Physics Illustrated 2012 Semester 1.

Physics is very pretty as well as being Phun.

The Mir space station, a triumph of the Soviet then Russian space program, is photographed here from the American space shuttle mission STS-71. Mir was progressively constructed in orbit, the first modules being launched in 1986, and finally deorbited into the Pacific Ocean in March 2001 at the end of it's useful operating life. Mir survived fires, collisions, budget cuts and even the fall of the Soviet Union to set numerous records in space, some of which still stand.

The Atacama Large Millimeter Array, ALMA, is an array of 66 radiotelescopes of which just 4 are shown here. It is a joint project of USA, Canada, Europe, Taiwan, Japan and Chile, and is the largest ground based astronomical project ever at a cost of over $1B. The Atacama desert in Chile was chosen as the site due to high altitude and low rainfall.

The "A" rings of Saturn are seen as imaged by the Cassini / Huygens interplanetary mission. After 20 years of work, the mission was launched in October 1997 and took 7 years to reach Saturn orbit. Four gravitational slingshot maneuvers were used, 2 with Venus and one each with Earth and Jupiter.

The Wood Frog is the only frog to be found inside the Arctic circle. It survives low temperatures by partially freezing. When the temperature increases agin the frog thaws and comes back to life. Urea and glucose, both naturally occurring chemicals in many species, are accumulated in greater than normal quantities as cryoprotectants. Most of the frog, including the brain and eyeballs, freezes and the frog can withstand multiple freeze / thaw cycles.

A hex nut glows white hot due to ohmic heating, I2R losses due to eddy currents induced by an external alternating magnetic field. The magnetic field itself, at radio frequency, is due to high currents flowing in an LC resonant circuit. Design and construction of RF induction heating equipment is within the capability of a talented amateur with a home lab.

Code named "Ivy Mike", the very first thermonuclear or hydrogen bomb test was conducted at Enewetak Atoll on 1st November 1952. The nuclear fuel for the fusion process was liquified Deuterium in a dewar. Only a fission bomb can initiate a fusion reaction of this type.

All modern jumbo TVs and electronic signs use arrays of Light Emitting Diodes clustered in red / green / blue triplets.

High performance cars have a wide track and low center of gravity, both of which reduce weight transfer from the inner to the outer wheel during cornering. Aerodynamic spoilers create downforce at high speed. Wide wheels and tires have a high coefficient of friction with the road. All these factors combine to allow very high lateral acceleration, which means faster cornering speeds.

The state of the art in particle accelerators is the "superconducting LINAC". An older project named TESLA, for "Teravolt Energy Superconducting Linear Accelerator", has been absorbed into the new ILC or "International Linear Collider", but the name is still used in conjunction with a particular type of microwave resonant cavity. The cavities are superconducting, made of high purity Niobium and operated at liquid Helium temperature. Extremely high Q is possible, >1011 at Cornell/LEPP. Clusters of cavities surround the beam tube to create the accelerating field, and the optimum cluster size has been found to be 9.

Numerical / computational physics simulates fluid dynamics to determine airflow around a computer model of the X43 hypersonic aeroplane. The simulation also determines temperatures that the fuselage will encounter in this extreme flight regime.

In addition to his first laboratory in Menlo Park, New York, Thomas Edison subsequently built a winter retreat in Florida where he spent time with Henry Ford. This is the laboratory associated with his winter estate.

NASA engineers in the 1950s check a model of an aircraft prior to testing in a wind tunnel.

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