5-Color Theorem

On 1852 October 23, Francis Guthrie noticed that he needed only 4 colors to color the counties of England so no two bordering counties shared the same color. This works for any map, but only in 1976, and with the aid of … Continue reading
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Compton Generator

Long before he won the Nobel Prize in Physics, and while still a Wooster undergraduate, Arthur Compton realized a third way to demonstrate Earth’s spin (after pendulums and gyroscopes). Compton reported his results in a manuscript submitted to the journal … Continue reading
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Analemma

Photograph the sky at the same time each day for a year and Sun will appear to execute a figure-8 path called an analemma, which is often inscribed on Earth globes and can be used as an almanac, as by … Continue reading
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Persistence, Ignition, Breakeven

Overcoming decades of enormous physics and engineering challenges, amidst persistent pessimism, skepticism, and criticism, the National Ignition Facility has achieved an historic target energy gain of [latex]Q > 1[/latex], which is a major milestone for controlled nuclear fusion. Last week, NIF … Continue reading
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The delightful Fall 2022 Paleoecology class at Wooster

I was so impressed with the post by Professor Greg Wiles about his Fall 2022 Geomorphology class that I decided to highlight the Fall 2022 Paleoecology class as well. It was a great group of students, and we did an … Continue reading
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Distant Retrograde Orbit

The Artemis 1 Orion spacecraft has successfully entered and exited a distant retrograde orbit (DRO) about Moon. DRO is a stable and easily accessible orbit requiring a low [latex]\Delta V[/latex] velocity change. In DRO, Earth‘s non-negligible gravity contributes to a 3-body problem, and … Continue reading
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Local Geomorphology and What We Learned

This is a post outlining some of the work we did in Wooster’s class in Geomorphology. One of the early labs was Browns Lake Bog and the Soil Catena. The landforms in the area are spectacular – here is a … Continue reading
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Artemis Is the Sister of Apollo

I stayed up late last night and early this morning to watch the successful uncrewed launch of Artemis 1. In Greek tradition, Artemis was the twin sister of Apollo, and the Artemis program hopes to return humans — including the … Continue reading
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Zero-G Indicator

When Crew 5 rocketed to orbit last week aboard the SpaceX Dragon “Endurance” bound for the International Space Station, I was curious to see their zero-gravity indicator. A tradition SpaceX crews have adopted from Russian cosmonauts, the zero-g indicator is usually a … Continue reading
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For the dinosaurs!

The dinosaurs didn’t have a space program, but we do. I just watched live the first kinetic-impact asteroid-redirection test as NASA’s Double Asteroid Redirection Test spacecraft collided with the asteroid-moon Dimorphos of the asteroid Didymos. Below is the last image … Continue reading
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