easy right?

So, who gets to design these gravity defying machines? What would you need to do to become a roller coaster engineer and designer? As you can imagine, roller coaster engineer positions are few and far between. In order to be considered for a position with Bolliger & Mabillard (the company that designed the Kraken) you must have a Masters degree in structural, mechanical or electrical engineering. This is true for most companies; in short you need, the education, the experience and the connections, not an easy list. But with the many different companies that design roller coasters the requirements and responsibilities vary on each project so its important to make sure your prepared for anything.

Harris, T. (n.d.). How Roller Coasters Work. How Stuff Works . Retrieved July 28, 2013, from

Kraken – SeaWorld Orlando (Orlando, Florida, USA). (n.d.). Roller Coaster DataBase. Retrieved July 28, 2013, from

Roller-Coaster Designer What they do . (n.d.). College Foundation of North Carolina . Retrieved July 28, 2013, from

Magloff, L. (n.d.). What Is Needed to Be a Roller Coaster Designer? . eHow. Retrieved July 28, 2013, from

Kraken Front Seat on-ride HD POV Seaworld Orlando. (2010, November 20). YouTube . Retrieved July 28, 2013, from

Section 3


Section 1

Edward “Edward” Wade

Fantastic Speeds And Holding Power That We Don’t Notice: Gravity At Work

     It’s amazing when you think about the facts that we live on a planet that revolves around it’s axis and also revolves around the sun at super speeds yet we don’t notice it at all.

I have been on rides at the state fair and when those rides go around I feel the effects of movement. Some of us get queasy and others get downright sick. The point is that we are moving and we know it. We feel the effects of the ride and it’s not moving very fast in comparison with the earth. So it seems strange that we don’t pay any attention to some astronimical speeds that are taking place right under our noses.

Let’s start with how fast the earth is moving around the sun. That would be just a little faster than your car you drive everyday…just kidding, I wanted to make sure you weren’t sleep yet. The speed is actually 67,062 miles per hour around the sun and at that speed it still takes a year for the earth to go around the sun once.

Now let’s see how fast the earth is spinning around it’s axis. Would you believe that right now while you are reading this article that you are spinning around at 1040 miles an hour or another way to look at would be 465 meters every second

Those speeds should cause you to wonder why we have not all been thrown off the earth and into space, because there is a force that wants to do exactly that to you, but there is a stronger force that wants to keep you on the ground and that force is gravity.

In my understanding gravity has to do with the pull that objects big or small have on each other. The moon travels around the earth instead of crashing into it. The earth travels around the sun instead of crashing into it. We are able to walk on the earth instead of flying off of it or being pulled into it.

To me this means that the earths gravitational pull against the sun is strong enough to keep it going around it instead of into it or away from it, the same can be said about the relationship between the earth and the moon, as well as the earth and you.

In other words there is a perfect balance out there where things big and small stay where they are supposed to stay because they play tug of war with each other and always come to a tie…nobody really wins and nobody really looses. No I am speaking in general and just dealing with the sun, the earth, and us because i know sometimes there are winner and loosers and bodies go crashing into each other all of the time. In our dealings however, day by day we get the ties and nobody wins or looses. But at the same time to the curious mind some interesting questions can be asked. There are a million questions we can come up with but lets just consider one that nobody would ever pay attention to.

For example when you look at one of those white dandelions that has those delicate little seeds sticking out from it and they fly all over the place when a strong wind comes up, you have to wonder how they can even stay on there in the first place with us travelling 67,062 miles per hour around the sun and spinning at 1040 miles per hour. I told you that you never considered it before. Its a good question to ponder and cause you to think though isn’t it.

Well the same force of gravity that cause you to not notice those awesome speeds and the effects of the winds it must cause is the same force that is working on that dandelion. You don’t feel the force of the fast speeds or the rotation because there is a balance between you and the earth caused by gravity. It’s fascinating to think that there is a balance between the gravitational force of the planet earth and a delicate dandelion.

It’s amazing that gravity keeps on trucking along doing its work, day in and day out without you or I even noticing it or having to help it along. It is steady and continuously does its job perfectly every day and I am happy about that because I would hate the unknown that would come from an erratic gravity that sometimes took the day off. Then one day you could throw your baby up in the air and she comes back down into your loving arms, but the next day she floats off into space and explores the Milky May for all eternity.

Gravity…you’ve got to love it.


Section 2

Timothy Merola

            Out of the all of the “impossible” feats in the world, from social media to science, telepathy and mind reading have always been up for debate if it is “believable” and feasible.  With such television shows, like Long Island Medium, and street magicians trying to figure out what card you picked, the idea behind true telepathy and mind reading can either be considered as a joke or an actual ability one can have.

After reading the article, Mind Reader, by Duncan Graham-Rowe, he gives the scientific insight on how telepathy and mind reading could be an actual reality.  He brings light into the idea of tapping into the other parts of your brain to “eavesdrop” on the other inner thoughts of another.  He goes over Hans Berger, a 1924 German doctor, who invented a creation, the electroencephalogram, to place electrodes on a person’s skull to read endless neurons within their brain (Graham-Rowe).  In other words, Berger created an object that could accurately read countless thoughts a person has that they have never spoken aloud to another person.

Since earlier discoveries, there were other scientists that used Berger’s idea, but re invented them as technology and science itself evolved.  Some used his ideas, and others took those ideas and studied them from a completely different angle.  Phillip Kennedy, a neuroscientist in 2008, focused more so on the idea of focusing only the speech -involved parts of the human brain (Graham- Rowe).  In the thought here, a person’s motor cortex is the main focus.  Kennedy believed that using all of the signals the motor cortex muscles within the brain to find what a person says before it reaches their mouth (Graham-Rowe).  Either idea these men had could work in finding an actual way to read one’s mind; it just depends on what it factual behind the true idea of telepathy.

With all of the different possibilities telepathy and mind reading have, one could begin to wonder: “Would I really want to read the mind of someone sitting next to me?”  In today’s society, everyone always wants to rack the brain of an ex- lover to see if they cheated, or get the teacher’s answers, but would they always want that power to actually know everything.  In a video with Dr. Kaku, he speaks about all the possible benefits of telepathy and what it could do, but also goes into if you would actually want to know if someone is telling you the truth or creating lie for you to here.

As technology and science begin to evolve from what they are today, there will always be the question as to if the idea is folly or feasible.  Since all of the different discoveries behind telepathy, the possibility of finding a true way to read someone’s mind could become a great scientific opportunity.  It could answer to question if psychics are actually using another part of their brain to really read your mind, or if they are just trying to make another dollar off an unsuspecting customer.


Graham-Rowe, D. (2011). Mind readers. New Scientist, 210(2814), 40-43.

Dr. Kaku Video:

Section 3

Tyler “Ty” Hamilton

Quantum Entanglement

In quantum physics there is a mystery reaction known as quantum entanglement, Albert Einstein called it spooky action at a distance. It is when two exceptionally small units like electrons or photons become quantumly entangled causing the two now paired units to re-act to stimulus occurring to one of them no matter the distance, this also happens at near or at instant regardless of distance.

To better explain this lets create a scenario: you have atom A and atom B. They are artificially entangled and then separated. Atom A stays on Earth but atom B is brought out one AU away from the Earth. Light will take about eight minutes to reach atom B from the earth.  Atom A is spun in the upward direction, at that instant atom B would take a relative state to atom A and spin down. Even though this was instant it would take some time for our current communication to beam back the results, this is actually one of the bigger expected uses for this study.

The hope is to take the randomness of atom spinning out of the equation and suspend entangled elements to transmit data. This would create instant communication no matter the distance. Imagine how much workspace probes and their scientists could do if there were not large latency times in communication. As an example NASA would be able to drive the Mars rover Curiosity in real time as if it were here on earth, not give it orders and hope that nothing goes wrong.

As exciting as this is scientists have been working on this problem for some time and are not close to solving this riddle, in fact it gets stranger the more they experiment with it. Physicists have been able to entangle two photons that are not in existence at the same time. Using a technique that is called “projection measurement” which is extremely complex to describe in the allotted format they create paired photons measure them, during the process the first set of photons are destroyed. After that another set is created the same way with the first and the fourth photon being exact opposites. This is repeatable and not random showing that the photons are entangled even though they didn’t exist at the same and the source entangled photon set is no longer in existence.

Although we have limited understanding of quantum physics and have only begun to take baby steps in its research we starting to use the information to create technology. D-Wave a small tech company has created a quantum processor that uses quantum bits that exist in an on or off state. These processors at the moment excel at certain tasks much better than other processors but for now the technology is still lacking. NASA and Google however have purchased the processor and have a joint project to research artificial intelligence with them.

