Double Trouble – Summer School of Science

Today I got back from a ten day vacation in Croatia. Croatia is a beautiful country, renowned for its lush forests, crystal lakes, stunning mountains, and dreamy coast. The natural thing to do, therefore, is to stay cooped up for almost two weeks in the Gymnasium of the small town of Požega, and teach three high schoolers about chaotic systems.

Indeed, the international Summer School of Science, in which I led a project about investigating the movement of the double pendulum, has ended, and it was a hectic time. Getting up early in the morning, my students from Croatia, Serbia, and France went over all the basic maths of dynamical systems, covered a little chaos, built some smooth moving double pendulums, filmed them, extracted positions and velocity (Python and PIL to the rescue), and managed to get some nice graphs – the primary goal of any scientist. The ten days wisped away in the blink of an eye.

If you are a high school student, or know any of them, I recommend checking out this summer camp (for a list of 2013’s S3++ projects – see here) in the future. It’s also quite an intense experience for mentors 🙂

Also, pictures! These were created by putting LEDs on the edges of the pendulum arms, then taking long exposure photos with different initial angular position and velocity for the pendulum arms. Photography by Leo Sutic, who was one of our lecturers.

pendulum_leo_sutic_1pendulum_leo_sutic_2pendulum_leo_sutic_3

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