They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me
dr_phil_physics

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It's Great To Be A Man Of SCIENCE!

The Everett Tower Wind Tunnel

Everett Tower, where my office is on the campus of Western Michigan University, is a six-story office building next to a lower but wider three-story lab and classroom Rood Hall. There is a two-story walkway connecting the 2nd and 3rd floors. The airspace below the covered walkway can be quite the little wind tunnel when the wind is blowing the right way.

Recently they've put stronger return springs in the front doors, but today's wind easily bested them. Nothing like having the front doors of both buildings standing wide open in gale force winter winds. (grin)

But I Know How That Works

Our friend Mr. Bernoulli and His Equation means that as air goes around the obstruction which is Everett Tower, the air pressure drops on the other side as the wind speeds up, allowing the wind to rush through the gap between buildings. And the wind holds the door open.

To close the door you can do the obvious thing, which is to pull and pull and pull it closed. Or, just push the other door open, the one which swings the other way. Sure it's harder to open -- the wind isn't ripping it out of your hands -- but the change in the air flow allows the spring to pull the first door closed. Voilà!

Being a geek means that this time of year when the winds howl, I look for the telltale signs of which way the wind is blowing and choose my door accordingly, rather than contribute to the problem. (grin)

I Do Try

Being a physicist means that I see the world in a different way. And I do explain in the syllabus to my classes that "We Are Here To Change The Way You Think". But that doesn't always work.

Take the student today who was having trouble filling out the Topic 2 worksheets. The basic problem with that they had Worksheets 2, 3 and 4 -- the double-side page handed out Monday. They didn't have the Worksheet 1 Data Sheet, which was handed out a couple of weeks ago so that they would be able to take Real World data over Thanksgiving. So now it's past Thanksgiving and all four worksheets, worth as much as an exam / 10% / one letter grade, are due on Monday -- and they have no data to use. So much for putting all this stuff on the class webpage... (sigh)

Speaking Of Weather

The drumbeats are getting louder from the weather people in West Michigan. One model is forecasting 12-13" of snow on Sunday-Monday, but we probably won't get that much. How much you wanna bet that after blogging two days ago about catching up with my schedule due to last year's Snow Day on Friday, that we'll end up with a Snow Day on Monday? (grin)

Dr. Phil
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