I hope over the next few years both sets of technology are fully functional. As an artist using computer I would not be limited by processors, or the distance some one would be from me our a server of mine. I could render out content and deliver as fast as I could create it.

Tate Karl, How Quantum Entanglement works (Infographic), April 8 2013                                                                                                                                 Retrived from:

Sebastian Anthony, The first quantum entanglement of photons through space and time, May 24 2013                                                                         Retrived from:

Dr. Christer Shawn, QuantumPieBLog, What is quantumentanglement, December 29 2010                                                                                                Retrived from:

Real-Time Imaging of Quantum Entanglement                                                                                                                                                                                  Retrived from:

Kevin Griffith

Physics in Games


When I first decided to come to Full Sail I debated whether or not to go into the programming side of computer animation or the art side. Had I taken this class prior and know more about physics I wouldn’t have been so hesitant in my consideration. That and programmers, an average, get paid about twenty thousand more a year.


I chose the art side of the industry because I’m more visual than technical. As a web designer currently, I know what it’s like to start at code all day and it can be draining. But the allure of creating, what would be nature laws and phenomena’s in real life, in a digital realm is still there. Imagine having to write the coded properties of the physics of fire. How it burns, propagates, migrates and dies out. Being the person that writes the code for gravity, weight and run speeds that players are going to be bound by as they take control of a world you created. With the inclusion of artificial intelligence for non-playable characters this is as close as playing God as one can get.


According to Arnason, Pong started physics in videogames back in 1972.  There’s still a debate on whether this was the first video game ever made but it’s a basic example of potential and kinetic energy in motion. I remember when I was younger playing games and shooting the enemy and knowing that my bullets rarely ever missed. I found out later that it wasn’t my skill it was that there were, at that time, no actual projectiles being launched from weapons. It was a simple algorithm that calculated a hit or miss. Now coders actually have to write in projectiles with varying weights, velocity, speed, and gravitational factors so my bullets now act as closely as they would in real life.


It would be impossible in this day and age to sell a video game that didn’t utilize physics in some way. It’s an unspoken, unseen law of how we interact and view things in an interactive space. Even something as simple as Pac-Man with random and predetermined paths for the ghost had to add in acceleration and potential energies every time Pac-Man ate an “energizer” then ran around eating ghosts and their eyes ran back to the safe area.


My favorite example of physics in a game is a mode in Saint’s Row called Insurance Fraud. Basically the game allows you to be a ragdoll and throw yourself in front of cars with the gravity settings turned down a bit for hilarious results (and money). Havok is a company that most videogame companies use to create these types of physics on people. They have been around for over a decade and are quietly responsible for what happens to a body once it’s been shot and killed, exploded or even thrown out a window. If you need a physics engine Havok is the most trusted.


Collision and ragdoll physics are the main two I have been talking about here but thee are so many other factors that go into delivering a working world in a video game. Things like particle effects that emulate water, gases and fire, deformation physics that allow objects to break and bend realistically and soft body physics along with that that allow for the transfer of kinetic energies to move and move through an object. It is safe to say and very obvious if you know what to look for that physics plays a major role in the video game scene and isn’t going anywhere.


References:, Average 2012 US Dev Salary, Eddie Makuch


Evolution of Physics in Video Games, Bjarni Por Arnason, Understanding Pac-Man Ghost Behavior, Chad Birch



Section 1

Clayton Allen

My Ride To Work Is More Scientific Than Yours

     So how many wheels does it take you to get to work? Rain or shine; night or day, it only takes me two wheels. Since I started learning to ride a motorcycle I discovered there is significantly more science involved when it comes to operating a motorcycle as opposed to a car. Make no mistake; a car does indeed have some scientific principles to it. A motorcycle however, has a whole lot more.

Here is an interesting concept to get us started, motorcycles can stay vertical (straight up-and-down) on their own. This is true only when the motorcycle is traveling at certain speeds. Generally the common motorcycle tire has a rounded contact patch meaning the tires are rounded instead of flat like the tires commonly found on cars. So at a dead stop the bike would simply fall over (which is very bad by the way). As the wheels of the motorcycle go round-and-round they create a rotating mass. As rotating mass goes faster and faster more force (also referred to as torque) is needed to change the direction of its rotation. So if you examine a motorcycle in motion, unless the motorcycle is leaning in one direction or another the wheels are rotating in a vertical direction. The rotating mass of the two wheels is enough to keep the moving motorcycle vertical (Hackworth). Another way to keep the motorcycle vertical at all times would be to install a twelve inch wide tide tire like the ones on a Corvette on the front and back of the motorcycle. But this would reduce stability while turning (and look incredibly funny at the same time) and make the motorcycle good for driving in a straight line only.

Want to know a cool way to feel rotating mass for yourself? Take a bicycle wheel and hold each side of the axle in both hands. Now have a friend spin the wheel as fast as they can while you hold it. As the wheel spins change the vertical angle of the wheel. You will feel the rotating mass of the wheel offer resistance as you apply a change in the direction of the rotating mass. This is also referred to as force or torque. At this time, it’s okay to admit that was a pretty cool miniature science experiment.

Aside from how incredibly therapeutic it can be to operate a motorcycle, there are some interesting physics behind my daily commute. I am more specifically referring to the physics involved in turning a motorcycle. Some of the physics involved almost seem counter intuitive. For example, in a car if you wanted to steer your car left you would turn the steering wheel to the left. On a motorcycle this isn’t exactly the case. If I am traveling slow enough; for example moving my motorcycle around the driveway in the front of my house, I can use the same principle of steering a car uses (right for right – left for left). At higher speeds the story now changes to using quite the opposite mentality (right for left – left for right). The technique I am referring to is called “counter-steering” (Hackworth).

Okay, ready for yet another cool miniature science experiment? I thought so. Clear off enough space on your desk for both hands. Now take the side of your left hand and place it on the desk with your left thumb pointed straight up and your fingers straight (Act like your going to Ninja chop your desk). Now take the side of your right hand and place it directly in front of your left. Okay this is the same principle, as motorcycles trust me. For the first part of our experiment we are going to pretend like our “Hand-Harley” needs to turn left. Try turning the direction of your right hand and fingers to the left (making almost a 45 degree angle), and then lean both hands to the left. You will notice that it seems impossible to lean your “Hand-Harley” to the left, which prevents you from taking a left turn around your physics homework. Now this time turn the right hand and fingers to the right (making almost a 45 degree angle) and lean both hands to the left. You should notice that now the “Hand-Harley” will lean to the left and you’ve safely turned left around your physics homework (good job!).

What essentially just did was recreate using force or torque to manipulate the rotating mass of the “Hand-Harley” allowing us lean the motorcycle and generate cambered thrust (Hackworth). Now stay with me because I am getting the punch line of a motorcycle actually turns.

Remember when I mentioned putting a Corvette tire on the front and back of the motorcycle? Okay now picture a motorcycle with two really wide Corvette tires trying to turn. There is a ton of rotating mass in effect here but the problem is the Corvette tires have a very flat shape and more than likely not want to lean to one side or the other easily. Even if they did, at this point you be riding on the sidewall of the tires instead of the tread (the part intended for touching the ground). Essentially, you could turn this motorcycle just like a car, but good luck staying on it during sharp turns.

Like I mentioned earlier motorcycle tire are rounded instead of flat. This means that even if you are leaning in either direction during a turn the contact patch is still as good as if you are in the vertical position. This means, not sacrificing grip, which keeps you from flying of the road. So in essence the center most part of the motorcycle tires are farther away from the rotating axis than the very edge of the tread on the right or left sides. This creates what is known as the “cone-effect” (Hackworth).

This leads us to our last miniature science project. Take a cone shaped object like and ice-cream cone or the cone shaped part of your pen and place its side on your desk. Now push it. The cone should travel in a circular motion with the narrowest part of the cone staying in the center. This is essentially what happens to the physics involved in turning the motorcycle

So there you have it folks, I have taken the coolest form of transportation and turned into an episode of “Bill Nye, The Science Guy”. Now get out there and ride a real motorcycle, be sure to where a helmet.

Works Cited

Hackworth, M. (n.d.). The Physics of Motorcyles. Retrieved 04 27, 2013, from Motorcycle Jazz:

Section 2

Natasha “Tasha” Combs

Physics and the Euthanasia Rollercoaster

Rollercoasters gained their popularity purely for entertainment. From ice slides to scenic train routes to complex rides at major amusement parks, they were made to give its passengers a beautiful view while safely giving them a sensation of fear and excitement. There is a rollercoaster, although, that was designed to not only give it’s passengers a joyful thrill, but to end their lives as well. This coaster, named the Euthanasia Coaster, used physics in order to achieve this suffocating kill machine.

