Monday, July 11, 2011

Not Your Average Monday

Today was different in a lot of ways. First of all, Brian and I slept in until 8:00 even though it was a class day. We decided to sleep in and just eat the cereal we bought for our dorm yesterday. We were actually able to get everything done before we needed to leave the dorm. We may have to do this more often, but then we would miss out on breakfast with our gang. Either decision is a great way to start the day.
Bill wearing his awesome shirt
Today, Bill walked into class wearing something completely unexpected. He always dresses casually, but today he was wearing a shirt displaying pictures of Chuck Norris’ emotions (you can see them below).

Today we moved on from our discussions on mechanics and moved on to electricity. The lecture began with an introduction to charges. As most people know, there are two charges, positive and negative. We also learned that should the day come when more charges are discovered, their symbols will be the symbols for multiplication and division. At first, I thought this was a joke, but apparently it was a serious statement. In the middle of the lecture, we had a mini-lab testing the charges in tape. We ripped off pieces of tape from our desks and observed what materials they were repelled or attracted to. The lecture continued with discussions of voltage and current. Bill put it in a way that made the differences that much clearer. He described voltage as the quality of electricity and current as the quantity of electricity. I had already known this, but this perspective made the concepts that much easier to understand.

Bill wearing his awesome shirt.
Ryan (one of our TAs) covers the post-lab
After our lecture, we went into the lab to test the relationship between voltage and current. Before we could do that though, we had to get into our new lab groups. I was grouped with Onur, Lindsay Holcomb, and Michael Iskhakov. Lindsay is from New York and Michael is local to Philadelphia and has to commute to campus every day. They are both nice people and I look forward to getting to know them this week. In the lab, we used what seemed to be a military surplus battery from World War II. This battery was massive and was about a foot in length and about six inches wide and tall. We connected the battery to a resistor that was connected to the computer. This is how we could record our results. Also attached to the resistor and computer was a voltmeter. We observed from our graphs that as voltage increased, so did the number of amperes, which is the unit for electric current. Since everyone in my group had taken physics before, we were able to get through the lab pretty quickly because we were all knowledgeable about current and voltage already.

After the lab, we had lunch, which was followed by our second lecture. Unlike last week, we continued discussing the same subject, as oppose to something completely different than the morning lecture. We discussed how voltage drops over the distance it travels, but current does not. We then went into the lab to prove it. We used the same batteries, voltmeter, and wires but this time we attached it all to Play-Doh so we could stretch the substance that the volts had to travel across. We proved what we were told in the lecture, again fairly quickly because this was nothing new for my group, and observed that it was primarily distance that affected voltage drop. Of course, there are other factors that come into play, but that was the major one in this experiment. I have a good feeling about our lab group because we are already working very well as a team.

Craig (another of our TAs) helps us configure the data collection software
Michael and Lindsay watch the computer track our data

After class, I walked back to the dorms with Onur. We went our separate ways for the time being and I relaxed in my room for a while. Brian had gone to the gym, so I had the dorm room to myself. Since there was a lull in my group’s activity, I decided to take advantage of it and do some laundry. Later, we all met up again for dinner. Unfortunately, the commons were packed and we had to squeeze seven people into one table where there would usually be only four. Needless to say, it was quite cramped. After dinner, we played a massive ultimate Frisbee game. Although we were losing for the majority of the game, we called last goal wins and we were able to score. Fred, Alison, Onur, Richard, and I all went to 7-11 for a slurpee afterwards to cool off (and for Fred, Onur, and I to celebrate our victory). Afterwards, we all headed back to our respective dorms. I did the remainder of my laundry and then Brian and I completed the new surveys that were posted for some of the labs from last week.

Now my Monday is coming to a close. Ordinarily, one would expect Mondays to be dreadful because of the start of a busy week right after a relaxing weekend. Today was certainly not the case. I had fun practically all day today and I definitely did not have a case of the Mondays. On that note, I will sign off so I can enjoy the remainder of my evening and then sleep at a reasonable hour.


  1. Alex,

    There seems to be a missing chapter here. Yesterday you were lamenting the fact that you bought cereal and milk but forgot the spoons and bowls. Now, today we read that you rise from bed and have cereal for breakfast. Did the cereal fairies leave the bowls and spoons under your pillows while you slept?

  2. Point of clarification: We managed to scavenge for some plastic cups the night before and "drank" our cereal that way. Sorry Don, forgot to mention that.