SMILE Math-Phys HS Meeting
27 October 1998
prepared by Alex Junievicz

John Bozovsky [Bowen HS}

He passed out a cardboard fish and cut a slot from the center through the tail. He placed in a dish of water and place a drop of "Fish Go" in the slot and the fish was propelled by the substance exiting the slot in the tail. The "Fish Go" fuel turned out to be Three-in-one machine oil, and the fish was propelled because of Newton's Third Law, like a rocket.

Magdalena Lilisa [Good Counsel HS]

She talked about the size and internal structure of atoms. She demonstrated a method of indirect investigation, using Bags filled with play-dough to simulate particles and learning the size and shape of the contents indirectly by using a needle or something passing through the object.

J J Thomson discovered the electron in 1898 [see AIP home page for information on the centenary celebration] and developed a "plum pudding" model of the atom. According to Lee Slick [Morgan Park HS], the stuff is marginally edible! This atomic model was disproved by the experiments of Geiger and Marsden [circa 1908] of alpha particles from gold foil. The occurrence and understanding of "hard scattering" events [only 1/10000 of the total number of scatterings] led to development of the currently accepted Rutherford Nuclear Atomic Model, in which most of the mass of the atom lies inside a tiny nucleus.

Somebody [?]showed us several line pictures that changed their apparent proportions when rotated.

Earnest Garrison [Chicago Vocational HS]

He talked about astronomical units He had us line up in the hall, each with a sign for a planet (or the asteroid belt) Note: If the sun is a building, the closest planet would have to be several blocks away.

Porter Johnson commented that at the Westerbork Radio Antenna Array in The Netherlands there is a 4 kilometer path through the woods showing the solar system to scale. The sun is a 1 meter ball, whereas Pluto is visible only with a lens. According to Bode's Law [if you include the asteroid belt] the average distance of planets from the sun doubles from one to the next. The orbits of planets are roughly circular, except for the closest [Mercury] and most distant [Pluto], and the planets have a common orbit plane [the ecliptic], at least approximately. According to Bill Shanks, there is a layout of the solar system to scale along a bike path near Peoria.

Carol Zimmerman [Lane Tech HS]
added several limericks as mnemonics for identifying the planetary order.

   My      Very    Educated   Mother  Just   Served   Us  Nine    Pizza-pies
   Mary's  Violet  Eyes       Made    John   Stay     Up  Nights  Planning
The Planets

Name                     Distance to Sun                Radius
                         [Earth = 1.0]               [Earth = 1.0]             
Mercury                       .39                        .38
Venus                         .72                        .95 
Earth                        1.0                        1.0 
Mars                         1.5                         .53 
Jupiter                      5.2                       11. 
Saturn                       9.5                        9.4 
Uranus                      19.                         4. 
Neptune                     30.                         3.8 
Pluto                       39                           .31 
*Planet X
[X=10 or "unknown"]        100. ?                         ??

*The effects of the known planets do not explain the motion of the planet Neptune. Some astronomers expect a tenth planet far beyond the others.

Bill Blunk [Joliet Central HS]

   Pasco is once again stocking the air rocket.
         $24 for the complete set (Pump-Projectile-Washer)
         $11 for the body only

***A Newmenon := a new Phenomenon

He showed a device and asked us what it was. It was a noise maker in 3 pieces, called a Statue noise maker. It is sold in 3 parts to make transportation and storage simpler. It is available at K-Mart for $4.95. A warning is included to not use it closer than 1 ft to one's ears. [But then, how could one possibly blow into it to make the sound?? Perhaps it is OK, because the sound goes away from the user.]

***Comment by Porter Johnson:

One should make every effort not confuse this word with the Greek word noumenon, which is used Kantian philosophy as an object understood by intellectual intuition, without the aid of senses, as opposed to a phenomenon, which is a fact, circumstance, or experience that is apparent to senses and that can be scientifically described or appraised. It is important to be mindful of these distinctions, in case there are any philosophers "on the loose".

Ann Brandon [Joliet West HS]

She reviewed the difference between Scalars and Vectors.
She asked which of the following are vectors (V) or scalars (S):
Distance: (S)

She also showed a game in which velocity vectors are illustrated. There was a sort of maze through which two players should travel in a race without hitting the walls. They could change the x- and y-components of velocity by only one unit from the previous move. The winner goes through in the least number of moves without hitting the wall.