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James Mounts

S00394095
PHYS-1010-Sp17-Oktay
Science Opinion Paper

Physics Conversation

Last weekend, I invited family and friends to my home, on the premises of having

conversation on multiple topics concerning physics. Some of the topics I had planned on

discussing with my guests were, energy conservation, concepts of light, with a focus on

electromagnetic wave theories, and the speed of light always being a constant. I called

each person and found a day that worked for everyone to meet. I chose the majority of

these people because they show an interest in physics or have a good basic idea of

physics in general. The others I chose out of convenience.

When all my guests arrived, and after everyone was seated and comfortable, I

began the conversation promptly. I started our discussion with the theory of energy

conservation, stating that energy cannot be destroyed and energy cannot be created. My

brother commented that, Energy transforms from one entity to another without losing

any energy that it initially had to begin with. How, or where all energy originated is

beyond us. Some say the big bang theory and others about string theory. Everything

follows the law of energy conservation, always. At this point someone mentioned

Newtons laws, that an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion.
Also for every force, or action, there is an opposite but equal force, or action. These laws

by Newton, we discussed, describe how energy is always conserved no matter what. My

friend mention that these laws are universal and apply everywhere, even on other planets

in other galaxies. One of my other family members explained how somethings have

potential energy that can convert into kinetic energy but the entity always has the same

amount of energy at any given moment in time. Position determines the entities potential

energy while movement determines the entities kinetic energy. Potential energy and

kinetic energy are inversely proportional, always changing from one to the other and

never losing energy somewhere. We all found it fascinating that energy never dies, is

never created and is always constant.

Someone brought up electricity and electromagnetic waves. They thought it was

fascinating that electromagnetic waves form light. I explained that light comes from

photons, and photons are emitted from atoms when, electrons become excited and release

photons. I went on to talk about, how lights wave front, forms waves from every point

on the initial wave front, making more wave fronts. We then all discussed how this wave

front theory, made it possible for light to spread everywhere even when the light source,

could not be seen. Someone asked, that if light is an electromagnetic wave, is electricity

also a wave, the same as light is? I answered that electricity is a wave like light, and that

the waves have the same proprieties. I continued that electricity can be created by using

magnetic fields to create waves, and that those waves make the electricity.
This got us into the discussion on how light is always a constant speed. I

commented on how light is an energy wave, and nothing can go faster than light, in the

entire universe. Light is a wave length and we only see a very small part of the whole

spectrum of light.

This conversation, in conclusion, went on for over an hour and stayed to the

planned topic, for the most part. We did go slightly of topic do to questions posed on

certain topics, but then, came back to the original topic and continued to converse.

Everyone had a great time conversing over physics and want to do it again. I was

surprised by the knowledge of physics the others had. If I had to do this again I would

change how many people to talk with by adding more.