September 1, 2006 Issue

Physics To Go 8 - Flame wave/Pluto

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Physics in Your World

Acoustics and Vibration Animations image

Acoustics and Vibration Animations

photo credit: Jim Krider, Physics Instructional Resource Team, Arizona State
hi-res image

In this classic physics demonstration, the tube that contains the Bunsen burner gas has a speaker at each end that emits a pure tone. The tones have the same frequency and are in phase. The frequency of the tones is selected to set up a large  inside the tube, and the resulting pressure distribution produces the pattern of flames.

Click here for the standing wave section of Physics 2000.

To learn more, visit this page from Hyperphysics.

(This feature was updated on February 17, 2014.)

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Physics at Home

Become a Master of Inertia

Find out how to do a less risky version of the pull-the-tablecloth-out-from-under-the-plates "magic trick." The version at this website, from the Ontario Science Center, is particularly interesting because instead of plates on a tablecloth, you'll use a pair of coins balanced on the rim of a glass.  Try it! Also, you'll learn how the concept of inertia explains what happens.


From Physics Research

Much ado about Pluto image

Much ado about Pluto

image credit: NASA, ESA, H. Weaver (JHU/APL), A. Stern (SwRI), and the HST Pluto Companion Search Team
hi-res image

Although now reclassified as a dwarf planet, Pluto is the center of a small world of its own. In addition to its large moon Charon, two more, shown above, were spotted by the Hubble Space Telescope in 2005.

To learn about the controversy over Pluto's status, see NASA's Much Ado About Pluto and also Caltech astronomer Mike Brown's commentary.  

For the story of Pluto's discovery, see the Planetary Society's Pluto: The Discovery of a Planet.

Worth a Look

Secrets of Ice

Visit Secrets of Ice, from Boston's Museum of Science, to learn about global change research in Antarctica. The scientific activity is presented with text and photos. Profiles of team members and daily logs provide interesting background information. To learn about the melting of the Antarctic ice cap, see Grace Under Fire from the American Physical Society's outreach website Physics Central.

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