Friday, July 15, 2011

Hershey Park

Today was the day I have been looking forward to this entire last week. Through some mistake with our alarm clock, Alex and I slept in until 7:50-10 minutes before we were supposed to be outside of the front gates. Luckily for us, our friend from one room over, Onur, is also in the physics program and he realized that we weren’t up so he woke us up. He was even kind enough to grab us some food for breakfast while we quickly got our act together by getting dressed, throwing cameras, cell phones, books, and iPods into our backpacks and headed downstairs. Thanks to Onur, we made it onto the bus in time and we had food to eat on the bus.

The next couple hours of hour day were not as adrenaline packed as the first 10 minutes, but they were still relatively enjoyable. Once I was settled I ate a light breakfast with the intent of filling myself up but not being so stuffed that I’d feel sick on the rides later. After my breakfast, I popped open a book and read for a good part of the ride. They also had a movie playing about the famous scientist Richard Feynman that I watched and found quite interesting. The movie was basically a biography of Richard’s life and it detailed how he became interested in science—which eventually led to him taking part in building the atomic bomb.

In the World War Two class that I took last year, I was the head of the prosecution in a mock war crimes trial with the defendant President Harry Truman. Through this two week long trial I became very aware of the various ethical aspects of dropping the bomb, but I have not yet had the opportunity to learn much about the development of the bomb. Because of this, I found the movie, which is called “Infinity’ by the way, to be quite interesting as a way of getting inside the head of one of the leading scientists of the time. Additionally, I intend to read the book “The making of the Atomic Bomb” which our teacher, Bill Berner, highly recommended.

Anyways, back to what we did today. Once we got off the bus, getting into HersheyPark went very smoothly. Even though Bill was carrying 50 or so pounds of electronics that easily made him look like a terrorist, the security was friendly and we were in the park in less than five minutes. Inside the park, we established a meeting spot where we got all of our gear for the morning. My group of four got our gear and we quickly headed to our rollercoaster of choice: the SooperDooperLooper.

We got on the ride with two of us looking completely ridiculous. We alternated who got to make the amazing fashion statement of wearing a fanny pack and who got to look highly suspicious by wearing a vest that held the camera in it. Although we looked ridiculous, we set up our 3-dimensional accelerometer, fastened our gear down and got ready to ride. The ride we rode lasted about two minutes for each run, and we went on a few times in a row to get several sets of data to make sure it was accurate. After we had gotten several sets of data, we returned our equipment to Bill and got ready to enjoy the next several hours at the park.

The roller coasters at HersheyPark were a lot of fun. Though I didn’t keep track of how many rides we went on, we tried every kind of ride you can imagine. We tried wooden coasters, smooth metal coasters, and my favorite, the hydraulically launched Storm Runner. Storm runner was my favorite because it accelerates you from 0 to 72 miles per hour in less than two seconds and you then go flying straight up into the air well over a hundred fifty feet.
The ride continues by careening down the other side and then doing some fancy loops. We rode several more roller coasters like this that I won’t bother to describe, but I had a really fun time on all of them especially because all of my friends were with me. In the afternoon we were pretty hot so we decided to try a water ride to cool off a bit. While we were repeatedly warned, we all went on the ride in our regular clothes and proceeded to be absolutely saturated with about 10 gallons of water each. After I wrung out my clothing, we headed to some more rides and before we knew it, it was time to head home.

As a last fun thing in the park, I went with Julia and watched her get a cool-looking design painted on her face. The ride back home went very smoothly just as the ride to the park had. We watched Harry Potter 7 part 1 (which I hadn’t seen yet so that was enjoyable as well). All in all, today was somewhat educational, and very very fun.
Who's got their hands in the air? Oh yeah, me.
Beautiful no?

1 comment:

  1. Brian,

    Do I really need to even say anything about the oversleeping? Weren't you all offered multiple travel alarm clocks off of Don's Bazaar Table? ARRGGH!

    At least you ate a healthy breakfast on the way to a place that sells stuff to rot your teeth and make you sick on their rides.

    Feynman used to give some pretty cool lectures. He was always a big hit. I had an opportunity to sit in on one when I was going to school--cool stuff.

    The development of the Atomic Bomb and the political ramifications is one of my specialties. While at Cal I got an A+ on a thesis I wrote called Scientists and National Policy Making which focused on the politics of the dropping of the first (and second) atomic bombs. I could loan you a couple or ten thousand pages of books on the subject.

    Were you close enough to catch the guy that tagged Julia's face with that graffiti? Experts say that the best way to prevent further tagging is to cover up the first tag right away. Of course, if this was a Caltrans sound wall they'd find some really inappropriate color to just spray paint over the original tag.

    Oh, just curious since you mentioned near the end of your blog that "today was somewhat educational", was there a purpose to this field trip? What was the purpose for taking the measurements? Aside from the lesson about wearing street clothes on a water ride. what exactly was the educational benefit of this trip? It certainly couldn't have anything to do with how the brain reacts to loud noises when it's in its sleep mode.