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Proposes designs and chooses between alternatives (e.g., models, simulations).

Who Hits Harder: The Nordic Skier or Aerial Jumper?

Computer modeling is used to estimate physical quantities that are difficult to measure, in this case, the landing shock experienced by ski jumpers. The landing shock is difficult to measure because attaching instruments to the skiers would affect their balance and possibly cause them to fall or reduce their performance. Using basic principals of physics, the flight trajectories of two forms of competitive ski jumping, Freestyle Aerialist and Nordic Jumpers, were modeled and the landing shocks compared.

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Seeing Interference Fringes with a Telescope

Astronomers build larger telescopes not only to collect more energy but also to resolve finer detail in the objects to be studied. While groundbased optical telescopes with "filled" apertures of up to 10 m have been built, and 30 m and larger-aperture designs are being studied, another method of observations permits equivalent apertures spanning tens to hundreds of meters to be used. Radio astronomers have used these instruments, called interferometers, for decades, with equivalent apertures spanning thousands of kilometers.

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How Many Days Are in a Year?

Background: The true length of a year on Earth is 365.2422 days, or about 365.25 days. We keep our calendar in sync with the seasons by having most years 365 days long but making just under 1/4 of all years 366-day "leap" years. Exercise: Design a reasonable calendar for an imaginary planet. Your calendar will consist of a pattern of 366-day "leap" years and 365-day regular years that approximates your planet's average number of days per year.

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