Get into Orbit Without Lateral Acceleration

When I was about 6 years old, my dad explained to me that there was no possibility to shoot something right into orbit from the Earth’s surface. He said it was always necessary to accelerate sideways to reach orbit. At that time I did not really understand what he meant. However, later in physics class I did and I figured what he had told me was true. Now, 13 years later, I came up with a new thought: The Earth’s rotation adds lateral velocity to objects launched from its surface. This is also the reason why satellites, the ISS and pretty much every artificial object flying around Earth, orbits Earth counterclockwise and also, why most space flight organizations / companies launch their spacecrafts from locations as close to the equator as possible.

Caption
The European Space Agency (ESA) has its own space center in Guiana – close to the equator but far away from all the member states. Copyright: Guillaume Normand
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Periodic Table Trainer (Android Wear)

Memorize the Elements of the Periodic Table Right on Your Wrist

This Android Wear app shows the chemical elements of the periodic table. Starting with Hydrogen you can continue with a simple tap on the center of the screen. Before you do that, you should think of the name of the following element. What comes after Hydrogen (H)?

Let’s drop in the app icon and some screenshots so that you have time to think about the name of the second element in the periodic table.

Periodic Table Trainer App IconPeriodic Table Trainer Screenshot 1 Periodic Table Trainer Screenshot 2 Continue reading “Periodic Table Trainer (Android Wear)”

Guided Tour at CERN

On August 24th 2016, I took a guided tour for individuals at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (CERN, Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire) headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland.

This post is about that kind of tour. So what did we do at the research organization that operates the largest particle physics laboratory in the world?

The tour started at 11 a.m. at the reception. Parking was for free and so was the whole tour. After all people (about 20 folks) arrived, we started with a 4 min video about CERN. The video contained safety instructions and told us what to expect. After that, the group walked over to a visitor building.

There, our guide started another video which came with some kind of a light show: Beamers pointed at the first particle accelerator (built in 1957) which was on exhibition. The movie was primarily about the history of CERN and its major discoveries.

Synchrocyclotron
The 600 MeV Synchrocyclotron (SC), built in 1957, was CERN’s first accelerator. It provided beams for CERN’s first experiments in particle and nuclear physics. Image source

The next stop was at the ATLAS control room and detector building. Since the detector is 100 m below the surface, we could only see the control room which was quite impressive though.

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