AAPT.org - American Association of Physics Teachers
2004 High School Photo Contest Pictures

2004 High School Photo Contest Winners
Sponsored by Vernier Software and Technology
129th AAPT National Meeting , Sacramento, CA

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Special Award - Photographer's Prize

Title: Safe Ride
Student: Cecelia Duggan
School: Spanish River Community High School, Boca Raton, FL
Teacher: Maria Aparicio

There are numerous physics concepts that can be analyzed during a single roller coaster ride. The conversion of potential energy to kinetic energy is what enables the roller coaster to go around the loop. Friction wheels control the side movement of the coaster. The people on the coaster that are on the loop in the picture are acted on by gravity and a normal force. The sum of these forces is the centripetal force that's needed to maintain the motion around the loop, plus the force that accelerates the coaster in the direction parallel to the track. So these riders are ensured a safe ride and do not have to worry about falling out of the roller coaster.


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