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Molloy's Physics Lab Receives an Upgrade

Earlier this school year, Molloy’s Physics Lab received an upgrade that has already helped facilitate new and exciting experiments. Molloy purchased new low-friction tracks that are conveniently stored on new wall racks in the lab. The tracks are accompanied by new pairs of carts (boxes with wheels), which fit on and move along the tracks. 

“One of the awesome features of the carts is they are compatible with technology that allows us to record where they are located as they move along the tracks, giving us position information,” explained Mr. Michael Nadeau, chairperson of Molloy’s Science Department. This technology, implemented using a small tablet, reads location, velocity, acceleration, and other variables.  

The new tracks and carts represent a whole new set of labs and phenomena for Stanners to explore. “The sky is the limit in terms of what we can investigate with the tracks,” added Mr. Nadeau. “We have incorporated labs this year where students study the acceleration of the carts and the conservation of momentum during cart collisions. In the future, we will design labs that explore energy conservation, how frictional force affects the movement of objects, and so much more. These types of experiments expand the kind of data we can record and the real-world analysis we can do.” 

Here’s a real-world example: consider how the acceleration of an object is indirectly related to its mass. As an object becomes bigger, it accelerates at a slower rate. A large truck cannot accelerate as fast as a smaller sports car, and so contact between two such moving vehicles would be greatly impacted by their mass and velocity. Insurance companies and law enforcement would consider such variables when assessing crash investigations. 

Mr. Nadeau and the Science Department will continue to add cutting-edge equipment when possible, for the benefit of Molloy’s science students. “Our physics labs were already exciting before, but the addition of the tracks has made a huge difference. We are very appreciative of the support from Molloy’s administration, who helped make this possible.”