Thermodynamics, possibly the most important subject of study for anyone who wishes to pursue a physics career. It explains the energy (internal motion and change) in a system(it can be defined as any environment) and although it is specific to a point, its applications are limitless. Engineers would be practically rendered useless if thermodynamics wasn't known. Before I attempt to explain it, here is a link to a better explanation: Thermodynamics. I absolutely love using this site for reviewing, it's very thorough.
The laymen's definition of energy is the ability to do work. Although it makes thermodynamics less interesting and mind-blowing, we'll stick it for the sake of time. This definition means that when an object does work, it transfers energy to another object. Kinetic energy is energy of an object in motion, which means that they transfer energy because of its motion, and potential is energy that is applicable because of gravity. Bill derived the ideal gas law, a relationship used all the time in chemistry, through physics. I won't go into the details of it, but let's just say that I was stupefied by the time he finished it. He demonstrated a piston, which is an engine that shoots an object through decreasing the volume of the gas inside it. By decreasing the volume of the valve that holds the gas by pushing it down, its pressure increases and once it's let go of, it has enough energy and applies work to push the object. Doing this all, as you can see, results in high amounts of gas outside the "launcher". I made it too simple in this blog, and it's a much more complicated subject. I grew fond of it. Thermodynamics in AP Chemistry was taught through a "textbook", which isn't bad, but it didn't explain enough of it for everything to make sense. Through Bill's lecture, I gained insight on the subject and made sense of things I didn't understand before.
After that, we had an exhilarating study session with Craig. Our group is essentially trying to create a gas chamber that cascades (looks like rain that never stops) methanol. Through this, we use the mu-mesons that come down from the upper atmosphere to collide with the molecules, and this causes a zigzag trail (which we can observe). Later, we will be using a radioactive source to create "strange" particles, which spiral (odd behavior) through the influence of a magnetic field. Unlike common particles which travel straight or curved, "strange" quarks travel in spirals. Being able to observe the behaviors of particles is much more educational than reading about it. This concept of observation over repetition should be valued. However, the funds required for these kinds of groups are major and unfortunately, it's just not possible with the current situation. We use dry ice to cool down the plate on the bottom(connected to the insulator) through a circular system(the cylinder holds the ice while the heat transfers through the system) so that we can create a very cold plate. And we keep the glass on the top warm, thus causing "rain fall". By making a big enough difference in the temperatures, we created what looks like a "storm". The video on the bottom shows the "storm".