Euthanasia Rollercoaster, with a 7,544 meter track length, begins with a 2-minute scenic lift to reach a 510-meter apex. The slow, smooth ride helps them adapt to the height and gives them plenty of time to reflect on their past. Most importantly, this time lets them contemplate their choice to commit suicide before they relax and push the button to continue. When pushed, the train will drop 500 meters for 10 seconds. At this point, the train will be moving at 360 kilometers per hour almost reaching it’s terminal velocity. A Peregrine Falcon, renowned for being the fastest member of the animal kingdom, dives an average of this speed when diving for its prey. If you’re feeling nauseous already, the ride isn’t over. The track then flattens and speeds into the first of its seven inversions. Each loop has a smaller diameter than the one before it. This keeps a constant 10g to the passengers while the speed decreases. After about 3 minutes, the train then turns right 180 degrees to a managing station. The corpses can then be unloaded and the new passengers can board.

The few surviving passengers will then take a – gotcha! This ride is, actually, virtually impossible to survive. Even the best-trained pilots who are accustomed to extreme g-force conditions will die before going into the third loop. The seven loops keep 10g on the passenger for 60 full seconds. This causes a loss of oxygen to the brain, or medically known as cerebral hypoxia. The symptoms related to this extreme g-force exposure begin with a grey-out, or a loss of vision similar to the dimming of light and color through tunnel vision.  You then lose your hearing and vision completely  and your body becomes numb to reach a peaceful state. A g-force induced loss of consciousness, called G-LOC, occurs and vivid dreams begin. Cerebral anoxia then takes place, which is when the brain is completely deprived of oxygen, and you die. The additional loops serve as insurance, for impossibly bizarre situations, that there wouldn’t be any unintentional survivors because the effect on the passenger’s body would be traumatic to anyone who witnessed.

This rollercoaster, created by Julijonas Urbonas, was only made into a 1:1000 scale prototype. While other rollercoaster designers use physics to create a safe and smooth experience, Urbonas used potential energy and kinetic energy along with various formulas in order to achieve the right speed, dimensions, and duration of the ride for the passengers to reach death in the most pleasant way.

The most desirable way to die for most people is to unknowingly pass in your sleep, but if this Euthanasia Coaster were an option, which would you choose?

Please watch this short 3-minute video to see the scaled model:


Doctorow, Cory. (2011). Euthanasia Coaster: Assisted Suicide by Thrills. BoingBoing.

Retrieved from

Dmitry. (2011). Euthanasia Coaster. DesignYouTrust.

Retrieved from

Enchelmeyer, Amy. (2011). Suicide by Roller Coaster. Discovery.

Retrieved from

Urbonas, Julijonas. (2011). Euthanasia Coaster. JulijonasUrbonas.

Retrieved from

Section 3

Kevin Griffith

Physics in Games

When I first decided to come to Full Sail I debated whether or not to go into the programming side of computer animation or the art side. Had I taken this class prior and know more about physics I wouldn’t have been so hesitant in my consideration. That and programmers, an average, get paid about twenty thousand more a year.

I chose the art side of the industry because I’m more visual than technical. As a web designer currently, I know what it’s like to start at code all day and it can be draining. But the allure of creating, what would be nature laws and phenomena’s in real life, in a digital realm is still there. Imagine having to write the coded properties of the physics of fire. How it burns, propagates, migrates and dies out. Being the person that writes the code for gravity, weight and run speeds that players are going to be bound by as they take control of a world you created. With the inclusion of artificial intelligence for non-playable characters this is as close as playing God as one can get.

According to Arnason, Pong started physics in videogames back in 1972.  There’s still a debate on whether this was the first video game ever made but it’s a basic example of potential and kinetic energy in motion. I remember when I was younger playing games and shooting the enemy and knowing that my bullets rarely ever missed. I found out later that it wasn’t my skill it was that there were, at that time, no actual projectiles being launched from weapons. It was a simple algorithm that calculated a hit or miss. Now coders actually have to write in projectiles with varying weights, velocity, speed, and gravitational factors so my bullets now act as closely as they would in real life.

It would be impossible in this day and age to sell a video game that didn’t utilize physics in some way. It’s an unspoken, unseen law of how we interact and view things in an interactive space. Even something as simple as Pac-Man with random and predetermined paths for the ghost had to add in acceleration and potential energies every time Pac-Man ate an “energizer” then ran around eating ghosts and their eyes ran back to the safe area.

My favorite example of physics in a game is a mode in Saint’s Row called Insurance Fraud. Basically the game allows you to be a ragdoll and throw yourself in front of cars with the gravity settings turned down a bit for hilarious results (and money). Havok is a company that most videogame companies use to create these types of physics on people. They have been around for over a decade and are quietly responsible for what happens to a body once it’s been shot and killed, exploded or even thrown out a window. If you need a physics engine Havok is the most trusted.

Collision and ragdoll physics are the main two I have been talking about here but thee are so many other factors that go into delivering a working world in a video game. Things like particle effects that emulate water, gases and fire, deformation physics that allow objects to break and bend realistically and soft body physics along with that that allow for the transfer of kinetic energies to move and move through an object. It is safe to say and very obvious if you know what to look for that physics plays a major role in the video game scene and isn’t going anywhere.

References:, Average 2012 US Dev Salary, Eddie Makuch

Evolution of Physics in Video Games, Bjarni Por Arnason, Understanding Pac-Man Ghost Behavior, Chad Birch

Section 4

Angel “Angel” Williams

Ever wonder how the mind perceived 3D motion.   Begin able to perceive 3D motion is critical in today’s world and is definitely needed when watching those 3 dimensional movies.  Now that I have done some research I found out some very interesting things.   There has been some test to determine how the mind perceived 3d motion, and because of the test neuroscientist have realized that they have overlooked a part of the brain that they have studied over and over again. They figured this out by using a specially developed computer display and an functional magnetic resonance imaging machine to scan the brain.

By using the FMRI they found that behind the left an right ear is where the processing for the 3-D motion occurs. This is an area in which was thought to be only responsible for the processing of two-dimensional motion.  This area is better known as the Middle Temporal area or MT.   Much has already been studying about the MT but never to a point to where they are now in knowing that 3-D motion takes place there as well. The study that was conducted involved people having to watch 3-D visualizations while lying motionless for one or two hours.  They actually had to lay in an MRI scanner that was fitted with a customized projection system.

What was revealed once all the information was collected neuroscientist found that the MT area had very intense neural activity. The intense activity would come when objects moving toward or away from the participants eyes.  What was seen on the FMRI were colorized images of the activity going on in the participants brain. The Mt area would be a bright blue color. The test also showed how the Middle Temporal area actually processed 3-D motion. What the MT does is it simultaneously encodes two types of cues coming from the moving objects.  Have you ever realized what happens when you close your left eye and the right eye back and fourth?? The objects you are looking at appear to jump back and fourth. This happens due to what is known as Binocular disparity.  Binocular disparity is the mismatch between what the left and the right eyes see.  When an object moves the brain calculate the changes in this mismatch over time.

At the same time an object that is speeding directly toward the eyes you will notice that the eyes will move across the left eyes retina from right to left and the right eyes retina from left to right.   What the brain is doing is using both of these ways to help the viewer to perceive 3-D motion.  The brain basically sees the change in position and opposite motions one both eyes. Its very neat how it all comes together in the end.

I thought this was interesting to know and that it connected into what I want to do so its good to know these type of things.  To be able to know how the brain functions is an amazing thing.


Austin, Texas. (2009, July 21) Brains Center for Perceiving 3D Motion Is Identified.

Section 5

Angela “Ang” Ramirez

Physics and the Video Game World


When you think of video games, you typically won’t immediately start thinking about physics and how they work in them. Typically when I think of “physics” I think of motion and not everything else it entails. In our world, physics is everything, from light, gravity, to sound. The same physics can be applied to a world that isn’t our own and within a computer or gaming console. Even a game like Pong used physics, though it was on a very simple level. These days, as games are getting more and more advanced, it enables game developers to create games that offer an even more realistic experience.


Unlike back when Pong released, we now have physics engines such as Havok and the Math engines that help bring real life physics into the virtual world. Without these, we would be running through walls or even floating above the ground instead of having our virtual feet planted firmly on our polygonal ground. Many companies use their own custom-built physics engine’s yet that can cause many problems. In my own experience while playing the Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion, I would walk into a room and every single object within it would literally fly every which way in the room, as if I released a grand Jedi force push that made everything go flying. Oblivion’s physics were created via the Havok engine so even the top of the line physics engine’s are not immune to bugs present within the game.


