WHEN PHYSICS AND ADVENTURE MEET

Posted on Dec 26, 2016 in STEM in the Outdoors

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 “Science is organised knowledge. Wisdom is organised life.”
                                                                                                              -Someone wise

 

Many people have tried to find out who said these beautiful string of words – Immanuel Kant? Herbert Spencer? Some anonymous person? Well, whoever may have said it, the words have a lot of deeper meaning in the evolution of scientific understanding and pursuit of knowledge.

Immanuel Kant – one of the renowned modern philosophers proposed this idea that before knowledge is organised and scientific reasoning starts, there has to be some knowledge which is already present inherently in us. For example, you may not know the elaborate science behind rocket flying, but as a kid, all of us have flown paper planes and somehow we inherently know that if we push it in air,  it will fly.

That is the beauty of human existence and acquisition of knowledge. Our body and mind are inherently guided by scientific principles. But when a facilitator or educator systematically takes you through that journey, it becomes crystal clear and you start observing other objects that function in a similar manner, hence forming universal principles and scientific temperament.

Take a day in the outdoors. You are at the bottom of a giant rock face and you are ready to climb. Your instructor is asking you to focus on your actions; feel the surface, understand the grips. But as a beginner you keep on making a few mistakes, and you keep sliding away. Why is that so?

We live in a wonderful world that is full of beauty, charm and adventures.There is no end to the adventures we can have if only we seek them with our eyes and mind open. Most of us start visualising rock climbing, rappelling, trekking when we talk about adventure camps but we seldom think of the science behind it. Why is it difficult to climb up a mountain which is too smooth? Why do you put pressure on the rock face below you for your body to move upward? What do we mean when we say outdoor shoes with good grip? We are actually directly talking about force, friction and all of Newton’s Laws of Motion!

THE ROCK FACE AND FRICTION

As the climber ascends the rock face, the friction of the rock face and that of the sole of the shoe start acting on one another. While fiction is defined as a resistive force, in the outdoors especially for mountain climbing, it has an important role to play; it helps maintain the balance of the body. So let’s not say resistive forces always have a villainous role to play, but they sometimes play a heroic role too! And in our case the more our villain comes into action, the safer we will be while climbing up the mountain, and higher our chances of enjoying the experience!

 

TENSILE STRENGTH AND THE ROPE

It’s all about checking all safety aspects first so that an adventure does not become a misadventure. It is achieved by checking the strength and quality of the equipment used, to begin with. The rope is known as ‘the lifeline’ in the world of mountain climbing. Outdoor experts keep logs of the number of times a set of ropes have been used to see how much weight it can still hold. They are essentially checking the tensile strength of the that rope, which in turn is determined by intermolecular space in the element that has been used to build the rope! Isn’t it fascinating?

Whether you love science as a subject in school or not, whether you like to read up on scientific theories and principles or not, if you are a traveller, science will always fetter to your experience. So next time you make a checklist of your adventure camp do not overlook the footnote of your journey companion – science!

EdTerra conducts specialised science camps as a part of the GoDirect program. If you are between the age group of 12 to 14 years and are  marvel at how things work around you, you can directly enroll for these exciting programs! To know more about GoDirect click on this link or call +91 11 48885800.

 

Shilpa Grover: She has taught kids as young as 8 years old and as old as 25. A science educator by passion, she loves developing science based activities where you did not know you could develop one! She has a compulsive need to be connected to people – that’s the source of her positivity, child-like spirit and energy. At EdTerra she is a program researcher and science educator.

 

 

 

 

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