Friday, July 19, 2013

The Conjuring of Benjamin Franklin

 For proud Pennsylvania, their Big Ben lies in the Franklin Institute, a "museum" dedicated to science (or at least the area I explored). As I stared at the grandiose figure, my blood rushed and for some odd reason, I felt like a kid again. My parents never took me to a museum... Through this program, I've had the chance to visit a numerous amount of sites. I feel like a kid who finally got the lollipops that he's been hoping for. Like a sponge, I absorbed every drip of excitement at the museum. The experiments, presentations, paintings, and ideas have given me ideas that I can translate back to my school's science club. I hope that I will be able to reproduce the same experience I had today.

 With the elegance of simplicity, the contraption to the right explains basic chemistry. Under the board is a circuit and we have four allotropes of carbon (4 different forms). All four forms all have the same chemical compound, but the orientation of the carbon differs. Because of the orientation, the properties of each material is different. Carbon nano-tubes (the third one from the bottom) are significantly stronger than graphite (pencil). However, all of the compounds are conductive. Since carbon has four valence electrons and it only bonds to three carbons around it, it has one available electron that can be used as an electrical source. Because of this property, by constructing a circuit with the carbon compounds, the light will light(as you can see in the picture). While watching this play, I thought of how to teach 5-year old children about electrons (our science club visits local elementary schools and give presentations). I thought of an analogy involving the children holding hands to represent bonds. But since electrons repel each other, I have to think of an improved activity. 

Ben's glasses.
 The contraption on the left is a wall filled with LEDs that are surrounded by wave receptors. When the receptors receive a radio wave (most likely because of our phones), it sends a current that lights the LEDs. However, the wall lighted up consistently even without a phone in front of it. This is due to the massive network of phones acting around the world. This is an amazing presentation to represent the usage of phones and in general, waves. 

 To the left is in image provided by CERN (they're the ones who "found" the Higgs Boson). Particle collisions represented with blue paint(?) and a yellow background really show the beautiful aspect of nature. Usually, the equations are very chaotic and it's hard to visualize the relationships, but the picture here represents many trends without all the complication. I know that I become very disorientated when I look at quantum mechanics, but looking at this picture inspires me to keep striving. All the chaotic motions of the particles work together for an overall beautiful picture.

So beautiful.

I was casually strolling around the museum when I came across this genius work. We're used to seeing light that reflects off the top of objects, but this illusion is different. The light coming from the button reflects and creates a reversed image. Since our brains are used to the image being on top, that's how we see it at first. As a result, it creates a crocodile illusion because it is inside-out. This video perfectly demonstrates the optics behind it. Also, the crocodile appears to follow the observer, this is also because of the light and the angle.

After spending a day as a "kid" again, I went with my friends to the theaters to watch "The Conjuring". Clap, clap, clap. The sudden noise and realization that you're entering a horror film cannot be compared. Quietly, the steps of the frightened enter the theater with their minds on the fear they're about to feel. They know that they're in for a scare yet they do it anyway. Is this out of courage? I'm unsure, but it's insanity. I know that if I were to go up a mountain, I wouldn't be able to forget the experience of going down. Actually, I'd probably wimp out after 2 nanometers. Anyways, I'm a horror-movie fanatic (since Insidious) and I'm infallible when it comes to watching horror movies. This is partially due to my experience with them at a young age... My mom would always watch Cantonese horror flicks with me. Anyways, I wasn't expecting anything crazy from the movie - although I couldn't sleep from watching Insidious at one point - and I took it very casually. It was just as I thought, it wasn't horrible. There were a couple frights, but nothing beats my earlier experiences. Because of my immunity to suspense, I cynically scoffed at those who were frightened and yelled at "scary" scenes. Although, I'd probably do the same if I had to go up against one of my fears. I had a bit of fun after the movie as well. After the chaotic, yet calm, ending of the movie, many people were hugging their nearby friends. For me, it was different; I was thinking of the infinite ways I could prank my friends afterwards. I wandered into my sadistic zone where I was finding the most hilarious and questionable act of "fright". I decided to make it simple and easy, I decided to hide in a closet. My friend Adam and I inconspicuously ran back to the dorms and I hid in my closet. Adam would lure them in with bait (that he devised) and I would jump out of the closet and scream. The movie had a lot of them so it was relevant, and it was hilarious. With his signal, I unleashed the fright. Well, I felt bad afterwards because they were really frightened by it, but we all laughed at it at the end. I consulted them later and asked them if they were mad at me. Luckily, they're not too furious with me, they actually thought it was funny. Although, I think that's a wolf in sheep's clothing! They're definitely devising a diabolic plan to make sure I'm always in a state of paranoia. Sadly, it's working... I don't know what they're going to do, but my defenses are up.  

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