My Pages

Saturday, March 20, 2010

March 14th: Pi Day and Einstein's Birthday Celebration: A "Mysterious" Quote

Now that its March 14th (3/14), Pi day and Albert Einstein's Birthday have fallen upon humanity for another time. To commemorate these two events, I have written a little description of one of my favorite Einstein quotes and have given you a little "pie" treat:

Albert Einstein - "The Father of Modern Physics"

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious.
It is the source of all true art and science.
He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe,
is as good as dead: his eyes are closed."
-Albert Einstein

        Despite his mind-blowing achievements in the field of physics and cosmology, Albert Einstein was a profound philosopher and intellectual on life. He put in writing many thoughtful quotes about science, education, the universe, and life; many of which are based around the concept of “imagination and creativity.” In 1931, the quote above was published in one of Einstein’s essays, “The World As I See It,” that was originally published in “Forum and Century,” the thirteenth in the Forum series, Living Philosophies. In this quote, Einstein explains that it is human nature to seek answers to problems that arise or things that humanity does not understand; he is showing how mankind is inclined to be curious and how it is this curiosity that drives people to hunt for justifications and explanations for the many complexities of life.
        In the first two sentences, Einstein describes how mystery is beautiful because it makes people engage their mind and actively think, search, and look for answers to the most complex problems in life. Furthermore, it is this unwavering desire to solve problems and explain mysteries through graceful inventiveness and ingenious, tedious scientific research that causes spectacular discoveries in science and works of art to be discovered or created. For the problem-solving scientist, although the best achievement would be to find a life changing answer to a long debated question, true fulfillment and pleasure arises from the path and steps that one takes to move toward the final goal. Artists, nonetheless, use their mind, imagination, and creativity to create wondrous works of art for generations to take pleasure in. Both are trying to answer humanity’s favorite question, “What if . . .?” It is that small spark of curiosity and intrigue that is inside every human being that allows for the creation of magnificent pieces of art, the pursuit of the highest levels of education, the solving of complicated puzzles, and the discovery of new scientific inventions. Mystery is beautiful because of the wonderful things that are created when humans engage on a quest to find answers.
        In comparison, the last two lines of the quote has Einstein issuing a warning to all of mankind about what will happen to humanity if people refuse to see the wonder in everything around them. For human beings that do not have curiosity or any interest in solving mysterious occurrences, the world to them may well be dead, and thus, they are dead to themselves. If people do not see any beauty in mystery or any remanence of grace in the unknown, then what is there to motivate or drive them to achieve something great? Why should an artist pour out his/her soul into a work and try to express themselves to others? Why should a scientist spend hours scouring his/her mind, trying to find the solution to a snag in the research? The answer to these questions is “human nature.” Humans strive, desire, and need to find meaning in the things they comprehend and even in those things that cannot be easily observed. If people are not able to just stop their busy schedule and stand for a moment, amazed with the “awe”-some world, then their eyes are closed; they cannot see the world in its true value or make any contribution to society.

And now sit back, grab a piece of pie, and enjoy the first 500 digits of pi:
Pi = 3.
1415926535 8979323846 2643383279 5028841971 6939937510 5820974944 5923078164 0628620899 8628034825 3421170679 8214808651 3282306647 0938446095 5058223172 5359408128 4811174502 8410270193 8521105559 6446229489 5493038196 4428810975 6659334461 2847564823 3786783165 2712019091 4564856692 3460348610 4543266482 1339360726 0249141273 7245870066 0631558817 4881520920 9628292540 9171536436 7892590360 0113305305 4882046652 1384146951 9415116094 3305727036 5759591953 0921861173 8193261179 3105118548 0744623799 6274956735 1885752724 8912279381 8301194912

Smells good!!!!
: )

Albert Einstein Sitting: Public Domain -,_by_Doris_Ulmann.jpg
Albert Einstein Signature: Public Domain -
Pie Symbol: Public Domain -
Apply Pie: Public Domain -
When quote was published -
Digits of Pi -

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

"The Fastest Ice on Earth" - Conservation of Momentum in Short Track Speed Skating

On February 12, 2010, the stunning opening ceremonies to the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics were held at BC Place in British Columbia. This ceremony opened the 21st Olympic Winter Games in which the USA was awarded over 37 medals and Canada got its first gold on home land (over 14 golds, leading the gold count for the Olympics). For me, one of the most exciting sports to watch and one that I knew little about was Short Track Speed Skating. These athletes need to have speed, agility, athleticism, and aggression in order to excel in the races. Not only is Short Track exciting to watch, but it is also filled with physics, like all of the other sports in the winter Olympics.

Below is a link to and an embedded "Prezi" that gives a little history of Short Track, describes its rules, equipment, winners, and illustrates how the Conservation of Momentum and the Conservation of Energy apply to the sport that moves at a lightning speed:

I could not have done this project without my partner Cyrus. Thanks so much for your help and collaboration. It was such an enjoyable experience. Here is his Blog: "A Phlight Through Physics"