When playing Grand Theft Auto IV, I found myself completely amused by everything that would happen within the world. The fact I would go flying through my windshield when I crashed head-first into another car made me laugh and it brought a whole new level of fun at the expense of poor Niko Bellic. The engine that let this be possible was the Bullet Physics Library created by Erwin Coumans. It even allowed a poor policeman’s hand to get stuck in a door from a car I had stolen where I then dragged him along for at least a yard. Adding that level of realism immerses you so much more into the game that you can tend to lose yourself in it.

Physics is also used for lighting (called Optics in physics) in games. They use Optics to figure out how a scene in a game might look when lit up. They can figure out what angles glassy surfaces might reflect at, how it would bend on water, and whether or not surfaces will reflect off each other and to what degree. Optics also lets them figure out what parts and surfaces are intensely lit and how different textures and materials absorb or even give off light. This helps them to be able to show off different objects with supposed different textures such as a smooth or grungy surface.


When it comes to movement, or Kinetics, game developers can now take into account, the air resistance, gravity and even the impact from bullets. In Guild Wars 2, the simple moving of the characters is taken in to account. The larger beings called the Norn, seem to run very slowly as they are much larger, while the smaller creatures called Asura seem to run extremely fast. It is all a trick to our eyes, the Norn and Asura run at the same speed just they look like they’re moving at different ones.


Many sciences go into making games when you really think hard about it, which I really don’t like to do, I just want to use my mind to create and utilize what I know as common sense to make something explode in a certain way or make sure I’m not floating in mid air or making every object in the room seem to explode. We all know our favorite games’ bugs and oddly enough we typically find humor in them as we know that wouldn’t happen in reality, just like we wouldn’t be able to turn a corner at 200mph in a car yet the developers let us do that so we can escape reality, which is what the majority of us playing games want to do in the first place.

Guild Wars 2 (c) ArenaNet/NCSoft

Grand Theft Auto IV (c) Rockstar Games

Elder Scrolls IV: Oblivion (c) Bethesda Game Studios

Section 6

Andrew Stombaugh

There are many topics in the realm of physics that draw debate about their feasibility or actuality, but no topic intrigues me quite as much as the topic of time-travel. Since starting Fundamentals of Physics, my interest in the topic has grown much deeper and has lead me to research more on my own as to how – or if – such an innovation is possible. While there is plenty of science journals to back their research of being for or against time travel, I’d prefer to call upon modern filmography to see how scientists and artists alike view the concept of time travel as this may help make the topic seem more realistic or even show that maybe our belief of what time travel represents has been warped by science fiction.


For now, let us study a recent example of some “groundbreaking” time-travel related material. In this article for the National Geographic, writer Ker Than covers Iranian scientist Ali Razeqi’s discovery of a way to see into the future. Not traveling through time as Marty McFly did, but rather bringing the future to the user. The idea behind this machine does defy the known laws of physics as they pertain to time travel, but it also lends itself to a discussion about how we could, if at all, successfully travel through time.


While it is not entirely likely that we will ever be able to bring the future to us, given that the future has yet to be created, it is actually possible to travel into the future to some degree. In the article, theoretical physicist Thomas Roman explains how this is possible. By traveling faster than the speed of light or by orbiting the black hole at the center of our galaxy, we can effectively slow our time in relation to the time of those on Earth. This idea of time being relative is one that Einstein studied endlessly and is ultimately one of the biggest factors to consider when discussing time travel.


However, traveling to the past is an entirely new monster to deal with, one sizeable enough that there are only several thousand theories on how to pull off such a feat. There is one particular concept that I would like to focus on to narrow down the (un)likeliness of this subject – the effects the traveler has on his or her current, past, and future times as well as all of the people he/she has ever encountered. This is about the time where I lose any and all ambitions that could ever lead me to believe time travel – in the theory that we as a culture perceive it to be – is or could ever be possible.


In J.J. Abrams previous adaptation of Star Trek, the topic of time travel comes up as a Romulan by the name of Nero attempts to travel back to the past to gain vengeance against his adversary, Spock, by destroying his home planet and thus causing Spock to cease to exist. This is where things become confusing, as Nero’s home planet of Romulus has already been destroyed and going back in time to destroy Spock’s home planet of Vulcan would effectively change the future, or current the current time period within the movie. If Nero does manage to make it back to the past and destroy Vulcan, what effect does this have on the inhabitants of the planet as well as those who have visited or known a Vulcan? What of Spock? Does he simply vanish from his current timeline as a result of the changing of his past?


How is it that the realities of billions of individuals could suddenly change – or in the case of the Vulcans, disappear – in the moment following Nero’s successful destruction of Vulcan? We cannot simply travel back in time and make a modification to the fabric of time without these changes having a profound effect on everyone’s reality and history.  Suddenly, Spock and the entire population of Vulcan no longer exist, but the timeline never stops. Now we’ve encountered the issue of how these changes occur. Does Vulcan suddenly disappear from space? Does it slowly vanish along with all of its past and current inhabitants and fade from existence? Either way, all of these changes cannot occur without the realities of unrelated individuals changing, even to a less dramatic degree.


However, if the universe does in fact branch off into rivers of time, how do we know which river we’re currently in? Perhaps we exist in multiple rivers and these changes only occur to us in one particular river. If I travel back in time to meet my future mother and end up forgetting my iPhone on the counter of a local bar, what happens to the phone? Does it now exist in two timelines or just in the past timeline? Could someone end up playing Angry Birds before it ever existed in our current time? These sort of paradoxes are what make the legitimacy of time travel seem so skewed and are only harder to understand as a reality after watching several years worth of filmography where the laws of physics have no reason to define any feasible solutions. In science fiction, an aspect of creativity that has firm roots within our culture, anything is possible.


I find it hard to discuss this topic without raising more questions than answers. However, I suppose if this weren’t true I would not have as much interest in learning more on the concept of time travel outside of my Fundamentals of Physics class. What makes physics so intriguing to me is not the study of the known, but rather the unknown and sometimes even the theoretically impossible. As an artist and an aspiring Computer Animator, I understand that using a balanced mix of both known and unknown is key to creating a convincing yet mesmerizing universe for my viewers, as so many great artists have done before me.



Ker Than (2013). Iranian Scientist Claims to Have Built “Time Machine”. Retrieved April 27, 2013 from


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

Roach, J. (2012, February 01). Railgun tech takes a step towards warship reality. Retrieved from

Cummings, C. (2012, March 13). Navy begins testing electromagnetic rail gun, quake fans salivate. Retrieved from

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.


  • 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.

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…

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…

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…


Kerbal Space Program



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

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,

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 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.

The History Channel (

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”

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 ( 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 (, 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 ( 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 (

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 (n.d.). Introduction to String Theory. Retrived from

Schwarz, Patricia. (n.d.). The Official String Theory Web Site. Retrieved from

Kaku, Michio. (7, December 2011). Michio Kaku explains String Theory. Retrieved from

Gorman, James. (6, Feburary 2013). Scientists Find Life in the Cold and Dark Under Antarctic Ice. Retrieved from

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

Section 1

Brandon “Wayne” Wolfe

It’s known by many names, The Super Collider, Euronimo, The Big Banger, I could go on for days, but its mainly known as LHC, The Large Hadron Collider. What is the purpose of this device? Is it as scary as it sounds? Well the short answer for both of those questions is ‘everything, and YES’.  It is the worlds Largest and highest-energy particle accelerator, and by far one of the most important pieces of scientific equipment ever designed. Its designed to put some steam behind some of the most extravagant theories, predictions, and hypothesizes in the scientific world. How important can it be? Well would you call something that potentially has been creating a new type of matter important? I would hope so since this device is giving us new means of discovery in science. With this device and the collaboration of over ten thousand scientists, we are finally able to do things that scientists only one hundred years ago would consider impossible. In as few as ten years we may know what particles behind gravity exists, and I don’t know what most people think, artificial gravity devices sound pretty darn cool. (Trafton, 2011) The way this device works sounds very science fiction itself, the device itself is contained inside a seventeen-mile tunnel, and operates at 7 teV ( 6*1018 electron volts, i.e., 6*106 TeV.) it collides particles together, smashing them at near the speed of light. As a result, it gives us a brief window into creation and gives us an idea of what particle creation was like during The Big Bang.  The importance of what is done by the scientists who run this device is so great. As of yet we have not had many discoveries that are truly groundbreaking from the LHC except for one, being considered possibly the most important discovery of our century, scientists may have actually discovered the Higgs Boson a.k.a. The God Particle. The Higgs Boson, being the main principle of the theory that puts weight behind the theory of how particles obtain mass, pun intended. With the potential discovery of this theoretical particle, it finally paints the picture of an energy field that exists everywhere in the universe interacting and attracting the Higgs Boson. (Thompson, 2012) Being able to understand the sludge that is dark matter, veritable gravy that slows down anything that interacts with the fore mentioned field.  Being able to decipher something like this could lead to further understanding about how gravity works, and could even help pave the way to being able to travel near the speed of light. Being a Science Fiction nerd myself, I cant help but get excited thinking about what secrets The LHC have to offer, every time the machine fires up and collides particles, I cant help but wonder if the universe is going to collapse in on itself, or open up and show us something that no one could ever conceive possible. If only one hundred years ago scientists would consider many discoveries this century impossible, imagine what could happen in the next one hundred years References Trafton, A. (2011, Nov 27). Unexpected data from the large hadron collider   suggest the collisions may be producing a new type of matter read more at: Thompson, N. (2012, July 16). What is the higgs boson and why is it important?. Retrieved from

