LabT1_Worksheet

LabT1_Worksheet - Lab T-1 What Can Physics Tell Us About...

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Lab T-1 What Can Physics Tell Us About Physiology? 1 Name:________________________ Section #:________________________ Introduction Physics aims at discovering the most general underlying order behind natural phenomena at the most fundamental level. The discovered laws of physics can be used to understand a wide range of natural phenomena from planetary motion to optical diffraction. In order to understand and appreciate the connection of physics and the real world of birds, lions, and flowers, we need to understand the specific ways in which certain physics principles apply to some biological facts through concrete examples. In order to study the connection between physics and biology most directly, in this lab, we will engage in ‘model building activity’ of various natural phenomena. We will develop several ‘models’ to explain various natural facts in biology, mostly interesting physiological facts about various organisms. But, we first need to clarify what we mean by ‘models’ and ‘model building activity’. At the end of the lab, you will be asked to reflect on your evolving understanding of how physics is relevant to biology . Final question at the end of the lab are: 1. Compared to before you started the lab, what changed in the way you see the connection between physics and the real world? 2. To what extent do you think physics is useful in understanding the natural world? Keep these questions in mind as you work through the lab.
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Lab T-1 What Can Physics Tell Us About Physiology? 2 Guidelines for Model Building A ‘model’ represents a natural phenomenon in terms of simpler, easy-to-understand terms (often employing pictures). The simplification involved in ‘modeling’ is primarily guided by the question one is trying to answer. So, simplification is a decision that must be made by the questioner. ‘Models’ are hypothetical; they do not represent nature as it “really is”. This means that in model building some simplifications and assumptions are necessary. These are the limitations of your model. ‘Model-building’ does not have rules to use that always work when building a model. It is almost an art – building good models relies on experience, creative thinking and insight. Build a model in your group: “Tightrope Clown” Build a model (including a diagram, explanation, and discussion of the simplifications you made) of the “tightrope clown” demonstration you saw. Your model should address why the tightrope clown stays balanced with the poles, but does not balance without the poles . Write your model so that someone not in your group could read it and understand what is going on. After you have developed your group’s model, copy it to the large sheet of paper at your table and put it on the wall for others to see.
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This note was uploaded on 01/05/2012 for the course PHYS 207 taught by Professor Winnokur during the Fall '06 term at Wisconsin.

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LabT1_Worksheet - Lab T-1 What Can Physics Tell Us About...

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