If you were under the impression that being on the block plan means that you have class from 9AM-12PM and then you are free and wild, please be aware that, for science majors, this is rarely true. The block plan means that there is no procrastinating or class three times a week, and then lab maybe twice a week, or even class, lab and then some free time. When you are in a 400 level EV/Physics class, there is no rest for the weary. For examples, I have been working since 7:30 this morning, and am still sitting in my seat in the same classroom trying to complete last night’s homework which no one was able to finish, our lab, and tomorrow’s homework. It is inherent in the level of this course (this most difficult science course for an environmental science major) that time, energy, brain power, and possibly your soul will be called upon to solve this atmospheric physics problems, and if it wasn’t for the few mathematically brilliant, wonderfully ingenious students in this class, I would be here all night. Thankfully, I am close to completing the lab, so maybe I will be out of here by 9 and have some social interaction with normal people.
So what have we learned so far? Well by far the coolest thing we have done is the balloon launch, but I am afraid I must hold out until I find a second to upload the pictures to tell that tale. I will instead explain how difficult something we take for granted is. Temperature. You wake up, check your phone, computer, thermometer (if you are still cool enough to have one outside), weather channel, whatever to obtain the information you need to get dressed today. Well some person obtained that data and ran some incredibly complex math to confirm that they do in fact have the correct temperature outside. While I doubt they do this by hand anymore, I just did, and let me tell you it is long and there are many places to go wrong. Here are some equations:
Ph = P0 [ 1 – (mgh/CpT00] ^ Cp/R AND 1/Tb0 – 1/Tbh = (R/deltaH) ln(Ph/P0)
OK so really they don’t look that bad, and really if you have any physics or calculus under your belt (recently, this is key) you can probably figure out where we are heading. Basically solving these two equations gives us the boiling point of water in Colorado, which you should recall is above sea level so water boils faster here (do to the change in pressure). SO if you boil some water, you need to correct for this difference in boiling point. This correction is important to check that the temperatures you are measuring are correct, and some machine somewhere probably runs equations like this all the time to ensure that the weather person isn’t lying to us (with some margin of error, I mean have you experienced the wild weather of CO?!) Well that was my rant for today, hopefully some pictures and fun stories about applied atmospheric physics tomorrow when I calm down a bit.
Have a great evening.