Section 2

Ian “Ian Basnight” Basnight

In 1916 Albert Einstein predicted the first black hole in his general theory of relativity. Then in 1967 John Wheeler an American astronomer coined the term black hole. In 1971 the first black hole was found, and was named Cygnus X-1. They discovered eight new X-ray sources detected by rockets carrying Geiger counters. Black holes are just former stars created when they began to collapse in upon themselves. It is the last stage in a stars lifecycle, and normally they become white dwarfs or neutron stars. The gravitational pull of a black hole is so great that light is not able to escape. The final stage before the black hole is the giant star. During this time of a stars life they often detonate or explode into what is called a supernova. This massive explosion causes star to scatter, but leaves behind a cold remnant with no fusion. In the early life of a star nuclear fusion balance the inward pull, outward pressure and the energy that is created by the stars mass. Without force to oppose gravity the black hole shrinks zero volume, and there will be infinitely dense. Planets, light and other matter have to pass very close to get trap in the black holes gravitational pull, and scientists say when you get to that point called the “event horizon” it is impossible to get out of the black holes grasp. You will have to be able to moving faster than the speed of light to escape. Black holes are powerful but small, but are believed to be the center of some galaxies. Black holes are two million miles in radius, four times the size of our sun, and they are distant, dark, and cannot be directly observed. Black holes feed off nearby stars trying to grow and expand until the stars that surround the black hole are completely gone. The larger black holes are normally towards the center of some galaxies because there is so much matter for them to feed off of. They don’t have a limit of how much mater they can consume. They just simply become a lot more denser and there mass increase. These massive holes can or may have the mass of ten to one hundred billion suns. Microquasar is another type of black hole in the binary system with other stars. Due to this type of black hole the matter from other stars circle the black hole creating a disk. Accretion is a process when material from other star heats up as they fall into the hole. And during that process X ray is created, and a telescope that orbits the earth can detect this process in action. If you were to get caught in the gravitational pull of a black hole people would think it would suck you in, but it’s far from a vacuum. The gravity of the black hole would stretch you out and you would eventually fall in, but if a star were to get caught or just even passes to close it would get torn apart.

Section 3

Jeff Fuchs

Superhydrophobic Carbon Nanotube Forests/Arrays   Today I’m going to speak about my thoughts on superhydrophobic carbon nanotube forests/arrays and how in a very roundabout way it could come into play with computer animation in the future. When I started doing research on nano technology it was because I have had some history in working with it in the coatings industry. The company I work for has applied a solvent-based, two-component, zinc-rich epoxy nanocoating to aid in research and development, now I’m learning how to virtually coat objects at Full Sail University ( So how on earth could one be tied to the other? With extraordinary properties single-walled (SWNT’s) and multi-walled (MWNT’s) carbon nanotubes are a continued subject of research and development since their discovery in 1991 by Sumio Iijima. With the ability to grow nanotubes directly on substrates and individually functionalize them, synergistic effects can be created. Enter the world of a superhydrophobic surface formed from vertically aligned carbon nanotubes with a non-wetting polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) coating; a forest/array of carbon nanotubes. The forests/arrays can be understood by thinking of them like you would a lotus leaf. The lotus effect (self-cleaning effect) to put it quite simply repels water droplets that come in contact with it; the repelled water removes dust and other contaminants in the process. The lotus actually has a very rough surface which in turn allows air to be trapped underneath water droplets, they are basically resting on a layer of air. Now the real physics of this is there is a lot more surface area than there is rough surface area, which in turn means it would require more energy to create a liquid-solid interface. The surface area energy is by nature low making a liquid-solid interface virtually impossible, hence water will naturally repel.

Tesla Nanocoatings Inc. ( is a company passionate about the idea that we can conquer corrosion with nanocoatings. Todd Hawkins (Managing Director and Owner of Tesla Nanocoatings Inc.) is currently working with the superhydrophobic carbon nanotube forests/arrays technology in trying to create anti-fouling and drag reducing coatings for ships. Not being a scientist or physicist myself I see this helping two-fold, if I’m correct in my theory. First you are making ships travel more efficiently through water, that alone is a huge savings in both expense and the environment. Second the more water that is repelled in theory is less water that can cause corrosion to the steel substrate. I’m still not tied to computer animation, or am I? I saw a video from Industrial Light and Magic ( a while ago in regards to the water in the movie Battleship (

In computer animation physics is used quite frequently. As I mentioned when I started this would be very roundabout, but picture the superhydrophobic carbon nanotube forests/arrays technology really progressing not only to ship surfaces but to countless other substrates. Water along with other particles would react differently to various substrates; the visuals we see as real today could look less real or even fake tomorrow. That is an extreme look at the reality of where this technology can lead and how it relates to computer animation. Yet you only have to go back a decade in movies and games to see the progress of today and then imagine the future; science is truly awesome.   References N.A. (2012, May 29). Nanotubes and Buckyballs. Nanotechnology Now. Retrieved February 20, 2013, from Lau, K., Bico, J., Teo, K., Chhowalla, M., Milne, W., McKinley, G., Gleason, K. (2003). Superhydrophobic Carbon Nanotube Forests. MIT, Gareth McKinley’s Non-Newtonian Fluid Dynamics Research Group. Retrieved February 20, 2013, from N.A. (2012, October 2). Nanotube Coating Gets $100K R&D Boost. PaintSquare. Retrieved February 20, 2013, from   Section 4 Vincent Jackson Jr Magnet – a body that can attract certain substances, such as iron or steel, as a result of a magnetic field; a piece of ferromagnetic substance. ( History of magnets according to Conceptual Physical Science, 4thedition: The term magnetism comes from Magnesia, the name of an ancient city in Asia Minor, where the Greeks found certain very unusual stones more than 2000 years ago. These stones, called lodestones, possess the unusual property of attracting pieces of iron. Such magnets were first fashioned into compasses and used for navigation by the Chinese in the 12th century AD. All magnets have a magnetic force (it is the attraction of unlike magnetic poles for each other and the repulsion between like magnetic poles) and the strength of the magnetic force is dependent on the distance between the magnets. Likewise all magnetics also have a north and south poles depending on the shape of the magnet the location of the north and south poles in a regular bar magnet are situated at the two ends (breaking a magnet in half would result in two magnets and so forth.). In a magnet like poles repel while opposite poles attract. The north magnetic pole can’t exist without the south magnetic pole. The magnetic poles are like night and day they can’t exist without the other. Surrounding each magnet is an area of energy this area is called the magnetic field, the direction of the field is outward from the north pole to the south pole. Electrons in constant motion create the magnet, the motion of electric charge produces a magnetic field. The two types of electron motion that create magnetism are Electron Spin and Electron Revolution.  Electron Spin is an intrinsic property of electrons, the angular momentum of its magnetic field. All spinning electrons are tiny magnets. Electron’s spinning in the same direction generates a stronger magnet, while electrons spinning in the opposite direction cancels out the magnetic field.  ( Majority of iron objects are magnetized to a certain degree, using a compass one can easily identify their poles, but not every piece of iron is a magnet. Conceptual Physical Science, 4th Edition States: “The magnetic field of an individual iron atom is so strong that interactions among adjacent atoms cause large clusters of them to line up with one another. These clusters of aligned atoms are called magnetic domains.” In a common iron screw the domains are random, but when you bring a magnet nearby, the domains are induced into alignment. The domains align themselves (become polarized) when a magnet is present. After removing the screw from the magnet some or all the domains return to a random position. Magnet’s can be created by placing iron, or similar magnetic material in a strong magnetic field. Magnet’s can also be created by stroking a magnet against magnetic material, stroking the material with a magnet aligns the domains. For example: taking a plastic dish (representing the magnetic material/iron) preferably square and drop some needles (representing the domains of the magnet) in the dish. Each individual needle represents a domain (each end of the needle represents a pole: top is south and the pointer is north) right now they are all randomly scattered within the dish. Now take a magnet and move it around the dish and watch how the needles respond. By stroking the magnet (I assume back and forth) this aligns the domains turning the dish/magnetic material into a magnet. With the domains completely aligned all of the needles should be pointing in the same direction (hypothetically speaking) where the top is pointing to the south pole and the pointer are all pointing to the north. The magnet is used in everyday life we use them to leave notes on the refrigerator and heating food in the microwaves. Magnets are used to power trains, houses, vehicles, Technology that we use everyday, and in pseudoscience as healing mechanisms. Harnessed to make our everyday living easier, we as people have accomplished a lot throughout the years thanks to the magnet. I wonder what other secrets the magnet carries and how we will use them to evolve as a population in the near future. References: Conceptual Physical Science, 4th Edition, Chapter 9 magnetism and electromagnet induction, by Paul G. Hewitt, John A. Suchocki, and Leslie A. Hewitt. Published by Addison – Wesley. Copyright 2008 by Pearson Education, Inc. Magnet (n.d.) Retrieved February 24, 2013 from: What is the electron spin?, (n.d.) Retrieved February 24, 2013 from:

