Week of December 7, 2015

There are two weeks left until break and a little over five weeks until semester exams. Time is flying!

This Week in AP Physics
We will continue to explore circular and rotational motion with some exceptionally interesting notes, some challenging practice problems that will spill into homework, and our first of two experiments for this unit. You will have a formal lab report due for this experiment (but not for the second one.) Also, please expect a unit test at the end of next week. Important note: If you are interested in a test prep book, you may want to check out these new book reviews by an independent educational website. There are certainly some books I would caution against, and they are listed here along with some ones that may be better.

This Week in Physics
1st period: We will finish the extra experiment that we started this past Thursday and will then explore Newton’s third law, culminating in assignment 6, which we will do together in class. Expect a test on Wednesday or Thursday. Next up: Energy…For Friday please take notes on Podcast 1 – Gravitational Potential EnergyPodcast 2 – Positive & Negative Potential EnergyPodcast 3 – Elastic Potential Energy, and Energy Podcast 4 – Kinetic Energy. We will do energy assignment 1 together in class.
3rd period: For Monday please finish assignment 5, which is due (completed) at the start of class on Monday. We will go over this assignment on Monday and will then explore Newton’s third law, culminating in assignment 6, which we will do together in class. Expect a test on Thursday or Friday. Next up: Energy…For Friday please take notes on Podcast 1 – Gravitational Potential EnergyPodcast 2 – Positive & Negative Potential EnergyPodcast 3 – Elastic Potential Energy, and Energy Podcast 4 – Kinetic Energy. We will do energy assignment 1 together in class.
6th period: On Monday we will take a quiz over Newton’s second law and will then explore Newton’s third law, culminating in assignment 6, which we will do together in class. Expect a test on Wednesday or Thursday. Next up: Energy…For Friday please take notes on Podcast 1 – Gravitational Potential EnergyPodcast 2 – Positive & Negative Potential EnergyPodcast 3 – Elastic Potential Energy, and Energy Podcast 4 – Kinetic Energy. We will do energy assignment 1 together in class.

Cool Science of the Week
Researchers this week announced the development of an actual “tractor beam.” Using sound waves, the device can lift and move objects invisibly. What I think is the coolest potential use of this technology is the possible ability to create the experience of gravity (or artificial gravity, as it’s more commonly called.) Gravity is a force that requires the interaction of masses, so the creation of actual gravity in a spaceship or space station is impossible unless the spaceship has the same mass as Earth (although it could be simulated by spinning the craft just right.) However, perhaps these sound waves could create an experience similar to gravity by creating forces from above, allowing humans to maneuver in a space craft the way they do on Earth. (This could even help improve muscle tone in space – a problem for astronauts.)
Sonic Tractor Beam