Monday, January 30, 2006

I remember now...

...why I'm a theorist!

Although there was that time when the five of us taking the mathematical physics option were hanging in the corridor waiting for a class, and this videographer came out of a lab and asked us to come in; they were making this promotional video for high school students, see, and they needed some advanced undergrads to run the lab while they filmed. And there we were, just hanging out.
It was a "torque and moments of inertia" lab for freshers, boooring, so we first took it apart and set it up to do some more interesting precession experiments (can you tell we were taking advanced classical mech using Goldstein); anyway, my "partner" and I decided it'd be fun to see what happened as you increased the angular velocity. Overcoming the regulated limit on the motor driving the experiment was surprisingly easy...

Anyway, it is all on video tape and was apparently circulated to tens of thousands of A-level students in the UK, right around the time physics undergrad enrollment started plummeting, strangely.

My next "real lab" encounter (not counting "helping" for Ditch Day and other extracurricular activities) was at Mt Hamilton. My one and only visit so far to a professional observatory. Turns out you CAN see Venus at noon, by naked eye, using a large refractor (yes, it still works). Observing close to the Sun is interesting.


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