By Xiao Ying Huang ‘16
Dark matter, gravitational forces, and the formation of the universe were a few things AP Physics students learned on their trip to the American Museum of Natural History on Tuesday, December 2.
According to the AP Physics teacher, Mr. Howard Spergel, the trip helped students learn about exhibits in the museum and connect it to concepts learned on class.
Students watched the space show Dark Universe in the Hayden Planetarium. According to the space show, the origin of the universe was from an explosion that occurred billions of years ago from a single point in space. The Big Bang Theory is supported by measurements of background radiation and expansion found in space.
“I learned the most from the show Dark Universe,” said QiQi Wu ’16. “It explained the formation of the universe and provides reasons why such things are happening in space today.”
In addition to the space show, students explored the Hall of the Universe to learn about how gravity was an attractive force between objects.
“I enjoyed the activity of finding my weight on the different planetary planets,” said Audrey Tan ’16. “It was interesting to see my weight change due to the gravitational force of the planets.”
Students were given a worksheet to investigate how their weight changes on different planetary bodies and found their weight on planetary bodies such as the sun, Neutron Star, Jupiter, Red Giant, Halley’s Comet, and Mars. Then, they converted the values to calculate the radius of each of those planetary bodies using a physics equation.
Students were also given the opportunity to walk Helibrunn Cosmic Pathway. The pathway showed how galaxies, stars, planets, and more related in size with the Hayden Sphere.
“I learned the most in the scale walk and I enjoyed the experience of seeing how the size galaxies and objects in scale with the Hayden Sphere,” said Xiao Jun Cao ’16.
Mr. Spergel said, “From my perspective, I knew we wouldn’t have enough time, but we got everything that I planned accomplished.”