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cool light from peeling tape---X-rays even - Feb 18, 2011 at 11:10PM
Society of Physics...
293 Posts light and X-rays from peeling scotch tape,
more info in their report,
IIT SPS Scotch Tape X-ray Experiment
This the Illinois Institute of Technology's Society of Physics Students' Scotch tape x-ray experiment. Unrolling Scotch tape creates high energy x-rays! Who knew?

Adjunct Professor of Physics, Editor of The Physics Teacher, and GWU SPS Chapter Advisor

Antartic Ice Loss - Dec 19, 2010 at 9:41PM
Melanie Markman
133 Posts

Scientists have shown that the West Antartic is lossing ice, but they want to know why the ice is melting.  With the use of satellites and airborn missions scientists are starting to decifer the reasons for the ice loss.

With the new findings that NASA was able to present at a meeting of the American Geophysical Union the rise in sea levels should be predicted with greater accuracy.

Ted Scambos is a glaciologist who along with his colleges has found that after the collapse of two major ice shelves that ice loss is still continuing to occur.  The collapse of these shelvels in paticular happened more then a decade ago and time is not correcting for the loss.

The most change has occurred over the West Antartic Ice Sheet.  There is a collective series of ice sheets known as Larsen that for over a decade has been experiancing major changes.  Along the northeast coast in 1995,  Larsan A was the first ice shelf to collapse followed by an even larger collapse of Larsan B in 2002.  Now a small bit of Larsan B clings to life, awaiting the day that Larsan C follows suit.

Scambos and his colleages have used evevation information to show that from 2001 to 2006 glaciers that feed ice into the area Larsan have been loosing 12 gigatons of ice per year.  These glaciers normally have winds carry snow from mountains to the glaciers which eventually turn into the pennsiala itself.  With the loss of ice from the glaciers, the penninsala cannot form.  With 12 gigatons per year lost, nearly 30 percent of all ice through the penninsala has been lost.

Scambos and his team have placed new instrauments south of the area where the shelves have been melting anticipating that further warming will cause the glaciers to melt faster.  The new instraments with the continued use of satellite and air craft observation should help provide insight to the driving force of the ice loss.

New observation does show that the wind has some part in ice loss.  By compiling and studying mass amounts of data a direct corrolation has been made between ice shelf melting and atomosphereic wind speed.  Expanding further on this study scientist have found that only 22 percent of heat from the winds causes ice to melt.  On top of atmospheric wind speed atompshperic circulation has a big role in the ice melting as well.  Strong winds further the ice melting while weaker winds seem to have a stabalizing effect.

Another glaciologist, Michael Studinger, has helped identify a curious feature under what is known as the Pine Island Shelf.  This feature appears to be a channel that allows warm water to flow directly under the ice shelf melting the shelf from below.  This discovery will be continued to be closely montitored and data will be used to help predict sea level rise as well.

For more:

Mount Redoubt - Apr 4, 2009 at 11:18PM
Melanie Markman
133 Posts

Mount Redoubt Erupts

In Alaska Mount Redoubts, the volcano, has had another large eruption. The volcano after a relatively inactive week erupted on Saturday.  The volcano lays one hundred miles southwest of Anchorage.  The volcano is being monitored by the Alaska Volcano Observatory in Anchorage.

The plume of volcanic ash rose 50,000 feet into the sky meaning that it is one of the largest eruptions from the volcano since it awoke on March 22.  The ash is reported to be drifting to the southeast, falling on the Kenai Peninsula.

The observatory detected seismic activity for a twenty minute period after the first eruption.  Alaska's airlines have canceled more than 150 flights since the eruptions started.  The volcano has had about a dozen bursts since becoming active again.  There have also been concerns over mudflows, and falling ash.

Until now Mount Redoubt had not erupted since 1989.

For more

Post edited April 5, 2009 at 12:36 PM EST.

The Technological Era and the Consumer - Dec 13, 2008 at 5:39PM
Melanie Markman
133 Posts

Everyone is looking to the next big thing in technology.  CD's overtook cassette tapes, and Mp3's overtook CD's.  Now that audio files on the computer are so popular every major technology company has been looking to outdo one another's Mp3 players.  Apple has dominated the market since the release of the IPod second generation, when the controls were revamped to scroll and control the music.  After the release of the IPod, Microsoft got competitive with the release of the Zune.

