Monday, July 11, 2011

Who Says Resistors Can't Be Fun?

Last weekend, a new batch of students came to Penn on a summer program outside of Summer Discovery. They seem very nice (we played a game of ultimate Frisbee with a couple of them) but they made the dining hall exceptionally crowded this morning. It didn't help that I was running a little late. I opted for the reject bagel so I wouldn't have to wait for a new batch. I'm not exactly sure what flavor it was, but it wasn't bad.

My day just got better from there. In physics we have finished up lenses and light and are moving on to electricity and magnetism, a subject that has always interested me because it is the most difficult for me to understand. Bill had a unique analogy to offer, equating charged fields to gravitational potential energy shown on topographical maps. I appreciate Bill's unique and imaginative ways of describing things. They help me understand the material on a much deeper level.

During the morning lab, we worked with Scotch tape and paper bits and observed the basics of attraction and repulsion, which was quite fun, followed by a longer lab with our new lab group about the relationship between voltage and current. Last week, I had an all girls lab group, and this week I am the only girl so the experience is very different, but just as pleasant. And because in my new group, we have all taken physics before, the lab went much faster and we got a 10 minute break to all get to know each other. They are all very friendly, and I ended up seated with some of them at lunch.

For the afternoon lab, we had a blast. The task was to identify the relationship between resistance, length, and diameter of our resistor. In order to manipulate its shape, we uses the ever-so-high-tech Play Doh as our resister. Once the lab was finished, we were free to go, but instead we spent a couple minutes regressing into our childhood. As you can see:

After class today, I was exceptionally tired, so I took a nap before dinner. Once we ate, Alex, Brian and I showed a group of our friends the pond we saw on the first day and we spent some time there relaxing and digesting before a game of ultimate Frisbee.

Once it got dark, we hit the lounge and learned a British card game that was very exiting. Mostly because I won 4 rounds in a row (much to the dismay of the Brit who taught us). I am really grateful that this program gives us so much freedom and time to take a break from studying to just hang out, we are already becoming really close!

1 comment:

  1. Julia,

    Let's see now, we send you 2000 miles from home so you can learn some new card games and play ultimate Frisbee? I'll have to mention this to the sponsors when we ask to finance next year's ILC program. :-)