Apr. 16, 2020

Physics in the Natural World – Little Shop of Physics

Thurs, April 16 Evening [4:00 pm – 8:00 pm]  0.5 sem hrs / 7.5 contact hours

Presenters: Brian Jones and Sheila Ferguson, LSOP

Description: The natural world is full of seeming puzzles: Hippos spend their lives in water, and they look quite chubby, but they aren’t fat, and they can’t swim. Seals breathe air like all mammals, but they actually exhale before they take a deep dive. And there are animals possessed of what seem like superpowers: There are snakes who have a second set of vision organs that let them see in complete darkness. A dolphin can stun a fish with sound. The hairs on the body of a bee give it a “sixth sense” that lets the bee tell, from a distance, that a flower has been recently visited by another bee. A shark can sense your heartbeat. A dog can tell, from another dog’s growl, how big it is. 

In this session we’ll use physics as a tool to explain and explore the natural world, using it to explore all of these topics, and more. As with all Little Shop of Physics workshops, it will be active. We’ll spend our time making measurements and observations, sharing ideas and hypotheses, and then we’ll connect all of this back to the living world. Along the way, we’ll show you some superpowers that you possess. You can see beyond the rainbow. You have a rudimentary sense like that of a honeybee. And you, too, size up animals by their growls, whether you realize it or not!