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Thread: The FORT science outreach project

  1. #41
    It's a bird, it's a plane EXlurker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrdobolina
    May I give my theory on how to make time travel possible?? And please AG, feel free to bust this wide open.

    I have always thought there was a way to at least see back in time. Not necessarily GO back in time, but to see back in time. My idea was a ship that could travel faster than light(yeah, I know, not really possible) such as the Enterprise. You would fly that ship to a particular point in space, focus a very high tech telescope on where you wanted to see, and then fly the ship in such a manner as to always keep that event/place/whatever in focus. So, lets say I want to witness JFK's assasination....I would fly my ship to the exact point in space where all of the light that was reflected from Dealey Plaza in November of 1963 was right then. Focus that light into my telescope, input the earth's rotation, the distance, all of that crazy data into my flight computer, and the ship would fly me in a path that would keep that light focused so I could see what was going on.

    Hey, its the next best thing to being there, right?

    If you have the starship Enterprise you could just head toward the Sun an then pull off a sling-shot maneuver around it to fling yourself so fast that you could travel back in time adn then bring back some humpback whales to save the earth.... oops. All the stuff in this thread is really interesting but way over my head and this was the only way to get my 2 cents in.

  2. #42
    Miz Smarty Britches queenb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by astrogirl_2100
    Last night I had this picture in my head how you guys look after you read this thread. I don't know if you've all seen "Finding Nemo", but if you have, there is this scene where Nemo's dad has left Dori, and she swims around in circles saying "oooo oooo" because she doesn't remember anything. That's the image that comes to mind
    I'll be the first to fess up; that's very close to the way this stuff affects me. I always liked the sciences but more along the lines of biology, ecology, and so forth. Unfortunately I'm kind of like the way Lucy claims to be, that is to say, more oriented toward the arts and humanities. For me, that means that physics, chemistry, and any subject that even smells like math above a first year level just dumbfounds me.
    But still, fascinating. Do carry on; I do at least get the part about the pennies and the balloon. However, I am being distracted by memories of someone trying to explain the theory of relativity by talking about someone walking x miles an hour on a train moving a certain speed, and something to do with what an observer on the ground sees in relation to the activity on the train and, I think I feel another Dorian spell coming on...
    I have found the Truth and it doesn't make sense.

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lucy
    My poor little language-and-arts-oriented brain is about to combust from trying to understand this stuff
    Me too And 'combust' is about the only science-related word that I can manage right now

    But thanks astrogirl, this is all very informative and educational
    Bollocks to your pompous hiney! -makerc

  4. #44
    FORT scientist astrogirl_2100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by queenb
    I'll be the first to fess up; that's very close to the way this stuff affects me. I always liked the sciences but more along the lines of biology, ecology, and so forth. Unfortunately I'm kind of like the way Lucy claims to be, that is to say, more oriented toward the arts and humanities. For me, that means that physics, chemistry, and any subject that even smells like math above a first year level just dumbfounds me.
    I think, in a lot of cases, people shut down when it comes to math or the sciences, because they had bad experiences with it in school. I disliked math untill the 9th grade, it was all so pointless all about numbers and percentages and other boring stuff. I didn't like physics either, you hook up a circuit and a lamp lights up, so what? But when I got into "gymnasium" (out high school) and math because like a puzzle you had to try to figure out, I was hooked. The more abstract, the better. So I guess I'm odd that way.

    What I'm saying is, that sometimes when people go back to learning math as adults, they find that it is not so hard after all. A friend of mine went back to school to become a teacher and had to take math classes, and he was shocked that he understood so much of it. So just because math baffled you in schoold, it doesn't mean it will baffle you now.

    Quote Originally Posted by queenb
    But still, fascinating. Do carry on; I do at least get the part about the pennies and the balloon. However, I am being distracted by memories of someone trying to explain the theory of relativity by talking about someone walking x miles an hour on a train moving a certain speed, and something to do with what an observer on the ground sees in relation to the activity on the train and, I think I feel another Dorian spell coming on...
    I bet that person was a high school or a first year college student who just learned special relativity and was all excited. Usually those excited and passionate explanations are not the best Better to cool down and wait for a few years until the concepts really sink in and explain them then. Ofcourse, being a first year college student in physics is no fun unless you can baffle your friends with what you've learned. Warning: It won't get you any dates.

    Anyway, the train explanations are actually Einsteins own explanations, he loved trains. If you are intertessed, read Geroge Gamow's 'Mr Tompkins in Wonderland'. It is about a guy who attend physics lectures, which he don't understand, but when he dreams at night, he dreams of worlds where the laws of physics are altered. In one dream, the speed of light is 30 km/hour and when you ride a bicycle relativistic effects can be seen. I really recommend this book.

