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Sunday, February 21, 2010

Reflection: Energy - The Fuel of the Universe

"Hubble Ultra Deep Field"
A look back in time nearer to the "Big Bang" 

According to the commonly accepted theory of the big bang, approximately 13.73 ± 0.12 billion years ago, the universe started expanding from an infinitesimally small point into the visible universe that we know of today, over 93 billion light years wide. After one Planck time (about 5.39124*10^(-44) seconds), gravity separated from the electronuclear force. After one picosecond (1.00*10^(-12) seconds), the “weak” force separated from the electromagnetic force resulting in the four forces we know today. By one hour, helium nuclei formed. In 370,000 years, hydrogen and helium nuclei captured electrons and formed stable atoms. By 100 million years after the big bang, the first stars began to shine. It may seem surprising, but all of the energy in our universe at this moment, was present from the very beginning. Some of what I have learned during this unit about energy is explained in the following "Glog":

Energy - The Fuel of the Universe

Big Bang Technical Information:,
Hubble Ultra Deep Field Photo:

Monday, February 1, 2010

Extra!! Extra!! Read all about it! Finally the secret behind the death-defying "Sphere of Fear" explained!

Have you ever been to a circus, amusement park, or stunt show? Well, all of those air defying and gravity smashing stunts are just good applications of physics and an understanding of motion. Not to say that these tricks are not dangerous and don’t risk life and limb, they do. However, the physics principles behind them are rather simple. Take for example the “Sphere of Fear,” “Globe of Death,” or “Circle of Doom” that is a staple in many circus acts. The stunt is fundamentally composed of a large spherical metal cage with one or more motorcycles and riders driving around on the inside. Created by Herb “Daredevil” Durkin after WWII, he and his wife believed that the public would pay good money in order to see the death defying “double loop.” For more than 30 years, they continuously added new tricks to their repertoire such as sidecars, more riders, and eventually, they decided to cut off the bottom half of the sphere in order to increase the risk and make it more exciting for the audiences. In the early 70s, Herb Durkin and his wife retired and left their “Sphere of Fear” to rust into scrap metal. From then on, fresh and innovative performers, entertainers, and daredevils have created similar acts and amazed audiences with their fearless acts of bravery.

Now onto the Physics!!!
Here is a “Prezi” that can explain everything: "The Sphere of Death" - Prezi
 In this "Prezi," you will find a description and analysis of the motion of the riders and motorcycles when riding in the "Sphere of Death." It includes a detailed description of both vertical and horizontal loops, what would happen if the riders go too fast, too slow, or just the right speed, and multiple FBDs and diagrams in order to help you understand what is the physics behind this amazing feat. To navigate the "Prezi," move the mouse to the bottom right of the "Prezi" and use the arrows to step forward or backward in the path.

Now that you know how it works, test you skills with the Homer Simpsons "The Ball of Death Game".

Black and Blue Colorful Fractal:
Blue and White Waves:
Dark and Gloomy Sphere of Death:
Green Sphere of Death in Motion:
Blurred Motorcycle in Motion:
Sphere of Death in Daylight:
Inside Sphere of Death:
Bright Colorful Blue Fractal:
Roller Coaster:
LED Circle:
Snail Cartoon:
Specific Tricks:
YouTube Long:
YouTube Short:
Homer Simpson Ball of Death Game: