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NERD MOMENT: Make Your Own Trail

May 17, 2014

The University of Colorado has developed an interactive teaching tool called My Solar System 2.04 in which you can explore the physics of the universe (THE PHYSICS OF THE UNIVERSE!!!) by simply selecting a preset of celestial bodies — a planet, a comet, a star — set their mass, position and velocity and watch what happens. There are prescribed settings where you can see what actually happens in our solar system but for me the cool part is messing with the positioning and velocity to see some alternative patterns.


This one is sun, planet, comet, which is pretty dope, I’d also suggest you play around with the double double (ooooooddles of fun). And even though I’ve never EVER taken a physics class in high school (EVER) I’m totally drawn lately to astrophysics, string theory and movements in outerspace. It’s because I’m writing a sci-fi epic poem called O and I dunno, if I’m flying my characters into outer space, I should probably know what outer space is, it’s properties and the like. Gotta fuse as much science into that fiction as possible. And its now as a 27 year old woman that I’m realizing that I actually like physics, and it can be friggin’ fun. Even the math and formula is kinda like a puzzle.

I am not a scientist. Actually I’m so bad at math, basic equations (27 divided by 3 is…) require me to use my fingers or better yet a calculator but I recommend you try this if only to make pretty outer space pictures. It reminds me of those spirographs every other kid in the 90s lived for.

And make your own solar system, be inventive and creative and take risks and allow a comet to collide into the sun (Lord knows I’ve done it). In the spirit of trailblazers and physicists who are playing with the universe, one of my favourites is Dr. Jim Gates as he’s a really good public speaker, approachable and stupid intelligent. Check out the video “Go Tell It on the Mountain” as he explains that a voice tells him to make his own trail.

Over and out!



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