SFA Physics Olympics - Joins with the SFA STEM Day
To learn more about STEM Day, click on the link below.
Physics, Astronomy, Engineering
MarsQuest: Exploring the Red Planet in the Planetarium
Ed Michaels, Planetarium Director
MarsQuest traces humanity’s centuries-long cultural and scientific fascination with the planet Mars. In first part of the program we trace Mars through history – from an "incantation" of the various War God forms given by different cultures, to the early observations of Schiaparelli and Lowell, and the infamous "canals" which led to science-fiction stories about Martians. We hear excerpts from H. G. Wells’s "War of the Worlds" and Edgar Rice Burroughs's "Barsoom" novels.
The second part of the program details the Mars of our time -- as seen in the night sky, through binoculars and telescopes, and from our Mars explorations. Mission findings from Viking, Pathfinder and Mars Global Surveyor feature reports on Mars weather, climate, and areology. We compare the climate and terrain of Earth and Mars, and present the current thinking about the areologic history of the planet, and a rationale for future exploration.
The third part examines where on Earth we can prepare to live on Mars, what will be needed to get crewed missions to the Red Planet, and what the first landing may be like. The show ends with “Rhapsody on a Red Planet,” a poetically-styled “ode to Mars,” this time from a future perspective; an eloquent soliloquy tracing the efforts that led to humanity’s first footsteps onto the desolate and dusty Martian surface.
Physics Magic Show
Walter Trikosko, Harry Downing, Ali Piran, Dan Bruton
This show is a demonstration of physics "magic" by SFA physics professors. Unlike the magic shows performed by magicians, where they keep their tricks secret, the physics "magic" can all be explained using simple physics principles and can be performed at home with some practice. The purpose of the presentation is to show people that physics is an experimental science, it is exciting, and it can be a lot of fun!
“Lay a little music on me.” Using simple plastic tubes music is created by participants hitting themselves or perhaps their neighbors with the tubes.
“So you think you see the light.” After viewing different colored pictures on a slide for 20-30 seconds participants will have the stimulus removed and will see the complementary colors of what they had been viewing.
Don't break the Egg!
Objective: To design a container that will protect a Grade A Large egg from a fall of about 13 meters (3 stories) onto a concrete surface of area approximately 3m x 2.5 m.
Apparatus: Each team will construct one container before the day of the competition. Each team will be responsible for the secrecy of their design. We will provide the eggs and theywill be raw.
Regulations: The container must be able to fit inside a box of dimensions 40 cm x 40 cm x 40 cm. Its mass must be less than 1 kg. The container may be constructed of any kind of material. There will be a five-minute time limit to load the egg into your container on the day of the event.
Procedure: The container will be dropped from a hinged board, extending from a balcony over a concrete surface. The container does not have to survive the fall, but the eggmust. A cracked or broken egg will disqualify the entry. The judge will inspect the egg within one minute of the drop. Only one drop will bemade for each team's device. Scoring: Scoring will be based on the following equation:
Score = Mass + (10 * Time)
where Mass = mass of the egg container in grams (not including the egg) and
Time = time in seconds from release of the device till its impact.
The device with the lowest score is the winner.
Objective: To program a robot to navigate through an obstacle course in the minimum amount of time.
Apparatus: Each team will be provided with a NXT Mindstorm Robot and a laptop.
Procedure: Each team will use simple symbolic programming elements to direct the robot to move or turn. The team that completes the course in the minimum amount of time is the winner. If no team completes the course, then the team that travels the farthest distance along the course is the winner.