Relatively new club allows students to test scientific theories.
By Zaida Diaz, Staff Writer
They just want to understand one thing: The universe.
“People who want to discover and learn science related applications while having fun should join,” said John H. Altounji, Valley College physics professor and moderator of the campus Physics Club.
The club has primarily been working with three items this semester: rockets, arduinos (single-board microcontrollers, in non-genius speak), and hydrogen fuel-cell cars. Club President Pedro Gonzalez said on Oct. 29, the club launched two rockets at the football stadium. The first rocket reached 24 meters, while the second rocket reached 27 meters.
“Thanks to Dr. Altounji, we ended up launching two of the rockets and then we calculated the max height; we were like little nerds outside,” said the mechanical engineering major.
Monarchs can view a video of the rocket launch on the club’s Facebook page.
On Nov. 5, a few members operated a hydrogen fuel-cell car while others worked with a Michelson interferometer. The interferometer uses a beamsplitter in order to divide a light source into two arms. Those working with the interferometer were hoping to understand the fundamentals of light.
“We were playing with it, but in technical terms,” said Gonzalez. “We learned we can change the movable mirror to change the interference pattern.”
Members examined the change in the shifts of the wavelength in regards to the crest and trough of the wave, based on whether the light traveled the same distance or not.
On the other side of the room, energy engineering major Jeremy Del Aguíla explained what allows the hydrogen fuel-cell car to move.
“The principle that this functions off of is the redox reaction [a chemical reaction involving both reduction and oxidation, according to Biology Online] . . . it turns H2O bonds into kinetic energy . . . it uses hydrogen as a fuel which can be produced into various forms of alternative energy; the only emission being water vapor,” said Del Aguíla. Translation: It’s ultra-clean and uses no fossil fuels. Or to the rest of us, clean car go good vroom vroom.
Different equipment is introduced to students so that they can gain a better understanding of the laws that govern nature. Students from different specialties come together and communicate their knowledge with members as to help them comprehend the given activity.
“There are different things that inspire us and being in the physics club gives us a place to come and bring those ideas together,” said Aguíla.
All Monarchs are encouraged to join, from those who struggle with physics to those whose passion is as powerful as a supermassive black hole.
The Physics Club meets every Wednesday from 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. in room 149 in the AHS building.