Monday, September 29, 2008

Canadian Rockies Trip...

As I write this, I'm realizing that many of our RV traveling days have become a bit of a I'll try to compile a summary of highlights and pictures.

Our first full day in Canada was spent hiking around Marble Canyon in Kootenay National Park, which is basically southwest of Banff Nat. Park on the map. (The Canadian Rockies are split between the provinces of British Columbia and Alberta.)

We dropped rocks from the bridges above the flowing canyon water, Here's where our first math lesson came in.
Leave it to Grampy, a retired mechanical engineer/inventor, to provide the formula. Grampy timed the rocks as they fell into the canyon water. Then he used a chart from his "nerd pack" to calculate and estimate that we were about 198 ft. above the canyon water. I'll spare you the details of all the formulas Grampy keeps in the front pocket of his shirts. Suffice it to say that he has three different formulas of motion to figure out this type of thing. Since there's no velocity involved (because we simply dropped the rocks without force), it's an easy formula to remember. For me, that's the tricky part--remembering! Here's the simplified version of how to figured it out: 16.1 (the gravity part) multiplied by the time (in seconds) squared. Does this make sense? Okay...if it took the rock 3 seconds to get to the water, you'd find the answer by taking 16.1 and multiplying it by 3 squared (9), and it would equal about 145 ft.

Just for are Grampy's other formulas for motion he has stashed in his front pocket behind his 4-function calculator (Sorry I don't know all the key strokes for the super- and sub-scripts):


I can't even begin to explain all the other scientific and mathematical information he has in that front pocket of his shirts...but he can fix, build, and figure anything out with all that's stored there! He also keeps a record of his daily meter readings in there!

This was a much needed vacation for us all, including Grampy who was recently taken out of retirement by 3M to improve some of their solar films, some of which he invented and had patents which have now run out. Much of Grampy's retirement time has revolved around solar energy, so everything but the stress of office hours is right up his alley anyway. Our kids have also put some of his other (now-retired) invented films to good use by using them for their slippy slide when we visit at Grammy and Grampy's!

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