Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Physics Demo Lecture

Last night I had the interesting experience of attending a physics demonstration lecture at the University. It is interesting that when you are just looking at the explosions, projectiles, impacts and shocks it becomes a lot more fun than when you are sitting through the demos during class. Yet at the same time, having been through the lectures and understanding the ‘magic’ (or math) behind the demo, I think that it causes one to have a greater appreciation for the show.

The demo was done as a part of the summer meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers that hosted by my university. The demo was open to the public, and I am glad that I went, even if it was a bit nerve wracking to be surrounded by physics teachers at first. As time went on, I decided that the physics geeks have a sense of humor similar to that of the CS geeks, and that in reality we are quite compatible.

My favorite joke of the evening was when a demonstrator was discussing wave mechanics. He brought 30 elementary school kids onto the stage and gave them all glow sticks, so that when the lights dimmed, the audience could see a wave propagate. Some of the kids were a little young, and didn’t get how to start the glow sticks, and the demonstrator was starting the youngest children’s glow sticks and he said “Now once you crack it, shake it up really good until it starts to glow. This is called chemistry, and we don’t study that here”. It is good to see that the old jokes between the mathematicians, physicists, and chemists are still being preached to the rising generation.

You probably had to be there to see the humor in it. I had a good time none the less.

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