Electron Spin (n.d.) Retrieved February 24, 2013 from:

Sheree Gibson Nanotechnology Breakthroughs in Medicine Cancer has touched all our lives in someway or another; if it’s a loved one we have lost or a dear friend that could never be forgotten this insidious mutant has shown itself more often than not.  It is a biological disease that duplicates cell replication that is unique to the core of life.  Countless hours of research and billions of dollars in technology advances, treatments and hopefully a cure is in in the forecast. To date, chemistry has been one of the most effective approaches to combating cancer known as chemotherapy. It is a treatment of cytotoxic chemicals that kills cancer cells but it also kills healthy tissue as well.  What if we could deliver the drugs directly to the infected cancer cells with minimal to no damage to healthy tissue? It would be a scientific breakthrough! Well, it could very well be on its way and it’s a new generation of nanotech drugs. One of the reasons cancer has been so hard to treat effectively is because of the biological makeup of tumors that feed on oxygen and glucose from surrounding tissue which in turn promotes rapid cell replication and growth. Angiogenesis is the growth of new blood vessels, which is one of the main distinguishers of cancers. These blood vessels supply the tumors with the needed oxygen and nutrients to grow, because they are irregular and leaky and their walls are much larger than healthy blood vessels. Therefore, making it harder for chemotherapy drugs to penetrate into the tumor because by the time the drug has reached its destination the mononuclear phagocyte system (MPS), which is part of the body’s defense system against bacteria, viruses and protozoa. Our natural defense system begins to strip away at the drug and the payload of the drug is not as high as it was when it initially entered the body. So, how do we get an effective payload of chemotherapy drugs into the tumor? Nanotech drugs have been researched and leading the fight on cancer by approaching it from a physics standpoint. The problem is mass transport and fluid mechanics. The emerging field of transport oncophysics deals with the mass transport properties and time dynamics of the physical barrier to tumor drug delivery. At Harvard Medical School Rakesh Jain has done some ground work and suggests that those barriers are limited in the efficacy of some Nano medicines, because Nano medicines may get to the tumor peripheries via the EPR effect but never make it to the tumors core. Failing to provide significant drug delivery to the tumors core may lead to drug resistance. Nanoparticles can be designed to release their drug payload in direct response to an external stimulus like light, ultrasound, heat or magnetic field.  These elements in conjunction with the nanomaterial provide a more targeted approach to cells.  It provides a direct hit to the core or heart of the tumor, which will halt the growth of the abnormal cells. Two nanotech reformulations of chemotherapeutics, Abraxane, and Doxil, have been approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and are benefiting cancer patients. Many more anticancer Nano medicines are in clinical development, some based on very different principles than chemotherapy. Now Dennis Discher of the University of Pennsylvania along with his colleagues believe they have found a solution to delivering the drugs payload to the tumors core by attaching “safe” peptides to the drug delivery molecules. By attaching this 21 amino acid peptide base on the structure of CD47, a membrane protein the macrophages recognizes as safe. This allows transition throughout the bloodstream of the chemo drugs because four times as many Nano beads were able to get past the macrophage defense to reach the tumor. Nano medicines are proving to be very effective but not without varying side effects that can be fatally harmful due to the properties that make up nanomaterial. The chronic toxicity of many nanomaterial’s is still largely missing from the scientific equation. How do they adversely affect the human body over time? How safe are these methods really? These among other questions are still awaiting data.  Now, how do you feel about the use of nanomaterial to combat cancer?

Reference Cited

Isaac “MkICE” Kumeh

A pioneer in physics Today, I talk about a great legend named Dr. Robert C Richardson. On Tuesday Dr. Robert C Richardson, a physics professor at Cornell University died at the aged 75 in Ithaca N.Y. The cause of his death was because of a heart attack he had a couple of weeks before Tuesday; he still had complications after the heart attack. Dr. Richardson won the shared Nobel Prize of 1996 in physics for “coaxing a rare form of helium into a bizarre liquid state that had never been seen before” with David M. Lee, another physics professor, and Douglas D. Osheroff, stated by Kenneth Chang of the NY Times. The experiment that these three physicists created was also one of the first uses of nuclear magnetic resonance to generate images out of radio waves emitted by the atoms. Later on in his years, Dr. Richardson became a member of the National Science Board, the policy-making body of the National Science Foundation.  Robert Coleman Richardson was born on June 26, 1937, in Washington, the first child of Robert F. and Lois Price Richardson. Dr. Richardson attended Washington-Lee high school in Arlington. From what Dr. Richardson wrote, it seems as if Washington-Lee high school was too easy for him. I will quote Dr. Richardson’s precise words: “There was nothing exceptional about the math and science training at Washington-Lee.” Dr. Richardson went on to earn his bachelor’s degree in physics at Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Dr. Richardson admitted that he was not an especially diligent student but nevertheless obtained a reasonable education in physics. He graduated with a B average and fourth in a group of about nine physics majors. At the time, Dr. Richardson had other plans to go to business school with the aim of becoming a corporate executive.  Dr. Richardson served in the army for half a year instead of the usual two-year enlistment. He said that the brief time he spent there was a “great piece of good fortune” when “the army went short of money.” When he left the army, he was a bit soured on what he learned from the army. Everything he learned at the army almost caused him to forget what he knew about physics. Dr. Richardson decided to return to physics and graduate school, this time at the university of Duke. There at the university of Duke, he began to work on helium-3, which was then still a rare substance, a byproduct of the atomic age. Dr. Richardson was a very hardworking man. He worked for what he wanted to become, served his country, family, and himself. He is indeed a physicist legend. Everything he worked for was a great success. His dedication and determination drew people closer to him. He was very persistent and to know him was to like him. In 1966, Dr. Richardson moved to Cornell as a postdoctoral researcher and was promoted to assistant professor two years later. Dr. Richardson served the people and the places he lived and been. He served as Cornell’s first vice provost for research from 1998 to 2003 and was a member of the board at the university of Duke from 1997 to 2007. As you can see, Dr. Richardson was a well-respected man, father, and physicist. Though he is gone, his work will forever be remembered, as well as him. Reference: Kenneth Chang, “Robert C. Richardson, Laureate in Physics, Dies at 75” NY Times, February 22, 2013 Section 5