Now, Sony is jumping into the game with the new touch screen Mp3.  The new Mp3 player will be released in 2009.  All these electronic companies are competing for customers, by advancing their products the most, or making them most appealing.  My question is just how far will these companies go?   I remember when the IPod only came in white, and now it is possible to have one in every color on the visible spectrum.

As the advances in technology grow, companies struggle to compete and find ways to use this technology to their economic advantage.  It only takes a few months for something to be outdated now.  How long can Sony stay in the game if it is just entering the market, and are they going after the right costumer by having lots of good looking specs?  The touch screen, is it the next big thing to add to the personal music player?

Apple, leading in all of this has the Iphone and the IPod Touch which both use touchscreens.  Who will continue to make the big bucks and dominate the market, and how far are these companies willing to go to take the lead.  Is the time and energy going into these products paying off for them?  The consumers can only wait and watch to have their technological desires filled by these companies as they compete for your business.  Look forward to Sony and its new Mp3 player in 2009, getting its spot alongside the IPod and the Zune.

The specs for the new Sony Touchscreen Walkman:

Compare the new specs to all the IPods:

Compare to the specs of the Zunes:

Repairing the Largest Partical Collider in the World - Dec 8, 2008 at 12:28PM
Melanie Markman
133 Posts

The large particle collider that has been built to simulate the 'Big Bang' may take up to $29 million to fix.  The particle collider is the largest and most complex in the world.  The collider's funding comes from CERN and the 20 European member states, as well as, Russia.  The collider was supposed to recreate conditions that were believed to have occurred right after the Big Bang.

The particle collider works by smashing sub–atomic particles together at near light speeds.  The idea was that the results of from this collider could unlock previously unseen particles and give more insight to quantum physics.

The accelerator started up in September but was forced to close soon after opening.  An electrical error caused a helium leak.  When nine days passed after firing, the proton particles around the seventeen mile underground tunnel came across the fault.  The repairs will require taking out fifty three of the fifty seven magnets within the accelerator.  Twenty eight of the magnets have already been removed.  It is estimated that the accelerator should be ready to resume work sometime in March 2009, but there is no set date at the time.

The particle accelerator is the most highly advanced machine in the world.  It is a truly amazing scientific accomplishment. The accelerator when fully functional is supposed to offer insight to conditions similar to those after the big bang.  This insight could unlock core secrets to how the universe was formed and the building blocks from which everything is created.  It is truly amazing to go from unlocking flight with the Write Brothers to unlocking how the universe is put together.  The progress of technology is amazing, and makes me wonder what advances will take place in future generations.

Post edited December 8, 2008 at 6:40 PM EST.

Clever Energy - Dec 5, 2008 at 2:17PM
Melanie Markman
133 Posts

Holland has always been a leader in alternative energy sources even before alternative energy was the "it" thing.  Holland has been powering homes with wind power for years.  Holland also currently has the largest offshore wind farm.  Now a café in the Zeist has come up with a way to reduce their carbon footprint.  (A carbon foot print is a measure of how much carbon dioxide is put into the air).  The café connected an electric generator to their revolving door.  Each time a costumer walks through the door, the customer generates enough power in order to produce one cup of coffee in the café.  The owners of the shop have done a bit of number crunching to see how much energy usage from their local power source it will save them.  The guess is that 4600KWH (Kilowatt Hours) will be saved each year with the new generator.
To read the full article visit:
On a personal level, I was intrigued by the concept.  The revolving door takes kinetic energy and when hooked to the generator the energy is converted to electrical energy.  I have been many different places with revolving doors, and if every place I had been had had a generator hooked up to it, it could have been equivalent to making a few cups of coffee.  But those numbers add up.  However, I would be interested in knowing the cost effectiveness of the generator because the article did not talk about it.  If it is truly economically plausible I hope to see more of these revolving doors hooked with generators.  While it may not solve the high demands for fossil fuels and alternative fuels, it could be a good supplement to the technology that we currently possess.

LHC Fully Documented Online - Aug 28, 2008 at 3:38PM
36 Posts

Hello Physics Phans!

One of my friends passed on a cool link which will get you tons of amazing technical information on the LHC and it's 6 detectors.  Tons of physics information and technical specs so if you have a few million in cash you can build your own.  Enjoy the 'Lite' reading!

Original Link:

IOP Electronic Journals:

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A cool look at the applic...   (Melanie Markman - Nov 2, 2008 at 2:48PM)
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