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2012 April 25

Circus physics

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 11:21
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The latest edition of the newsletter of the American Society for Engineering Education has an article about some great physics labs for schools that happen to be located near circus schools: An original dynamics course brings engineering under the Big Top Connections Newsletter—April 2012.

The idea is simple: a lot of circus acts are based on fairly simple physics.  Five acts that can be performed safely by novices with appropriate safety equipment were chosen, and students attempt them after modeling what should happen.  Standard physics-lab data logging equipment was used to gather and analyze data from the performances by students.

The five acts chosen were the German wheel, a bungee trapeze, the flying trapeze, the low-casting trapeze, and the Spanish web.  (Only the German wheel is shown in the article.)

This article has been a long time making it to print: the class was taught once in 2009.  I wonder how much it costs to put on a class like that—there are at least 2 suitable places in the San Francisco Bay Area (National Circus Center in San Francisco and Trapeze Arts in Oakland).  I suspect that they could attract a lot of Silicon Valley engineer families if they offered physics lessons along with the circus lessons.

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