Month: October 2016

# Root-mean-square speed

Root-mean-square speed

10/31/16

“How can we find the average kinetic energy of all of the atoms in a gas?”

We see gasses everyday, whether it be the atmosphere that we breathe, the substances that drive pneumatic controls, or the air that flows through air conditioner. However, we also know that the temperature and kinetic energy of a gas is contingent upon the speed of the gas itself. The problem is, since gases are composed of individual particles moving with only weak connections to one another, measuring the average velocity of the entire system probably sounds like a near-impossible task! Luckily, due to the labors of countless scientists, it turns out that such an endeavor is not impossible at all with the use of a conceptual tool known as the root-mean-square-speed. The root-mean-square-speed states that the average speed of all of the individual particles in a gas is proportional to the square root of the temperature of the gas divided by the molar mass of the molecules that compose the gas, all of which can be represented symbolically as vrms=3*R*T/(Molar-mas) ., with R being the gas constant 0.08205 Liter atm/molar * k, and T being the temperature in kelvin.

# Surface area

Surface area

10/30/16

“How can we quantize the exterior surfaces of geometric objects?”

It is safe to say that almost every human individual can easily relate to three-dimensional objects. However, mathematicians do not feel suffice with just simple qualitative descriptions of space, but rather they seek to go deeper, into the quantitative realm. And as such, they will take processes and patterns that we see everyday and systematize them in a rigorous manner. One of the properties that mathematicians will analyze include the surface area of a three dimensional objects. To put it in simple terms, the surface area of an object is the outer layer that envelops it (think of something like skin on a human). Measuring the surface area has many practical applications in the natural sciences. For example, in physics we can use the surface area of a Gaussian surface to measure the electric field due in a certain area with Gauss law, and in biology by using the surface area to volume ratio of a cell membrane to quantize how rapidly a substance will spread from the interior the the outer coating. All in all, surface area is a fascinating concept with numerous applications to the real world.

# Some of my thoughts on environmentalism

Some of my thoughts on environmentalism

10/29/16

“Hey Isaac, what are your thoughts on environmentalism?”

Environmentalism is a word that gets tossed around a lot nowadays. This word probably has more diffuse meanings to different people than the wavelengths of light that we can see. However, I would like to offer my own views on the subject matter, as I think they would be at least somewhat pertinent to the global discussion about this world issue.

For me, environmentalism is not about saving trees, but rather it is about saving us. Fundamentally, human civilization is not a separate entity from the habitat that it inhabits. Therefore, all long term destruction to the surrounding world contributed by our action will in time cause large scale repercussions on us, a sort of natural karma. For example, by overextending the limits on it’s water supply, my beautiful home state of California is now experiencing a drought on a scale that has not been seen in a millennium. As a result, the lives of innumerable farmers have been shattered, wildfires are spreading like a virus,  and billions of dollars have been diverted from other sources, all amounting to a greater loss than was saved because choosing the more supposedly “practical” anti-environmental route.

And to make matters worse, humanity still has not taken heed. Currently, Human generated and consumed energy is on the order of 16 Terawatt-hours per hour and climbing!  And to make matters even worse, over 84 percent of this energy is generated by non-renewable sources. And one must keep in mind that most of this energy is used by the developed world, and with the developing world rising, this could imply that we could go way beyond what it currently is.

“So what must we do?”

Well, what we need to do is have a complete paradigm shift regarding not only the energy source of society but even the basic infrastructure, and at a very quick rate.Think of it in this way: When a child is young, their metabolism is very high, and they can consume as much unhealthy food as they desire without any repercussions. However,as they get older, that metabolism will give way, and they will begin to feel the consequences if they continue their grievous habits. In order to prevent such an occurrence, the child needs to develop proper eating habits as soon as possible. As I can conceptualize it, human civilization for the past few centuries has been a spoiled child devouring as much unhealthy resources as possible, and since we are just on the cusp of adulthood, we are thrusted into a situation (to quote a great mentor of mine) where we need not gradual emancipation but immediate emancipation from fossil fuels.

We need to invest much more time and energy in developing the skills of not only young scientists and engineers but also policy makers, urban planners, and even community members to take action and design such new systems. We need to shift our civilization’s infrastructure and technological paradigm away from relying upon outdated ways of thinking and doing into new ones equipped to handle the issues of the 21st century. But most importantly, we must help guide the developing world through their construction into making the fundamental operations of their society to to be sustainable, so they can have our quality of life without our level of destruction..

So in summation, the current degradation of the environment will cause our eventual destruction, and we need to completely shift our paradigm to prevent our civilization’s. As I like to say, humanity walks faster looking forwards.

# Electroluminescence wire

Electroluminescence wire

10/28/16

“How can we make a wire that emits light?”

Electricity is something that is plentiful and available to us on a regular basis. And we know that we can convert it into something such as light. However, is it possible to make a form of wire that emits light around it? Well, let’s think about it. We know that copper is a very good conductor. Not only that, but it is also a very ductile material, allowing it to be bent and stretched into a wire.So maybe our device could include some copper, as it would allow it to conduct electricity very efficiently. But now we need something to light up from all of this electricity. Well, luckily for us, engineers have created a material called phosphor lubricant which emits light when a current passes through it. Now that we have the basics, lets build our machine. First, we should take a solid copper core covered with phosphor lubricant to act as our electrical light emitting source. Then we should encircle it with twin strands of copper wire to allow the electricity to access it. afterwards, all we need to do is apply an alternating current, And we have just made ourselves a light-producing wire! This contraption, termed electroluminescence wire, can be commonly found in a very common object, neon lights!

