After our lab, we were given a lecture by Penn professor Dr. Ken Lande. Dr. Lande focuses his research in experimental astrophysics and the investigation of fusion energy. His lecture was one of the most interesting yet. He discussed the energy crisis and the different options we have in fighting it. According to Dr. Lande, our options for alternative energies include photo-voltaic solar light converters, solar thermal concentrators, wind turbines, bio-fuels, and nuclear power. The most viable solution of these choices at the moment is the implementation of wind turbines. This is because they are cheap to produce and construct (relative to the other choices) and they are the most efficient form of capturing natural energy. I was very interested to hear about what Dr. Lande said about the best form of alternative energy was because I had to debate that very topic three years ago in Forensics. He also discussed the use of nuclear power, primarily fission reactors. The US has only one-hundred and two fission reactors that we use for twenty percent of our energy needs. France has many more reactors and supplies 70% of its energy needs using fission. It is astonishing how politics can get in the way of what could possibly end one of the most significant issues of the century, certainly of my lifetime. I asked Dr. Lande about the use of IFRs (Integral Fast Reactors) and whether they were more or less safe and about their efficiency after the lecture. He told me that this style of fission reactor was incredibly efficient and was proven to be safe, but because of the political climate and decisions made around the ‘70s the project was put on hold indefinitely (thank you SO much former President Carter). I enjoyed Dr. Lande’s lecture very much and it was clear that Bill had been saving one of the best for last.
After our guest lecture and lunch, Brian, Julia, Mike, and I met back at DRL to begin our PowerPoint presentation on the Sooperdooperlooper, the roller coaster we had to analyze during our time at Hershey Park. We did not finish the PowerPoint at the labs because Mike had to commute back home and we preferred to finish at the dorms. We decided to include some history on the ride and a detailed description of what riders experienced while on the coaster. In addition to these, we had to type up descriptions of the physics behind the ride, which is the real meat of the presentation. We conclude our presentation with our graph data on the different accelerations of the carts as well as the altitude throughout the ride. Following our graphs, we will show the video we took of the ride, even though the protective bar on the cart obscures most of the view. Due to the low quality of our video, we also included a link to the YouTube video that shows the ride from a first-person point of view. The video is much better than ours and I think it will be a great way to conclude the presentation. I have a lot of confidence in our presentation as well as the data we will be presenting.
After putting the finishing touches on our PowerPoint, I headed down to a large field near the DRL to play in what was supposed to be the staff vs student ultimate Frisbee game. This wasn’t exactly how it played out because there were only three RCs. It was still a great game, regardless, and I definitely had a lot of fun. I even got to know a couple of the RCs better that I had not had the opportunity to meet previously. I also surprised myself in this game because I was a lot more useful to the team than I usually am. Usually I just hang around the other team’s goal, unnoticed by the other team for the first few goals of the game, and wait for my teammates to get the Frisbee. I can usually get a few goals this way because I am relatively open and already near the goal while everybody on the other team has to run back to play defense. Instead, I was much more mobile in this game. Although throwing was still my Achilles heel, I was playing more offensively by intercepting and blocking throws, in addition to my usual strategy. It was a great game concluding game of ultimate Frisbee and I will miss playing such a fun game with my Penn peers.
The rest of the night was basically just spent lounging around the dorm. Fred, Onur, Alison, Brian, and I were all quite tired from our intense game of Frisbee so we did not feel like doing much of anything. We all sat around in my dorm listening to music, sharing our favorite videos on YouTube, and playing a game called QWOP. In this game, you control an Olympic runner and you have to control his thighs and calves using the Q, W, O, and P buttons in order to make him run. It is nearly impossible to control the runner, but it is incredibly entertaining to watch. We also ordered Insomnia Cookies and had them delivered to the dorm. It was quite the evening, even though we didn’t do much of anything. We just enjoyed each other’s company.
Three days remain.