ESC and the Physics Department

(People who can’t stand physics, skip this article. Sorry…)

I’m not a physics person, and half the time I can barely concentrate in the said class because (for Harry Potter fans) Physics 1 is pretty much Professor Umbridge teaching drivers’ ed. We can derive and use equations for cars moving down a straight road, on a banked road, tires slipping on ice, starting, stopping, crashing into trucks, etc. But we’re never going to touch a real car. Oh, we’re talking about [pretty much any concept in the mechanics section]? The demo is going to be dropping a piece of chalk into the prof’s hand from less than 0.5 meter. So sure, there’s all the real-life examples in the world, but we’re not going to get to them

Anyways, as much as I like Eurovision, the physics department seems to have found a way into the contest, either through the lyrics or through the music video.

Song: Saule Riet (Latvian national final 2014-Olga & Līgo)
Concept: Rotational motion, especially moment of inertia

Instead of complaining that this song may or may not have similarities to Avicii’s “Wake Me Up”, I’m going to complain about the dancing. The mechanical kinetic energy is rotational only for dancers in the middle, while it is split into rotational and translational for dancers in the outer circle. And then there’s moment of inertia: If the radius is larger, there will be a greater moment of inertia as the dancers aren’t changing mass significantly- which means more energy will be diverted to rotational energy when their skirts flare out…

Song: Satellite (Germany 2010- Lena Meyer-Landrut)
Concept: Universal Gravitational Constant

“You got me, you got me! A force more powerful than gravity; it’s physics…there’s no escape!”

The universal gravitational constant is 6.67×10-11,which is really small; the only reason why we can’t jump off the earth is because the earth is huge. Because of that, there’s no way that two 50 kg people across a theoretically 10 meter wide street would be attracted to each other through gravity alone (For anyone who did the math, that would be 1.67×10-9N). In this case, there has to be something to bring the two people together. Let’s try the force that Lena mentioned: love. It’s probably got a larger constant value than gravity, and it doesn’t involve charges like with electromagnetism. However, we don’t know if the value’s constant, or if the equation is even similar to universal gravitational force.

Song: Is it Right? (Germany 2014- Elaiza)
Concept: how much I don’t like physics lab

“Is it right? Or is it wrong? I can’t go on, you can’t go on. If you say yes or even no, you don’t know how and where to go…”

So this isn’t really about physics in general, but just about how much I don’t like the lab. Or at least the lab at the uni I attended was terrible and pointless with a monotone teaching assistant. Completing the lab wasn’t too bad, but all we did really was collect some data on Excel, graph it, and talk about the results. Points were deducted for pretty much no reason half the time, and the department didn’t help much. They would speed through the derived equations, look at us as though we were complete idiots, or just deduct points because we made incorrect measurements using a poorly-explained setup.

Song: Undo (Sweden 2014- Sanna Nielsen)
Concept: Entropy

So it’s really hard to feel whole after breaking up? Let’s say there’s a bigger chance of feeling better and moving on than a)un-lighting a match, b) un-burning a tree, c) un-breaking a glass jar, or d) cramming every drop of spray paint back into the jar after spraying it out. As entropy is constantly increasing, the universe gets more disorganized.

I’m sure there more of this is going to happen next year because of school related issues, but this shows how ESC can show up in almost every aspect of life. Let’s see where else the contest shows up?

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