Blog posts with the tag Interested in Everything | Interested In Everything

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Blog posts with the tag "Interested in Everything"

If you’ve read my profile somewhere on this website (or indeed if you know me – I’m not a complete hermit), then you may have some idea of my background and know that my interest in science and technology goes back a long way. I was but a small child when the Hillman Imp incident occurred.  I was learning how to build stuff with Meccano at the age of eight. I built a working radio receiver when I was ten. By twelve, I had written my first computer program. Fast forward a bit and I was rebuilding cars and getting some qualifications in Mechanical Engineering. It’s been quite interesting, if truth be told.

 

Thinking back to my school days, science lessons were the highlight of my week. In the days before risk assessments turned everyone into quivering bundles of terror, we were actually allowed to do things that were vaguely dangerous and generally involved setting fire to things. I remember our ‘O’ Level chemistry teacher explaining how a fractionating column worked for distilling crude oil. Oh how we laughed when, half way through the demonstration, he almost burnt the lab down. Luckily, there were no smoke detectors back in the day, so he just doused the flames and carried on with the lesson. Then there was the time when my mate John managed to spill acetone all over the place and destroyed my pencil case. I could go on…

 

I had assumed that all that kind of stuff had been swept away on a tide of Health and Safety regulations about twenty minutes after I left school and that the tedium of boring lessons was one of the reasons kids aren’t taking up science much these days. I’m sure you can imagine my delight when I heard about this whilst listening to Radio 4 on my way home tonight. A 13-year-old Lancashire boy carried out nuclear fusion at an under-used school science lab. By his own initiative, he set about ordering the parts himself and  worked on the project during his free time. He also happens to be one of the youngest people in the world to carry out nuclear fusion — the previous record holder was 14-year-old American Tyler Wilson.

 

This makes every single one of my youthful science exploits look pathetic in comparison.  This young man will go far.

I really don’t know what else to say.  For once in my life, I really am lost for words.

These are just a few basic rules that form a basis for our understanding of physics.

 

 

To  recap, the first law states that:

  • An object at rest tends to stay at rest, and will remain at rest unless acted upon by an external force.
  • An object in motion tends to stay in motion, with same direction and speed.
  • Motion, or lack thereof, cannot change unless a force acts to change the motion.

Any change in motion involves an acceleration, which brings us to Newton’s second law:

 

 

F=ma where ‘F’ is the net external force on an object, m is the mass of an object and ‘A’ is the acceleration.

This law allows us to compare results of the same force exerted on objects of a different mass.

If you exert the same force on two objects of a different mass, you will get different accelerations, or changes in motion. For example, the effect of a 10 newton force on a golf ball would be much greater than that same force acting on a truck. This is due to the differences in their masses.

 

Newton’s third law states that for every action (force) there is an equal and opposite reaction.

 

 

As you can see from the example in our video, forces are found in pairs. There are no isolated forces. A system cannot pick itself up into motion with purely internal forces, to achieve a net force an acceleration it must interact with an external force.

 

Any questions? Still not clear?  Feel free to ask me anything or share your comments below. I look forward to hearing from you.