Forces and Motion in the News

latino-professor-newspaperYou can’t talk about forces and motion without talking about Isaac Newton.  His three Laws of Motion were published more than 300 years ago, and yet their basic concepts—inertia, acceleration, momentum, and mass—are still the standard for how we discuss forces and motion today.  The laws may have been refined over the years (most famously by Einstein) but they still reign as incontrovertible scientific laws.  We couldn’t send the Hubble Space Telescope into orbit without Newton.

While there may not be much NEW about Newton’s Laws, there is still plenty to say about how they affect the world around us.  Read on for some interesting news reports related to forces and motion.  Let us know if you find an article you’d like us to post!

The Science of Friction in Earthquakes

In a giant earthquake, the fracture—where the two sides of the fault grind against each other—can extend for hundreds of miles.  What causes some rocks to break so easily?  Geologists have different theories but it turns out that the answer is related to friction, as this article explains.

A close-up of the test apparatus shows lubricating powder that formed when rocks were ground against each other to simulate earthquake movement. Image: Ze’ez Reches

A close-up of the test apparatus shows lubricating powder that formed when rocks were ground against each other to simulate earthquake movement.   Image: Ze’ez Reches

 


Inertia, Momentum, and Football

From a physics perspective, the game of football is all about overcoming inertia.  This short article from Scientific American asks the question, “How much momentum does it take to stop a running back?”

Forces and Motion in the News - Educational Innovations Blog


Inertia and Turbulence

For more than a century, the field of fluid mechanics has posited that turbulence scales with inertia, and so massive things, like planes, have an easier time causing it.  However, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania were able to show that this transition to turbulence can occur without inertia at all.

Data from the experiment, showing laminar (top) and turbulent (bottom) flow around the posts at the beginning of the pipe. Credit: Image courtesy of University of Pennsylvania

Data from the experiment, showing laminar (top) and turbulent (bottom) flow around the posts at the beginning of the pipe.   Image: University of Pennsylvania


Stealing Bases:  Head-first or Feet-first?

We enjoyed this Science News article about a mechanical engineer who explored a perennial question in baseball:  Who gets to the base faster, the head-first slider or the feet-first slider?

Forces and Motion in the News - Educational Innovations Blog

 


Breaking the Law

Can Newton’s Third Law be broken?  Scientists investigating the statistical mechanics of microparticles have discovered some surprising results.  Read on here.

In the new experiments, two layers of microparticles levitating at two different heights above an electrode have allowed researchers to investigate the statistical mechanics of nonreciprocal interactions, which violate Newton’s third law.    Images: A. V. Ivlev, et al. CC-BY-3.0

 


Hyperloop, Anyone?

This thrilling concept—billed as the “fifth mode of transport”—is designed to shuttle pods carrying passengers and cargo at speeds of up to 1,220 km/h (760 mph) through sealed, low pressure tubes.  There’s so much science going on here!  Your students will have plenty of questions after reading this Science Alert article.

Don’t miss the video animation of the Hyperloop in action.

 

 

 

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