Jan 242017

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Newton!

If you have stopped in Whistle Stop Books or the Cambria Toy Station in the last few years, there is a good chance you stopped for a minute and  played with the Newton’s Cradle, a desk toy named after Sir Isaac Newton and based on one of the key principles of Newtonian physics. The “toy” illustrates the laws of inertia (Newton’s 1st Law of Motion), conservation / F=ma (force=mass * acceleration-Newton’s Second Law of Motion),  and Newton’s Third Law of Motion: “for every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.” 

Want to know more about Newton’s Cradles?  (None of which are appropriate for the average elementary student–above their pay grade, but interesting reading if you want to know more before you talk to the said same six or eight year old)…

Try This @ Home

Pick a couple of projects from the Harvard Natural Sciences Lecture Demonstrations Collection. A great collection of science projects and experiments for home and science fairs…some very cool stuff.  Start with Newtonian Mechanics.

Build your own Newton’s Cradle from Scratch (Compliments of the folks at Cornell). If you want to do Newton’s Cradle experiments, but you don’t want to go to the trouble of making one, swing by the Cambria Toy Station and pick up a Newton’s Cradle of your own.


Geek Birthdays and Adventures

  • Alan J. Heeger (b. 1936). Physicist and Mathematician.
  • In 1992, Dr. Roberta Bondar became the first Neurologist (& Canadian Woman in Space.

  •  In 1849, Elizabeth Blackwell became Doctor Blackwell, when she was awarded her M.D. from Geneva Medical College. She was the first female doctor in the United States.
  • In 1997, Madeleine Albright is sworn in as the first female U.S. Secretary of State. Learn what is involved in being Secretary of State…play “Crisis of Nations” on iCivics (requires Flashplayer).  Note, be sure to go through the tutorial before you start. You may also want to explore the other games in iCivics. Suitable for both adults and kids and is a great way to learn how government works!
  • Michio Kaku, American physicist and academic was born in 1947.

  • Ilya Prigogine, a Russian-American chemist and physicist, was born in 1917 and won the Nobel Prize for Chemistry in 1077 for his dissipative structures and how they fit into thermodynamic systems and beyond equilibrium. Back to Newton…Prigogine, in his book The End of Certainty argued that “Newtonian physics has now been extended three times, first with the use of the wave function in quantum mechanics, then with the introduction of spacetime in general relativity, and finally with the recognition of indeterminism in teh study of unstable systems. (Wiki)  You can thank Prigogine for chaos.
  • In 2004, the Opportunity Rover (MER-B) landed on the surface of Mars. Opportunity is still scuttling around the Red Desert on Mars.

  •  Polykarp Kusch, German-American Physicist who won the Nobel Prize for Physics in
  • In 1949, the Palomar Observatory’s Hale Telescope, the largest aperture optical telescope (until 1976 when the BTA-6 was constructed) becomes operational.

  •  And, finally, in 1958, the Lego company patented their bricks, however the original wooden bricks were developed in 1932 by Ole Kirk Christiansen. Take a quick tour of Lego’s new design headquarters and factory in Billund, Denmark. Better yet, visit.

Physics and Math @ the Depot

Check out some of physics and math toys, kits, and books at the Cambria Toy Station…

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