Posts Tagged ‘Projectile Motion’

After another one of my web escapades (I seem to be having a lot of those now that I have four frees in one day), I discovered Walter H. G. Lewin, a Physics professor at MIT.  He’s gathered a diverse following of people from around the world and inspired many to begin to explore the wonders of Physics. 

Professor Lewin spends an average of 25 hours preparing his awe-inducing lectures and demonstrations.  Some demonstrations include firing a golf ball cannon at a stuffed monkey to show projectile motion and placing himself in the trajectory of a 33-pound steel wrecking ball to illustrate Hooke’s Law while counting on the conservation of energy to keep him alive.  You can watch a VERY entertaining video of this and more here.   

The following are quotes from people who have been greatly influenced/intrigued by Lewin’s teachings. (New York Times article)

“Through your inspiring video lectures i have managed to see just how BEAUTIFUL Physics is, both astounding and simple,” – – 17-year-old from India

“I walk with a new spring in my step and I look at life through physics-colored eyes.”  – – Steve Boigon, 62, florist from San Diego

“Hi, Prof. Lewin!!  I love your inspiring lectures and I love MIT!!!”  – – 17-year-old fan from China

“You are now my Scientific Father. In spite of the bad occupation and war against my lovely IRAQ, you made me love USA because you are there and MIT is there.”  – – Physics teacher from Iraq

“Professor Lewin…made me SEE … and it has changed my life for the better!!  I had never taken a course in physics, or calculus, or differential equations. Now I have done all that in order to be able to follow your lectures.  I walk down the street analyzing the force of a boy on skateboard or the recoil of a carpenter using a nail gun. Thank you with all my heart.”  – – Mr. Boigon

Professor Lewin tells his students, “Your life will never be the same. Because of your knowledge, you will be able to see way more…”  He is a truly inspiring individual in the field of physics, someone who has made the subject both fun and interesting for millions. 

 Go here to view Lewin’s popular online lectures.




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On Friday, I worked the late malasada (Iolani Class of 2009!) shift from 8:15 to about 11 at night. I got to do quite a variety of things from selling malasadas in the front to squeezing the little balls of dough in the kitchen to washing the extremely oily pans. It was rather busy and I’m sure that entropy was increasing steadily under that white tent.

Anyways, I witnessed a plethora of physics at the fair on Friday. First, over half of the games involved projectile motion when aiming object A at/over/into/onto object B. So if you were equipped with your lovely kinematic equations, an invisible ruler, and a robotic arm, the games should have been child’s play.

And nearly all of the rides involved spinning about an axis and centripetal forces that point radially inward of magnitude mv^2/r. Unfortunately, they don’t go nearly fast enough. We should really have roller coasters instead. 😀

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