Sunday, March 20, 2011

On Survey Forms and the Final Lab Meeting

March 18, 2011; 8:30-11:30; NIP R108

Today was the last official lab meeting since classes would end next Tuesday. This meeting, we were quite chill because we didn't have to perform an experiment- we just had to answer a set of surveys documenting our satisfaction with the lab course in general and also the things that we learned in the duration of the course.

He also gave us a calculus evaluation which I found pretty useful. Considering that our final exam for Math 53 is next week, the evaluation opened my eyes that I have forgotten a great deal about differential calculus.

Sir Pacho also told us the itinerary for the following week- our creative work presentation in front of the panel and our practical exam. I,for one, am quite nervous for both of these tasks primarily because the two have a big impact on our final grades. Considering my performance for the whole semester, I don't think that I have performed as well as I could.

I learned a lot from Physics 101.1, particularly the topics about error and scientific paper writing. It made me realize how hard it is to write a formal paper given limited time. Overall, this course was challenging yet rewarding at the same time.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

On Densities and Archimedes' Principle

March 11, 2011; 8:30-11:30; NIP R108

This meeting marked the day of our special project wherein we decided to perform an experiment on fluid mechanics, specifically an experiment goaled at measuring the mass of a lemon and a block of wood by noting the buoyant force they give when immersed in three different liquids, namely, water, alcohol and cooking oil.

The first thing that was done was to measure 100 mL of each liquid in each beaker and noting the mass that the liquid contributed. The mass divided by 100 mL constituted the density of the liquid. After which, we measured the theoretical masses of the lemon and block of wood. Then, we immersed the two objects in each medium. We noted the volume of liquid displaced and multiplied it by the calculated density of the fluid. This was the density of the object at hand.

Archimedes' principle states that when an object is fully or partially immersed in a fluid, the fluid exerts an upward force equivalent to the object's weight. This principle served as the basis for our experiment, and we actually tried
to immerse three different objects, the other one being a chunk of styrofoam. Unfortunately, the styrofoam was too light to exhibit a nonnegligible volume of liquid displaced. We needed more precise measuring tools.

I had a very hard time speaking this meeting because of two big canker sores in my mouth, which caused me to be really uncomfortable the whole meeting, actually the whole day. Apart from that, it was also during this meeting that Mac and I were reunited with Peter. The three of us were quite efficient as a group, each member having a definite role to perform.

Admittedly, I was really confused with the concept at first, since fluid mechanics isn't (and I think never will be) my forte. Still, I performed my part and got it all together in the end. The experiment was smooth sailing and we finished ahead of time.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

On the Special Project

March 4, 2011; 8:30-11:30; NIP R108

We were late this meeting, thereby our promise that we wouldn't be late this meeting was broken.

There were no experiments performed this meeting nor there was a discussion of some sort. Our primary goal this meeting was to think of an experiment that we would perform next week that would demonstrate our knowledge on the topics of 101.1.

It may seem easy at first, but, really, it's not. One of the most difficult things for me to do in a science class is to think of some novel idea/experiment. This problem is rooted back in HS wherein we were supposed to think of something like this every year. Seldom did I think of something immediately; I needed some assistance from my teacher when thinking of an experiment.

Here in 101.1, the experiment was to be performed as a group, therefore I would be accompanied by bright physicists that would possibly concoct something great in their minds. After incessant brainstorming, one group member suggested that we do an experiment on fluid dynamics- finding the density of an object by immersing it in an oil and water solution by pressure analysis.

It was really awesome that Sir Pacho accepted the idea because we were the last group that did not have an experiment yet.

I am really happy that no technical paper is needed next meeting, therefore it would be a sure thing that we wouldn't be late.