Physics & Pi(e): Annual University Honors Program Eli Whitney Retreat Comes to the Quad

Friday, September 12, 2014

Bill Jellison | Associate Director

Members of the University Honors Program took over the Quad of the Quinnipiac University Mount Carmel campus to have some fun, learn about physics, and enjoy some sweet dessert on Friday afternoon.

Traditionally, the fall retreat includes a day trip to the Eli Whitney Museum in Hamden to learn about the transfer of energy using marbles, wooden ramps, and other everyday objects (e.g., coffee stirrers and tongue depressors).

However, this year, the program directors and the Honors Leadership Board decided to bring the event to campus—and thus letting the larger community share in our intellectual curiosity. Over 150 Honors students took part.

In teams, students used “funky” objects, such as fuzzy dice, hula dancer figurines, rubber ducks, and academic textbooks, to create extensive ramps that included marble relays (e.g., two marbles “racing,” marbles triggering other marbles), domino effects, and marbles dropping into cups and other containers.

While it may have seemed like a rudimentary task on the surface, it proved to be challenging for the students. Through trial and error, they eventually were able to bask in their success, as passersby looked on and admired their ingenuity.

After completing their ramps, students socialized over a variety of dessert pi(e)s. Because what better way to end the week than with some intellectual curiosity and pi(e)?

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