Wednesday, April 26, 2006

More First Person Physics

"PGE Ball Park, my angle"
(photo by K. Urner)

For those of you new to this thread: I was recruited to serve as webmaster on an NSF grant seeking team, headed up by Dr. Bob Fuller, University of Nebraska at Lincoln, now emeritus. We were already on grant number one, but seeking to scale up, by addressing the needs of 2nd tier students, meaning all those choosing not to become physics majors (which is most of them).

Dr. Paul Urone, that year to spearhead the AAPT convention in Sacramento, was also present for our summit, held in Lincoln itself (cool Buckyball at the airport). His text books tend to typify the First Person approach; very appropriate for medical students (lots of focus on anatomy).

Every teacher at the APPT convention got a CD about studies in human motion (sort of like Bodies, but moving). We used sensors to generate XYZ trajectories for the various body parts (body part = data column in Excel), which we subsequently converted to movies (my movies used Python and POV-Ray, with source code included on the CD). Similar technology was used in Lord of the Rings to develop the character Gollum.

Rolling forward, I was at the PGE Baseball Park yesterday, with thousands of public school kids (my Tara included), bussed in for the occasion from all over town. We started with a lecture on Isaac Newton's three laws: inertia, force, and push back.

Volunteers came down from the "me me me" screaming audience, and demonstrated these three laws in action. For example, a baseball, not aimed at the dog (but coming close), didn't go on forever in a straight line trajectory. Why? That's right: Gravity.

Or we might credit Precession if in a synergetics namespace (or that'd be more for when we're not in some a "falling in" or "gravity well" situation, which we obviously were at PGE Ball Park).

I was on chaperone duty, and crammed my bulk into section 114, row R, tiny seat 11.

Between stellar plays (Bees versus Beavers), I continued devouring my airplane reading, purchased at Victoria Station on a night of wandering about London. By the end of the day, I'd finished the novel, attaining another personal goal (my garden, however, is still wild -- I've scheduled a consult for this afternoon).

I'll be showing some of those human motion movies in my Saturday Academy class, along with Warriors of the Net, a big hit at Winterhaven.

Update: the front yard's much better thanks to elvynchyx. Our family membership renewal to the Chinese Garden arrived in today's mail.

studies in human motion CD

:: proposal web site ::