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Re: [Phys-L] ?simple experiment limited by fluctuations

Actually, reaction time for #1 was in distance units. They simply measured
the distance on the ruler. No formula to convert to time. For #2 it is
difficult to get the exact diameter of the cut circle. For #5, this lab was
done 30 years ago when I was in grad school. Everyone wore a watch back
then. And there were many shortwave stations I could pick up. WWV in
Colorado still broadcasts the time. Here in NJ kids still wear watches. I
do. Everyone also has a smartphone, so #5 would not be a very useful

On Wed, Nov 21, 2018 at 11:12 AM John Denker via Phys-l <> wrote:

On 11/21/18 6:33 AM, Anthony Lapinski wrote:

1) drop ruler and catch to measure distance
2) measure diameter of circle cut out of cardboard
3) measure height of candle flame
4) measure mass of a piece of dry ice
5) use shortwave radio to measure the time on your watch compared to
Universal Time


I assume the point of (1) is to measure reaction time.

I assume (2) revolves around the idea that you can measure
more accurately than you can cut. Also, paper products
change size as a function of humidity, so one could do
a longitudinal study.

I assume (5) would use GPS as the reference nowadays,
and would measure both slope and intercept ...

But what is this "watch" whereof you speak?
Do students wear watches where you are? They don't around here.
Cellphones are automagically synced to GPS.

Solution: Their graphing calculators probably have a time-of-day
clock, which (a) is not synced to GPS, and (b) has enough drift
to be easily measurable.
Forum for Physics Educators



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