Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Space Elevator Operator

A couple of years ago there was a student in my Mechanics class named Ivan Miloslavov.  He was that one in a thousand kind of student who had
1.  a knack for math and science,
2.  an interest in math and science, and also
3.  some particular skills - in his case, computer programming. 
This trifecta can produce some amazing things, and I want to share one of them with you.

During his time at College, we collaborated on an app called "Space Elevator Operator" (click here to try it...the link will also have a permanent home on my space elevator page).  I am really proud to have been involved with its creation for several reasons, but one of them is that I got to witness a young brilliant student putting his skills to work to produce something tangible and useful in the real world.

The app allows users to simulate placing payloads into Earth's orbit with a space elevator.  It serves two main purposes: 
-The app allows one to quickly demonstrate how a space elevator could work. 
- It is an educational tool that is useful for introductory physics students to learn about orbital mechanics.

One other thing this app does is give all of my students an idea of what is possible if they put their minds and efforts towards something.  The Space Elevator Operator app was shared at the 2016 Space Elevator Conference in Seattle this past month.  It was also recognized by ISEC (the International Space Elevator Consortium).

I wish Miloslavov much luck in his academic and professional future, and sincerely hopes he looks back at his experience on our little project with pride.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

I'm Off Blogging for MakerBloks

Hello my science peeps.  I have been absent from my blog as of late because I have been 'acquired' by another blog, that of "MakerBloks".

MakerBloks is a company specializing in hands-on science education for ages 6+.  The nature of my posts will be a bit less about physics content, and a bit more about science education for kids.  To see my first posting at my new 'home', follow this link.

I may pop in occasionally on The Engineer's Pulse and will certainly keep the blog active and moderate the comments.  Thanks for reading!

Thursday, January 14, 2016

The Martian is a Scientifically Sound Oscar Contender - Almost

If you have ever read a sci-fi film review on my blog, you are perhaps accustomed to the complete thrashing of the impossible events portrayed therein.  In the recent film, "The Martian", however, there will be no such thrashing - at least, not from me.  It is my favourite film of this past year, and yes, I saw "Star Wars, the Force Awakens" (and yes, it too was awesome).

The Martian is reminiscent of another great film, Castaway, in which a deserted human must survive on his own for multiple years.  Although the conditions are harsher on Mars than any island on Earth, Matt Damon's astronaut character did eventually establish contact with others, while poor Tom Hanks was stuck alone with "Wilson".