Creative Projects 2006


Phillip Jensen, Charlie Green, Ronnie Thompson
For our project we opted to tell the story of a poor disturbed physics student who struggles to overcome his lack of sporting ability with his knowledge of physics. The project included the trailer for the movie, which tells the story and a poster consisting of the formulas which can estimate the actions which occur in the recreation games of ping pong, foosball, and air hockey. We would also like to emphasize the point that sports ALWAYS beat physics.

View the Video

Karl Thumm - Video


P5030032  P5030033

David Cousins
My fourth quarter project consisted of a study of dispersion of forces on an architectural structure such as a Popsicle stick bridge. I decided to  us a bridge because I have always had a fascination with bridges. And after seeing and attempting to build one according to the Physics Olympics rules I became enthralled  by them. What I did was take only the concept of the Physics Olympics bridge and throw out the stick limit and the span distance. What I did was take what I perceived to be the strongest geometrical shape, an arch, and use that as a basis. Knowing I was going to have to hang weights from the road to test I decided to add additional support to the bottom. Having a stack of books act as a wall of a canyon or something of the sort. I put supports from the middle of the bridge connected to a vertical beam coming down flush against the wall, to give additional support to the middle section.



Fontaine Foxworth
My project involves a marble going through an obstacle course thingy. Initially I experimented playing with a marble on a horizontal plane versus one on a vertical plane. I ended up choosing using an angled plane since I wanted gravity to contribute to holding the marble onto the board as well as making it fall down the course. Beginning with a series of small levers, I applied a force to the end of the first lever which created a torque on the bar. This torque caused all the other bars to pivot, and the last one tipped a large marble off its stand. The marble progressed through a short series of elements, utilizing gravity to continue its motion. When it hit another lever, the lever swung around and hit a smaller marble, which then fell through a series of nails to reach its end


Matthew Enthoven
In my project, I constructed three bridges in an attempt to explain and demonstrate why arches are so strong. All three bridges were built with 100 popsicle sticks or less and glue, and were meant to span a gap of 20 centimeters. The first was built with popsicle sticks lying flat. The second was built with popsicle sticks lying on their sides. The last was built with the popsicle sticks forming arches. I had hoped that the last bridge would hold the most, but it unfortunatley didn't (due to poor construction and being untested before-hand). Arches should be able to hold a larger load than any of the other bridges due to the distribution of weight among the popsicle sticks.


Catherine Burke – Physics of Lacrosse
I decided to analyze different aspects of lacrosse because the weekend before the project we had 4 games and I therefore combined my different interests.  I made different measurements and used our recent study on torques to analyze how much force is necessary just to hold the stick.  I also calculated the angular velocity needed for a 40 mph shot.  I then made a life-size poster to show my work.

Other considerations- It doesn't look that impressive, but I spent a lot of time on each different aspect.  I also tried to incorporate how the muscles work in order to do more complex torque problems, but I got over my head into different measurements of strength and decided that it would be best not to mess up the problems that I did for my project.


Iana Gairdarski and Emily Whitcher
Goal: To reproduce the trebuchets from the Lord of the Rings to the best of our ability relying solely on the actual movie and no outside instructions.
It was early Sunday morning when Iana and I were discussing what we should do for our physics project.  I said we should do a watermelon catapult and she said that we should do something based on the Lord of the Rings.  So we put our two ideas together and decided to create a Lord of the Rings trebuchet.  After watching several scenes of the movie, we choose to recreate a trebuchet used by the Orcs in the Battle of Pelennor Fields (?).  We watched the battle scene several times and made sketches of the trebuchet.  We decided to rely solely on the video to recreate it and not to look up outside information about trebuchets.  While watching the video we decided to act out the part when the slain soldiers heads are shot over the castle walls using Barbie heads.  We also have an Aragorn doll that will explain the physics of the trebuchet.  The physics behind the trebuchet is fairly simple.  The lever acts as a torque bar.  The rock on the one end creates a greater torque so that the lever rotates.  When the lever hits the top, the projectile (Barbie head) continues to move because a force did not act on it (Newton’s First Law).  The mgh of the rock is the potential energy that will cause the projectile to move.  Ideally, mgh will transfer directly to the projectile so that the velocity can be found using mgh=1/2mv^2.  However, the energy must also be used to lift up the other end of the torque bar so in reality not all of the energy can be transferred to fire the projectile.


Moritz Sudhof
I wanted to express my fascination with physics in a creative way. The world all around me- all the stuff that happens out there- is guided by laws, and this year I've learned how to recognize and use these laws to figure stuff out. So I decided to put on a show: I dressed up as Julio, the Physics Wizard. I was going to defy gravity! First, I put a glass of water upside down but the water didn't come out. Then I floated in the air. Then a cylinder magically rolled up an incline instead of down.  Magic, you think. But, aha! I've been tricking you. The water didn't come out because I was spinning the glass so fast that it had all this centripetal acceleration and inertia going; I was floating because you can never really touch anything, not even the ground (there's no such thing as a contact force); I put weights on one side of the cylinder so that torques (sum of torques = I alpha) would make it angularly accelerate the other way- up the incline- instead of down. And really, that's where the true magic is: We know the rules that govern the world and we can manipulate them, work with them, and groove to them.

Listen to the Sudhof rap – click here



Amish Bhatia
Well, in this little story I made for my project, I tried to include as many inside jokes as possible while still keeping up with the focus on physics. While the story may have been a little bit ridiculous (just a little), the point of the story focused around Mr. Laba, and how his teachings can free you from other random dimensions. Anyway, I just tried to have fun with this story, and I actually included some physics problem (only one); I hope you enjoy!

Read Amish’s Story – click here

John Stevenson, Cole Erickson, Annie Matseuwitz
For our project, we decided to learn more about the powerful siege weapon, the trebuchet. We constructed a approximately 14 ft. tall trebuchet able to launch a lacrosse ball a fair distance; however, this project was not about getting something to go far, but to learn more about the mechanics of a trebuchet. From our project we were able to discern that even with a large amount of weight at the bottom (100 lbs. of barbells) the trebuchet needed even more weight to launch the projectile very far because of its immense size (i.e. the proportionality messed it up because it was so big).
Because the trebuchet shook a lot when we first built it, we decided to add wheels to the bottom to help keep it from killing itself. This is because the counterforce from when the weights went down pushed it backwards (the reactionary force was too strong for the original design).
We also learned that just because the trebuchet is in a lot of movies, it is not something that is easy to create.
We also considered a sling, but such an apparatus is very difficult to design efficiently (instead we used a lacrosse stick).