SPS Problem of the Week

A bored astronaut plays with a measuring tape in space. He pulls out an arbitrary length of tape, and then lets go with both hands at the same time.

What is the ensuing behavior of the measuring tape?

Image result for measuring tape physics

Send a written solution that explains the behavior of the measuring tape, as well as a username you would like to be referred to by, to jason.gombas@hope.edu. We will publish the username of any student who provides a correct solution in next week’s post.

This Week in Physics

  • September 18 1977: Voyager I takes first photo of Earth and the Moon together.
  • September 19 1957: First underground nuclear test takes place in Nevada.
  • September 21, 1978: Two Soviet cosmonauts set a space endurance record after 96 days in space.
  • September 21, 2003: Galileo space mission ends as the probe is sent into Jupiter’s atmosphere where it was crushed.
  • September 22 1959: Saul Perlmutter, astrophysicist; shared 2011 Nobel Prize in Physics for providing evidence towards the idea that the universe is expanding at an accelerated rate.
  • September 23 1961: William “Willie” McCool, American astronaut; among those killed when Space Shuttle Columbia disintegrated while reentering Earth’s atmosphere (2003).
  • September 24 1970: The Soviet Luna 16 lands, completing the first unmanned round trip to the moon.

Congratulations to new Hope SPS officers

The Hope College Society of Physics Students (SPS) held their elections today!  Congratulations to the new officers:

  • Elizabeth Lindquist, President
  • Cole Persch, Vice President 1
  • Caleb Sword, Vice President 2
  • Jason Gombas, Blog master

The next SPS meeting will be September 23 at 3 pm.  Everyone is welcome to join!

Society of Physics Students attends Neil deGrasse Tyson lecture

Eight Hope students and two faculty members traveled to Grand Valley State University on November 13 to attend a public lecture given by famous astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson. The talk, “Science as a Way of Knowing,” was delivered to a sold-out crowd at the GVSU field house. Tyson is well-known for his previous work hosting PBS’s NOVA ScienceNOW and as director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City. Regarded as a prolific ambassador of science, he is the author of several popular science books and has made numerous appearances on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart and The Colbert Report.

The Society of Physics Students at Hope College is a student-run organization open to anyone with an interest in physics, regardless of major or profession. The group meets monthly to discuss and plan outreach activities, professional development, and social gatherings. While at the Tyson lecture, Hope physics students made the most of the opportunity–networking with their physics peers from Alma College, who were also in attendance. Pictured above are Hope students posing with their Alma counterparts.

Transit of Venus

Dr. Mader and Dr. Peaslee hosted a gathering of Physics Research Students and friends to watch the Transit of Venus last night.

Dr. Gonthier set up two telescopes, one for projection of the sun’s image, and the other with a solar filter for safe viewing. He also had a live feed to the telescope in the Harry F. Frissel Observatory in VanderWerf Hall on campus which was trained on the sun to take images during the Transit.  Solar viewing shades were available for direct viewing, although the ability to see the small black dot as it moved across the face of the sun varied from person to person.

The clouds rolled in later in the evening, but a few breaks in the clouds allowed everyone a glimpse of this twice-in-a-lifetime event (the previous one was in 2004, but the next one won’t occur until December 2117!) until sunset.