James “jimmy” Newkirk

Hello fellow readers, my topic for this post today is going to be about the recent possible discovery of the Higgs Boson particle aka the “God Particle”. Scientists working at the Large Hardon Collider in Geneva discovered this particle on July 4, 2012.  What is the Higgs Boson particle you ask? Well it is possibly the particle that is responsible for all the mass in the universe. Scientists believe that this particle was what caused the Big Bang to happen. When the scientists looked at the newly discovered particle it has a mass of about 126 billion electron volts so about 126 times the mass of a proton. According to one of the articles that I found scientists believe that if this particle is the Higgs Boson, then it has the mass to cause our universe to be unstable and it could cause the end of our universe billions of years from now. How does the Higgs Boson work? To explain that we have to delve into one of the most prominent theories in particle physics the standard model. The standard model was created in the early 1970’s. What is the standard model? It is a theory that breaks our universe down to its essential building blocks. Physicists figured out that our universe is compromised of 12 different matter particles and 4 forces. In the 12 particles you will find 6 quarks and 6 leptons; quarks make up protons and neutrons and Leptons have electrons and the electron neutrino which is its neutrally charged counterpart. The standard model also includes the 4 forces: gravity, electromagnetic, strong, and weak. So now that we know what the standard theory is we can now explain the mechanics behind the Higgs Boson. Scientists believe that each of the 4 elements in the standard model has a version of their own Higgs Boson a good example of this is given in one of my sources, “Electromagnetic fields, for instance, depend on the photon to transit electromagnetic force to matter. Physicists think the Higgs boson might have a similar function — but transferring mass itself.” – Jonathan Atteberry.  From this quote we can determine that the photon particle mediates the electromagnetic force inside of the electromagnetic field and turns it into matter, the Higgs Boson does the same thing inside of a Higgs Field but it mediates all the particles that pass through the Higgs Field and acquire mass. Where can we find Higgs Bosons? They travel in areas called Higgs Fields in the universe. What Happens in a Higgs Field? When the Higgs Bosons travel some particles get bogged down with mass and some do not, if the particle passes through the Higgs Field unscathed then it will travel around the universe at the speed of light. You are probably asking yourself, what does this mean for mankind? Well what this means for us if we can figure out how mass its self is created then we can solve many “unsolvable calculations” that we have ran into when we were trying to figure out the particles properties. I did mention that scientists said that this particle would spell out the eventual death of our universe, but luckily our future decedents will not even see this coming cause it will happen at the speed of light. If this newly discovered particle was just a few percent different then it wouldn’t spell out doom for our universe. wolchover, N. (2012, July 05). What is the higgs boson (‘god particle’ explained) . Retrieved from Moskowitz, C. (2012, July 04). New particle at world’s largest atom smasher is likely higgs boson. Retrieved from Atteberry, J. (n.d.). What exactly is the higgs boson. Retrieved from Moskowitz, C. (2013, February 19). Higgs boson particle may spell doom for the universe. Retrieved from Section 6

Danny Ravelo

An in-depth look into Time Time travel is a fascinating subject clouded in mystery, hypothesis, and deeply rooted within science fiction writing. Despite the shadowy nature of the subject, relative physicists and quantum physicists have several theories on the subject; some which are conflicting. Time travel is, of course not generated by a steampunk styled machine as suggested by H.G. Wells, nor is it built out of a 1982 DeLorean. Time travel as theorized by physicist is, in a way, more grandiose and elegant. It is on a much larger scale as it involves forces in the universe that currently cannot be harnessed. Time travel studies rely heavily on the work of the famous Albert Einstein. Einstein’s work provided the path for the best solution to theories about the universe as proposed by mathematicians and physicist for decades. The most important contribution that Einstein made for the idea of time travel was suggesting and supporting that time is not a constant. Time is affected by energies and forces of the universe, and can be measured with precise clocks. The key to the theory is measuring the ticking of clocks in relation to another clock in a different location, being affected by different forces; hence “Relativity.” The effects of time flowing differently have already been tested with very precise clocks, such as the atomic clocks at the National Institute of Technology in Colorado. Here, researcher Chen-Wen Chou concluded that clocks tick faster the further they are from Earth, even in a short distance such as a second story to a house. As a matter of fact, time flows differently on different parts at different heights of our body. While standing, our forehead ages faster than our feet. This is, of course not something that will be noticed within a lifetime. Another effect of time is that it flows slower in an object in motion in relation to a stationary object. This was also tested and confirmed by Chen-Wen Chou’s team. What does this mean for time travel? It means that any object in motion will be less affected by time in relation to parts of the universe that are moving slower. The idea is that we could develop a spaceship that could travel even a fraction of the speed of light we can use it to travel forward in time. This ship could be launched on a yearlong trip at this rapid speed. This ship would return to Earth tens of thousands of years in the future, despite it only been traveling for one year, relatively speaking. There are other methods of hypothetical time travel involving Einstein-Rosen bridges, more famously known as “wormholes.” These essentially are two points in space and time bent to touch each other. They are shortcuts for theoretical faster-than-light travel. Relativity theories have some difficulty explaining wormholes as they are only one of several proposed solutions to Relativity, but they have already been tested with the astronomical study of Black Holes, where Einstein’s theory still holds. A problem with wormhole travel arose in 1962 when John Wheeler discovered that a wormhole, if it opened would collapse instantly before any light, let alone some form of spacecraft, could pass through. The idea is that these wormholes collapse instantly because there is no force holding the “walls” open. Due to the nature of these singularities, the force must be negative or anti-gravity. These types of wormholes are known as Lorentzian wormholes. At this point it is looking very bad for this theoretical approach to time travel, but there are some considerations that could work. First we must remember that space is a vacuum. This allows for some interesting qualities to be considered. The biggest consideration is definitely Casimir Energy. Casimir Energy is a special force that affects the attraction between objects in a vacuum. Casimir Energy has been measured, and it is less than weightless; it actually can have negative weight. Casimir Energy proves that vacuums do not always have a density of zero and are not always empty. This anti-gravitational force could hold a Lorentzial wormhole open for long enough as to be used for travel. Now, utilizing gravity to move the openings of the wormhole while a transport travels near the speed of light through it could cause time to flow at different intervals at each end. Theoretically, this means that travel to an earlier time, relative to the time departed, is possible. These ideas and theories are not something that can be put into practice within a short amount time. While theoretically possible, functional time travel is very far away. The most important aspect is that time travel is definitely not just a work of fiction, but a theoretical possibility. Even traveling to the past and affecting the course of history could be possible and you would see your changes unfold in a parallel universe. So, while we cannot use the work of Einstein and other physicists to travel today to another time and space, we can at least use Relativity to prove that the bottom of our feet are the youngest part of our body. Works Referenced George, S. J. (n.d.). The Einstein-Rosen Bridge. | Thoughts of Samuel George. Retrieved February 24, 2013, from Gibbs, P., & Koks, D. (1997). The Casimir Effect. University of California Riverside – Department of Mathematics. Retrieved February 22, 2013, from Inside Science News Service (2010, September 24). Time Moves Faster Upstairs, Confirming Einstein’s Relativity. Fox News. Retrieved February 24, 2013, from Lovgren, S. (2005, September 15). Are Wormholes Tunnels for Time Travel? National Geographic News. Retrieved February 22, 2013, from

Congratulations to the winners of the blog post challenge for FOP 1301!

Dustin Valkema

It’s Football time!

        On February 3rd of this year two great Football teams will undergo a grueling battle to win the title of the Nations best team this year, better known as the Super Bowl by the NFL and fans. What many people may not know or realize is that football, at its core, is almost entirely wrapped around the laws and principles of physics. In saying that, it’s not crazy to assume that the team that can understand, execute and react these principles will become this years Super Bowl champs. Now, I do understand that there are many unpredictable occurrences, psychological factors that play into games like this and rules that each team needs to abide by so for the sake of this discussion we’ll stay out of the politics and focus on a couple examples of how physics is used throughout the sport itself. I will also look to generalize these examples to keep an unbiased focus from each team, not that I’m rooting for the Ravens or anything.

Lets dive in and take a look at how the quarterback and how he uses his knowledge of physics to calculate where and how he will pass the ball. We know that an object that is launched in any given path is called projectile motion, and would be initiated when the he throws the ball. We have also come to understand that the arc or parabola is the curved path that the ball follows from its initial point of release, to the point of impact whether it is the receiver, or the ground when acted upon by the force of gravity. Now before the quarterback makes his decision on where and how to pass the ball he instantaneously gauges the elements at play and then uses his knowledge of physics to calculate the pass, which through years of training and experience has become second nature.

Given our understanding of the parabola or path that the ball will take once it leaves the quarterback’s hand, there are three key factors that are a vital influence the path of the ball at this point. The first is the angle at which the ball is launched. We know that at 45 degrees is the sweet spot for reaching a maximum distance with the force of gravity acting as the force pulling down on the ball and decreasing it’s vertical speed in mid air.

The second factor is the velocity or speed at which the ball is thrown. We know that the velocity is based on the speed and angle of direction that an object travels, so having this knowledge the quarterback is able to judge how much force to put behind the ball as he’s throwing. In essence, the more distance between he and the receiver, the greater the force he would need to put on the ball, depending on the angle at which it leaves his hand.

Lastly he will have to make sure that the positioning of the ball in his hand and snap of the wrist is correct to form a perfect spiral when the ball is thrown. Having a perfect horizontal spin on the ball will reduce the amount of air resistance, allowing it to travel further and stay in the air longer, thus giving the reviver ample time to any quick adjustments that he needs to in order to pull it in. Understanding how gravity affects the vertical speed of the ball is crucial when passing deep or at all for that matter. Any slight miscalculation made by the Quarterback can lead to an incomplete pass or interception if the receiver isn’t able to make the proper adjustments on his end to make up for it.

As the second example of how football and physics are related we’ll take a look at the running and tackling aspect of the game. We know that both a running back and linebacker can hit hard, but when they meet, the outcome of who’s left standing is all about the science of the hit.

