You Spin My Head Right Round

I’m a little late in posting about it, but I am happy to say I was not late in actually doing my studying on Friday. I was 4/4 for meeting my study schedule last week! That makes me feel like a powerful Productive Goddess. Hopefully this momentum can continue when I am back from Peru.

Speaking of momentum, that was what I studied! Well, one chapter on Rotation and one chapter on Conservation of Angular Momentum. These are mind-bending topics if you’re not familiar with them. Or maybe just for me. In any case, it all makes sense, but I find that I have to think it through very carefully. The vectors are starting to get more complicated, and the conclusions aren’t always intuitively obvious. One example that I remember vividly from my high school AP Physics class (I couldn’t help but do the math and realize that was thirteen years ago holyshit) is someone holding a spinning bicycle wheel horizontally and then tilting it upwards, resulting in an opposite rotation of the person, assuming they are on something that is free to spin.

Amazing that something so simple as a bicycle wheel operates under the same concepts that help aim the Hubble Space Telescope via massive reaction wheels.

Today’s fun “new” fact: Angular momentum is a quantized quantity. Of course, this fact is immaterial at macroscopic levels, but it is important to keep in mind! Understanding the layers of what is “actually” happening versus our useful approximations is, I think, an important part of understanding physics.