Friday, October 28, 2005

Negative Absolute Pressure

Fantastically improbable as the name does sound, this is not the realm of science fiction. It does exist. I have it from a usually unimpeachable source. It must be true. And true in a world where negative absolute temperatures don't need to be true.

Let me elaborate. Just a few blogs ago I was discussing the mind-boggling simple mindedness of some of the classes here. So, after deriving the Navier Stokes, we decide to work on hydrostatics. If learning the Navier Stokes were like learning the alphabet, then hydrostatics is like the parents having sex to have the baby. I just cannot emphasize how preliminary this is.

I won't take any names now. I don't want to single out anyone here - that would be politically incorrect. But I will have to quote this incident in order to rid myself at the frustration that the instructor usually develops within me. (especially when he says "I am giving a very high level talk here!". High level for kindergardeners, I suppose.)

So, we're doing hydrostatics today. I was going through the motions, with the help of a Starbucks. A certain inscription on the board caught my attention in the duration of the class. P = Patm - rho g z. When informed of this disaster on the board, the instructor quickly pooh - poohed it by saying "Energy is a scalar. Its sign does not matter". So, temperature is a scalar too. We're at 295K right now. Or -295K, after all sign does not matter. No wonder, it's been getting cold of late.

Back to the talk in class. In essence the deeper you go under water, the lower the pressure if the class were to be believed. Nobel price material?

This is a hitherto unknown fact. Surely, there are applications. Instead of spending millions on vaccuum pumps, all researchers need to do is go for a swim and perform experiments. And what about getting one of those air - turbines in a pipe communicating with the bottom of the sea? We'll get elecricity forever.


But let's be honest. The instuctor is a very good teacher and he is indeed doing a very thorough job in the class. The class is quite high level: he is talking in terms of tensors - and cetainly not undergraduate level. And though I don't see eye to eye with him teaching hydrostatics after deriving the N-S, he surely has a very coherent idea of what to teach. I have a lot of respect for his classes. I only wish his assignments were more challenging.

1 comment:

xombie said...

You bet! These guys don't believe in giving out challenging stuff. Grad students are have life easy. Oh I hate this lot. A bunch of monolithic boring uninspired guys. One is supposed to read the book it seems. It fails to register what the point is if you can take a book and read. Why have classes at all.
But these profs. know their stuff.