March 17, 2006

Mirrors, Wax, and Bagpipes

Did the title of this entry confuse you? Good, that was its job. All three words describe one of the best physics classes I've had this year. It started with a lab. I love physics labs, they're just plain fun. This lab was absolutely fascinating. Place a candle on one end of a meter stick, a paper on the other end, and a lense inbetween them. The trick is to move the candle and the paper until the flame and candle are displayed on the paper in focus. It was really easy and very fun because we kept shining the light through the mirror and focusing it on people, trying to burn stuff, and just generally enjoying the magical world of optics. Well, we discovered that when candles melt they create wax (profound), so then we started playing with the wax. It was dripping all over the table before we discovered something productive to do with it. We folded our labs into envelopes and sealed them with wax. Yes, easily entertained. Now, for the bagpipes. Our teacher plays the bagpipes, and he brought them today. So, after waxing and burning and lighting we were serenaded by bagpipes for the last ten minutes of class. He was dressed up in the Scottish gear just like the guy in this picture and he played all sorts of stuff for us. Bagpipes are very loud in person, I had no idea. All in all, it was a very relaxing and nice day in physics. That's all.