Topic: Forces and Newton's Laws

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Current Event June 8, 2016

Measuring Force on Steel

Physical Science Forces and Newton's Laws

Building anything from steel, such as buildings or cars, requires an understanding of how the material responds to force. And yet the largest machine in the world that measures force on steel is decades old. This machine measures compression and tension force, up to a million pounds. It was recently restored and refurbished, and could keep measuring force for another 50 years. Listen to hear about this valuable machine.

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Earthquake damages hydropower systems

Science Middle School

Earthquake Damages Hydropower Systems

Earth and Space Science Physical Science Energy Forces and Newton's Laws

Earthquakes can have far-reaching consequences not just on homes but on the power infrastructure. A 2008 earthquake in Southwest China left officials and engineers monitoring the structural integrity of enormous hydroelectric dams built to generate power. A fear of flooding caused by a cracked damn led some to wonder if they had taken the strengths of the region, its rivers and irrigation systems, and turned them into a potential threat. Listen to learn how hydroelectric power systems impact places and people.

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Tsunami science

Science Middle School

Tsunami Warnings Get More Accurate

Earth and Space Science Weather and Climate Physical Science Forces and Newton's Laws

Tsunamis are created by tectonic plates thrusting against each other and then lifting the sea floor and dropping it down, which creates a giant wave. A 2010 earthquake in Chile was caused by a shift in the seafloor. This same shift set off tsunami detection buoys and left scientists waiting for the tsunami to hit. But it ended up being small. Listen to learn more about this quake and how tsunamis are created.

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Gravity and the curveball

Science Middle School

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Gravity and the Curveball

Sports Physical Science Forces and Newton's Laws Motion

Throwing a curveball is one of the most difficult pitches in baseball. In this public radio story an expert in throwing the curve ball gives you a tutorial, but it’s also a lesson in physics and gravity as we look at how objects travel through space.

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Fracking and earthquakes

Science Middle School

Research Shows Fracking Causes Earthquakes

Earth and Space Science Environment Ecosystems Geology Energy Forces and Newton's Laws

Hydraulic fracturing or fracking is the process of putting liquid into shale to remove natural gas. There's concern that waste water from fracking that is put back into the ground is causing earthquakes. This public radio story explores the relationship between fracking and earthquakes.

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Fighting gravity

Science Middle School

Gravity's Strong Pull is Actually a Weak Force

Earth and Space Science Physical Science Forces and Newton's Laws

Even though it is the weakest of all forces, gravity is why we exist. Gravity keeps the earth, moon, and sun in orbit. It keeps us on the ground instead of floating in space. Listen to hear how gravity affects the velocity in rockets, the shapes of planets, the trajectories of baseballs, and even the strength of the human leg bones.

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