Have you ever noticed how both the linebackers and running backs are pushed back off of the line of scrimmage? This is so they can have room to accelerate from their position of rest and reach a high velocity before meeting their opponent, giving them better momentum in preparing for the hit. Since momentum is based on mass and velocity each player, regardless of size can have the same momentum and bounce straight off of each other if they’re countering each perfectly, which isn’t often the case. We often see one of the two falling to the ground or the other being tackled. This is because acceleration and momentum aren’t the only elements that feed into the linebacker making the tackle or the running back plowing the linebacker over.

One of the bigger elements in this part of the game is the subjects’ center of mass, better known to many as their center of gravity. This is vital point in the body and is generally right above the hips on most males. Your center of gravity is the point at which your body will rotate the easiest creating torque, thus leaving you vulnerable to losing your balance if your center of gravity is too high. Now torque is the product of distance from the rotation axis (center of mass) and force applied in which this case would be one player contacting the other. When a player has a center of gravity is low his potential for torque is also low. This is why every football coach pushes keeping a low and crouched center of gravity as you run, move, block and collide. Combining a low center of gravity with momentum will generally give you the upper hand when meeting an opponent, which is also why both offense and defensive players are trained to run through a collision and not stop on impact. One player must have a lower center of gravity and higher, continued momentum, if he expects to take the opposing player out without losing balance. With all of this being said the key principle behind running, tackling and hitting is to have a lower center of gravity, and to keep those feet churning through your opponent. It could be the difference between a breath taking tackle or a game-winning touchdown!

The topics covered here are only a small portion in how physics are applied in Football, and only a sliver of examples given. Physical Science is applied in every sport in one way or another, and understanding how physics is applied can give a much better understanding of what’s really happening as you watch your sport of choice. And to those of you that get hounded by their significant other for watching too much TV when it comes to sports, just tell them you’re studying the physics of the game and explain some of the principles given here. Chances are they’ll either walk away bored of listening to you talk, or you won’t get off that easy. Either way it’s worth the 50/50 gamble right? Below you’ll find a link to a pretty cool video of how Ray Lewis competes with a battering rams power to plow through a door using physics, check it out!

Welding. (n.d.). The Physics of Football. In physics of sport. Retrieved January 24, 2013, from

Echo Romeo. (November 24, 2010). The Physics of Football. In physics central. Retrieved January 24, 2013, from

Section 5

Andrea Bain

Physics Follies: or How Dumb do I Look?

By Andrea Bain

Movies are full of physics impossibilities. If the world worked like Hollywood often portrays it, we would have exploding cars in every wreck, people flying through the air after being shot, people jumping through glass windows willy-nilly and fires blazing from cigarettes tossed into gasoline puddles.  “What’s this?” you say. “These are physics fails?”  These and many more are used in the movies so often that we have come to believe them.

Take the car instantly exploding on impact scenario. A car’s gas tank is usually in the back of the car. That coupled with the fact that most fires usually start in the engine compartment means that instant explosions on impact just don’t make sense.  People are so convinced that a car will blow immediately that there have been many preventable injuries from people yanking a person out of a burning car when they could have taken a bit more time to asses the persons injuries. The fact is, that gasoline itself is much less flammable than the fumes evaporating from it.

All of which leads me to the lighting gasoline puddles with a lit cigarette scenario.  We all love a great revenge scene. In Payback starring Mel Gibson, his character, Porter, starts a gas leak in a car occupied by his antagonists and then lets the gas follow gravity.  It flows away from the car to a safe distance for Porter to avoid injury when the car blows. He waits for just the right moment and flicks his light cigarette into the pooling gasoline, which ignites it, and the flames rush toward the car resulting in a flashy explosion.  The problem with this physics violation is that a cigarette dropped in gasoline is usually immediately doused. Again, the liquid in gasoline is not what burns. It is the fumes. So could a cigarette light gasoline? Yes, unequivocally.  But it would take a situation where the cigarette would contact the fumes instead of the liquid.

Another physics violation is when a person is shot and as a result they go flying backward. Bullets are streamlined little projectiles. They have a lot of kinetic energy but it’s concentrated on such a small area that it doesn’t transfer that energy to the surface of a human it hits. Instead, it penetrates because it lacks the momentum to move an object as large as a person.  If the person were wearing a bulletproof vest however, they would have the bulk of that energy hit the surface instead of it expending its energy by penetration. Even then, however, it won’t make you fly across a room. It will leave a terrific bruise and broken ribs since that energy does have to go somewhere.

Finally, when you dive through a window, it does not look cool unless you’re in the movies. In reality, it would make you a bloody and possibly dead mess. Due to the weight of the glass and the inertia, the shards of broken glass tend to stay in place and then fall straight downward, unless you are unlucky enough to be in the way. Then you push the shards with your momentum. Having handled a broken glass, I know how easily it is to get cut. Add razor sharp edges to the collision caused by you jumping through the window and you get lacerations and severing of important parts you probably don’t want to lose.

So the next movie you see that has an exciting action sequence that totally blows the laws of physics, try not to overthink it while you’re in the theatre. After all, if the scene is convincing, and the special effects are awesome, that makes it have a cool factor that can kind of outweighs the bad physics. But as with anything, you have to know the laws in order to successfully break them.


Rogers, T. (December 1. 2009). Movie Physics and Mojo. In Insultingly Stupid Movie                                                                      Physics. Retrieved January 27, 2013, from

Unknown. (November 18, 1997). Flammable & Combustible Liquids – Hazards. In Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety. Retrieved January 27, 2013, from

Payback (1999). [film] Brian Helgeland . (n.d.). Blown Across the Room – Television Tropes & Idioms. [online] Retrieved from: [Accessed: 27 Jan 2013].

Section 6

James “JT” Torres

Growing up as a suburban child in the early nineties, I spent my fair share of time in arcades.  Although I was usually there to partake in video games that weren’t available on home consoles, I also spent quite a few (rolls of) quarters on pinball.  I always loved watching the ball bounce around the playing field and I always thought the game was just about timing.  Little did I know at the time that a working knowledge of physics influences the game as much as a player’s hand-eye coordination.

One would think that the only input the player contributes to the game would be when and if they hit the buttons that activate the flippers, how hard they move the machine (tilting) and, in older models, how far back they pulled the plunger to launch the ball.  Anyone can tell you that, generally speaking, the more you practice at something, the better you become at it.  Besides relying on twitch reflexes, a pinball wizard needs to learn the physics of the machine.

The first true pinball game was 1947’s Humpty Dumpty, which incorporated flippers for the first time.  However, unlike modern machines, Humpty Dumpty had 6 flippers that faced outward.  It wasn’t until 1950 when a game called Spot Bowler put the flippers facing inward toward bottom of the playing field.  Even without a degree in physics, a good player will notice and remember how the balls bounce off the flippers at different angles.  The flipper will then send the ball back up onto the playing field dependent on how forceful the player presses the buttons controlling the flippers, demonstrating a conservation of energy.

The playing field is angled at a 6-7 degree angle to allow the ball to be influenced by gravity. Besides keeping the ball from becoming stuck, this forces the player to do something that humans always strive to do: to oppose gravity.  Although it’s not on a grand of a scale as space flight, the name of the game is to keep that ball from obeying one of the primary laws of physics.

The tilt sensor in a pinball game was an invention that was created to decrease cheating on the machines as well as to circumvent damages to the machine.  The first tilt sensor was called a “stool pigeon”, and was created by Harry Williams of Williams Manufacturing.  This was nothing more than a ball on a pedestal that would fall and hit a metal ring when a player would push the machine hard enough.  Although the tilt mechanism has evolved over the years, it still relies on the same concept.

In older pinball machines, the player pulls back on a plunger to launch the ball.   On a normal table, a standard steel ball measuring 1 & 1/16th inches in diameter can reach speeds of 145 kph.  The plunger allows the player to deploy the ball at different velocities, to either give them control of their launch speed or to sometimes hit certain bonuses known as “skill shots”.  Objects on the playing field can also influence the ball.  The ball can bounce off of and be launched out of various objects and special areas.

If a player wants to receive a high score, it would be best to learn the “feel” of a particular machine.  A skilled player will take into account how the ball moves, how the force exerted onto the flipper buttons translates onto the field and even how hard the machine is shoved.  Even though some machines are now digital, the physics behind pinball remain the same.  Next time you play pinball, hopefully you’ll remember that timing isn’t everything.


Porges, S. (2008, August 5). Top 8 most innovative pinball machines of all time read more: Top 8 most innovative pinball machines of all time Popular Mechanics, Retrieved from

Brannan, S. (2001, May 8). How pinball machines work. Retrieved from¤tpage=8&age=0&knowledge=0&item=76

(n.a.). (2004-2012). The internet pinball machine database glossary. Retrieved from