Phys 211 Home
Merriam-Webster defines the word Physics in the following way:

noun pl but singular or pl in constr \ˈfi-ziks\
Definition of PHYSICS
: a science that deals with matter and energy and their interactions
a : the physical processes and phenomena of a particular system b : the physical properties and composition of something

     This definition is so broad that it seems it could be applied to just about any calculated attempt to understand what is going on in the world around us. In this instance the broad purview is quite correct, even the most basic though processes aimed at predicting an action fall under the auspices of physics. Humans use physics every day, even those who have not been trained in its mathematical applications. We know empirically what will happen given a series of inputs, and are able to predict and understand forces. We intrinsically know that something heavy will be more difficult to move than something light, we also know that pushing an object over a smooth linoleum floor is much easier than pushing the same thing over carpet.

    Given the idea that physics is everywhere, it stands to follow that mathematics can be applied to gain a more precise insight into what is really happening. I have chosen one of the more spectacular things I have been lucky enough to witness and will apply some mathematics to make some predictions. I spend the Austral summer of 2009 in Antarctica, working at a deep field camp placed to be a supply hub for several projects. There are only two ways a large payload moves on the continent, being dragged on a sled by tractors, or flying in a C-130. Since traversing via tractor is quite slow and impractical for all but the largest, heaviest loads, the majority of the cargo we see comes in via plane. Having now been educated (slightly) in the ways of the physicist, I thought to myself that it might be possible to do some simple calculations to determine how much fuel is burnt during each take off.