  5. #45
    Hypermediocrity Amanda's Avatar
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    Okay, I have another question. Astrogirl, I've been thinking about the pennies on the balloon. In my head, I guess I've been letting those pennies be representative of any celestial body, be it galaxies, individual stars within galaxies, whatever. But does the analogy hold up if I want to let them represent the different bodies in a single solar system? It wouldn't, right? The universe is expanding at this fantastic rate, but the discrete bodies within systems aren't getting farther apart, are they? And if I'm correct about that, why aren't they? Is the gravity of our sun strong enough to hold us in place, even though space as a whole is expanding? From what I've been told, gravity is a relatively weak force. By far the weakest of all the forces, if I'm not mistaken (which I absolutely could be.) Is it just that, on an astronomical scale, we're close enough to our sun that the gravitational force is great enough to withstand expansion?

    I guess I just started thinking about this in terms of closely-grouped pellets of buckshot instead of pennies. Each pellet is a planet in the solar system. If the balloon is being blown up, why wouldn't the spaces between the buckshot get larger, too?

  6. #46
    FORT scientist astrogirl_2100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Amanda
    Okay, I have another question. Astrogirl, I've been thinking about the pennies on the balloon. In my head, I guess I've been letting those pennies be representative of any celestial body, be it galaxies, individual stars within galaxies, whatever. But does the analogy hold up if I want to let them represent the different bodies in a single solar system? It wouldn't, right? The universe is expanding at this fantastic rate, but the discrete bodies within systems aren't getting farther apart, are they? And if I'm correct about that, why aren't they? Is the gravity of our sun strong enough to hold us in place, even though space as a whole is expanding? From what I've been told, gravity is a relatively weak force. By far the weakest of all the forces, if I'm not mistaken (which I absolutely could be.) Is it just that, on an astronomical scale, we're close enough to our sun that the gravitational force is great enough to withstand expansion?
    Gravity can hold bodies together despite the expansion. The force of gravity is weak relative to other forces, but strong enough to hold planets, solar systems, galaxies and clusters of galaxies together. The universe is only expanding on a global scale, but locally, things can collapse (as when stars are formed).

    Quote Originally Posted by Amanda
    I guess I just started thinking about this in terms of closely-grouped pellets of buckshot instead of pennies. Each pellet is a planet in the solar system. If the balloon is being blown up, why wouldn't the spaces between the buckshot get larger, too?
    It wouldn't because gravity keeps the pellets together. That's why pennies are used as an example. Even though the space in between the pennies get larger, the pennies themselves do not get larger. When we are looking at a galaxy, even though the universe itself is expanding, the galaxy stays the same.

    Matter tends to clump togehter in the universe. Galaxies are organized in groups called clusters, clusters are organized in superclusters, and superclusters are orgnaized in strings, with huge empty voids in between them. A simulation is shown here:



    So, luckily for us, the expansion doesn't work on a local scale (otherwise we wouldn't be here)

  7. #47
    Retired! hepcat's Avatar
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    This isn't astrophysics, but general science stuff. I found myself in a children's museum this weekend that had little placards around with science facts but no explanation. I wish I had written some of them down because they were puzzling me all day and there was no one to ask...the only two I remember are these:

    - ships travel faster in warm water than cold water
    - the Atlantic ocean is saltier than the Pacific

    Just curious, why would warmer water allow ships to travel faster, and how/why did the Atlantic get saltier than the Pacific?
    You've gotta hustle if you want to earn a dollar. - Boston Rob

  8. #48
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    Quote Originally Posted by hepcat
    This isn't astrophysics, but general science stuff. I found myself in a children's museum this weekend that had little placards around with science facts but no explanation. I wish I had written some of them down because they were puzzling me all day and there was no one to ask...the only two I remember are these:

    - ships travel faster in warm water than cold water
    - the Atlantic ocean is saltier than the Pacific

    Just curious, why would warmer water allow ships to travel faster, and how/why did the Atlantic get saltier than the Pacific?
    I think ships go faster in warmer water because the molecules are more spread out and there is less resistence. I think the Atlantic is saltier because...um....hmmm.....I have no idea.

  9. #49
    FORT scientist astrogirl_2100's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by hepcat
    This isn't astrophysics, but general science stuff. I found myself in a children's museum this weekend that had little placards around with science facts but no explanation. I wish I had written some of them down because they were puzzling me all day and there was no one to ask...the only two I remember are these:

    - ships travel faster in warm water than cold water
    - the Atlantic ocean is saltier than the Pacific

    Just curious, why would warmer water allow ships to travel faster, and how/why did the Atlantic get saltier than the Pacific?
    I don't know why ships would travel faster in warm water than cold, but my best guess is that since temperature affects the density and viscosity of water, that might be what the statement is based on. This assumes that the water is the same, ofcourse, e.g. it contains equal amounts of salt. That would be my best guess. I found a pretty cool calculater for fluid properties here: http://www.mhtl.uwaterloo.ca/old/cou...c/airprop.html

    Salt content of ocens depend on a number of things. An explanation can be found here:
    http://www.campusprogram.com/referen...sea_water.html I hope this sort of answers your question.

  10. #50
    Retired! hepcat's Avatar
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    Thanks for the explanations, guys, and thanks for those links, Astrogirl!
    You've gotta hustle if you want to earn a dollar. - Boston Rob

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