All posts by nwt8

#TryThisTuesday: DIY Sci-Fi Laser Sound

This week we will show you how to create sci-fi laser sound effects using a slinky and a cup.

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The first step is to try and listen to the noise a slinky makes on its own by moving it up and down so the bottom of it bounces off the floor as shown in the picture below.

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The next step is to place the cup in the top of the slinky as shown below and try the same movement.

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The Science

Sound is actually particle vibrations and travels in waves. This means it relies on particles colliding to transfer the sound energy. In a gas such as air the particles are really spread out which means they are less likely to collide. In solids the particles are much closer together which means the particles collide a lot more and the sound energy is transferred more effectively.

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This is why the sound is much louder when the sound waves travel through the solid cup as opposed to the air. Rumour has it that they actually used this same technique to make the laser sound effects in the original Star Wars movies back in 1977.

#TryThisTuesday: The Peg Game

This week we will show you how to play a game that you will never lose! For this you will need 12 pegs and a piece of material. Clip all 12 of these pegs in a line along the material.

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The rules of the game are simple:

  • There may only be 2 players.
  • Each player takes it in turns to remove 1, 2 or 3 pegs from the material.
  • The winner is person who removes the last peg.

If you follow 2 key steps then you can ensure victory every time. Firstly always let your opponent go first. The second step is to remove enough pegs so that the combined total of the pegs you remove and the pegs your opponent removed on their last turn adds up to 4.

For example if your opponent removes 1 peg then you will remove 3 but if your opponent removes 3 pegs then you should only remove 1 peg.

If you do this then no matter what happens the most pegs you will ever have on your last go will be 3 so you will always win!

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The Science

This game is actually based on good old times tables and more specifically the 4 times table. If each round adds up to 4 then the 12th peg will always be removed by the person finishing the round as 12 is a multiple of 4.

This means the game could be played with even more pegs as long as the total number of pegs is a multiple of 4.

Stu Brew – Our very own student run brewery

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Stu Brew is Europe’s first student-run microbrewery based at Newcastle University.  We are managed by students for students through Newcastle University Students’ Union. There are over 120 students involved in Stu Brew. The brewery is capable of producing around 800 pints in one day and the beer is sold at a variety of pubs and bottle shops throughout the North East.

The Brewery

Our brewery is where all the magic happens. The brewery is made up of a number of stages. The brewery can be seen in the picture below which shows all the different vessels.

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  1. Hot Liquor tank: This is where all the water that is needed for the brewing process is heated up to around 77°C . Our brewery uses around 500 litres of water per brew!
  2. Mash Tun: This is where the hot water is mixed with grain to extract all the sugars that are used to make the beer. Different types of grain are used to create different styles of beer. We have made over 15 different styles of beer with many more to come.
  3. Whirlpool: The grain is separated from the sugar rich water which is known as wort in this stage
  4. Kettle: The wort is boiled for an hour killing off any bacteria that may infect the beer. Hops are added at various points in the boil to add different flavours to the beer. For example adding hops at the start of the boil gives the beer its bitterness whereas hops added towards the end of the boil yield more aromatic flavours.
  5. Heat Exchanger: This is used to cool the boiling wort down to 20°C.
  6. Fermentation: The yeast is added to the beer which reacts with the sugars within the wort and converts them into alcohol. After about 72 hours this reaction is complete and the beer is then put into casks and is ready to be sold and drunk!