# Why science is not about truth

Why science is not about truth

10/27/16

Although this might sound completely iconoclastic, I would say that the worst thing a you could learn from a science class is that everything you have learned is true. This type of thinking is completely contradictory to the soul of what science is. Before we go on any further, we need to have a basis for what science is. According to the Encyclopedia Britannica, Science is defined as “any system of knowledge that is concerned with the physical world and its phenomena and that entails unbiased observations and systematic experimentation.” To break it down, science is about building a network of knowledge about the natural world using empirical observation and testing. And that word observation is what science is truly about. We do not know what processes go on in the universe, we simply know what we perceive them to be. We can’t state these processes as fact, but we can state what we have observed

“So Science is not about truth, shouldn’t that mean that I don’t have to take everything it says seriously? I mean, I might as well believe in fairy tales or engage in climate change denial or spout that vaccines cause Autism “

No!! If you think this then you still are not getting the point. Even though we can not state these results as a matter of fact we still need to respect what it says. This probably sounds very confusing at first, how can something be not true yet we can’t just forsake it? Well, ll, let’s think about it. Fundamentally, science is a framework of organized knowledge.  In fact, in the German language, the world for science translates to “Wissenschaft” or “knowledge-build”. And in order to build upon this knowledge for a particular subject, a new theory must pass through rigorous empirical validation, meaning that it’s central components have gone through numerous trials to sort out it’s accuracy. And once it is confirmed for accuracy, it can officially be considered apart of the canon. And if later results show that a theory proves to be inaccurate or incomplete, then it must be updated as so. And this is what differentiates science from other forms of obtaining knowledge. With science, your entire argument must be based on hard, solid evidence. It can’t just be on what “feels good”.

To sum it up Science is not a collection of “truths” but is an empirical and inductive method of building a rigorous framework of knowledge, and is something that must be respected.

# Building foundations

Building foundations

10/26/16

“How can we transfer the loads of buildings into the ground?”

Buildings are one of the omnipresent features of human civilization. Even though they come in all different shapes and sizes, they all have one thing in common, a foundation. A foundation is what transfers all of the loads of a building into the ground for support. There are three main types of modern day supports used in structural engineering: Shallow foundations which are typically simple shapes such as rectangles or circles that run around 1 meter in to the ground, deep foundations which transfer the load even further than shallow foundations (typically all the way to the more sturdy subsoil), and monopile foundations (typically used in offshore structures) which transfer the support load all the way down into the seabed.

# Ionization energy

Ionization energy

10/25/16

“How can we measure the amount of energy needed to remove an electron from an atom?”

From common knowledge, we know that if we want to remove an object, it would require energy. So it would logically follow that if we would want to remove an electron from the orbit of an atom, it would require energy as well. Now since atoms come in a diffuse number of sizes as a result of the different combinations of protons and electrons, how can we find a pattern to quantify which elements require more energy to remove an electron? Well, let’s think about it. As mentioned earlier, each atom will come in a different number of sizes. Furthermore, it can be observed that the larger the size, the more decrepit the hold of the nucleus will be on the orbiting electrons. From this reasoning, we can deduce that the larger the radius, the smaller amount of energy would be required to take an electron. This phenomena is termed Ionization energy, and to observe the pattern for ionization energy, one simply has to remember that since ionization energy is inverse to the size of an element, the further up and right one goes on the periodic table, the stronger the hold of the nucleus on the electrons will be. As a result, elements on the left side of the periodic table tend to be better oxidizers since it does not take too much energy to ionize them, while the opposite is true for elements further to the right side of the periodic table.

# Material fatigue

Material fatigue

10/24/16

“What happens when a material is subjected to multiple loads in a period of time?”

We all know that materials respond to loads through deformation. But what happens when a material is subjected to a heavy amount of cyclical loads? Well, let’s think about it like engineers. We know that when a material experiences a large amount of stress, microscopic cracks begin to appear in it’s structure. And we also know that if the structure continues to withstand more damage, then these cracks will be exacerbated until a rupture occurs. This effect (termed by engineers as material fatigue) can cause a structure to collapse even if the applied stress is far below the yield point.

# Electron affinity

Electron affinity

10/23/16

“How can we measure the energy used when an electron is added?”

We know that the energy of an atom changes when an electron is added. But how can we measure so? Well, we know that electrons are always placed into orbitals. And we know that an element’s oxidation state is contingent upon the numbers of orbitals filled. And on top of that, the more orbital shells are filled, the smaller the radius becomes, therefore magnifying the force. So wouldn’t it make sense that it is easier for an electron if most of the valence shells are filled? Therefore, electrons become easier to add the higher occupancy of orbitals.This makes sense because as we move from left to right, elements tend to become more negative in their reactions. Scientists have termed this principle electron affinity.