Monday, July 22, 2013

Weapons of Mass Destruction and Ghosts

Today was a very interesting and unique day in physics class.  We went to class thirty minutes earlier than normal for free breakfast in the lecture hall.  There were bagels, doughnuts, coffee, and orange juice available.  I personally went back for seconds for more doughnuts and orange juice.  While in class we discussed the atomic bomb and the physics that go along with it.  The lesson was a bit more abnormal than usual.  Normally our instructors will give lectures with maybe at demonstration or two, but today we acquired most of the information via film and documentaries.  Rather than discussing the physical and mechanical properties of the bomb, the films revolved mostly around the moral conflictions caused by the bomb. I liked the change of presentation and thought that it was more appropriate rather than solely going through the mechanics of the bomb.  After the films were over, we continued with standard lecture protocol on the topic of nuclear reactions.

Today was also the radio telescope groups first day in the lab with Dr. Jim Aguirre.  We didn't actually conduct any formal experiments today, but we did learn how to operate the equipment that we will be using and how it all works.  Dr. Aguirre also gave us a brief description of how we can detect black-body radiation from stars in order to determine its temperature.  I had always wondered how astronomers can determine temperatures and the masses of large celestial bodies, but know I know that it is all possible using radio telescopes.

Independence Hall
Later in the evening, I went with a group to Center City for the Philadelphia ghost tour.  We were led by a tour guide who showed us multiple haunted buildings in Independence Park and the stories that go along with them.  Although we didn't see any ghosts on the tour, there was still definitely an eerie atmosphere around the entirety of the park.  I took plenty of pictures trying to spot any apparitions that may be hiding in the photographs but I don’t think that I found anything interesting.  Tomorrow should be a busy day for me in class.  The rest of the class will be trying to find the speed of light, while the radio telescope group will have free time to work on presentations.  Hopefully I can iron out all our computer difficulties once and for all.  

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