EHS Physics Students Learn at San Rafael Energy Research Center

By Julie Johansen

On Monday, 68 students from Mr. Moss’ USU Eastern Concurrent Matriculation Physics 1010/1015 had the privilege of participating in a field trip to the San Rafael Energy Research Center.

It’s difficult to find a stage for academics to perform on. Sportsmen have their games, and the arts have a stage for their plays and concerts. Aside from the ACT test, however, it’s difficult for academics to find an arena to showcase their talents. When the Emery County Commissioners contacted Emery High School about a research center collaboration, they were very willing to get involved.

Although the facility can be seen from Coal Haul Road, very few people know what goes on inside the centre. Emery High staff were even more excited to learn that Kody Powell, a former Emery High student, is an advisor to the research center. dr Powell, a professor of chemical engineering at the University of Utah, is using part of his sabbatical as a consultant at the San Rafael Energy Research Center.

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This collaborative project began when Dr. Powell visited Mr. Moss’s classroom at Emery High and gave a brief overview of Newton’s three laws of motion. He showed the students how to write a simple computer program that can project the trajectory of a fired projectile (nerf ball).

On the second day, the students went into the new armory to fire their projectiles, collect data, and adjust the variables. Then, on Monday, they traveled to the research center, where Dr. Powell and his associates had established a target area at disclosed distances. The students had the opportunity to try out their programs and shoot at the target. They used Nerf guns with protractors attached to determine the angle and distance of the projectile.

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Prizes and awards were given to the top finishers in computer and projectile marksmanship. Hannah Neff, Emilee Richards, Creek Sharp, Turner Stoker, Taj Whitesel, Logan Riley, Camden Larsen, and Parker Mann spearheaded the computer program. In the projectiles category, the winners were Carly Young, Bowen Sitterud, Audrey Yost, Kelsey Norton, Amanda Mesler and Rhett Winter.

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Following this exercise, the students had an opportunity to explore the facility with Emery County Commissioners, Dr. Fried and Dr. Pearson to visit as a tour guide. The students could visit the research laboratories and Dr. Fry conducted a demonstration of the rates of gas and fire and the results in the molten salt lab. He also discussed the theory of greenhouse gases.

In the conference room, Dr. Pearson, director of the center, used a slide show to explain the purpose of the research center and the importance of energy in the lives of the students. The students were impressed with the skills, resources, laboratories, chemical engineers and the spaciousness of the research center.

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