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JANUARY 2 0 1 1

Presenting the Zeroth Issue of…..

The M A P ad




The zeroth issue of The MAP is released!


How often have you wished for a place of your own? A place to express your creativity, your thoughts, your imagination? Physicists are born creationists! Let’s face it, we study a difficult subject; we are all born geniuses! Of course we need (and completely deserve) a place to put down all those crazy ideas buzzing in our heads! Hence, we bring you The MAP! The Physics department’s very own newsletter—A place for you, the students, to publish your articles, poems, riddles, photographs, and well, anything and everything that can be published on paper! It doesn't have to be related to Physics as long as you're a student in our department and if you're not, then it has to! Let the ride begin!



News continued




Solution to puzzles








Ever wondered how stars are formed? 13th Zodiac Sign: Priyanka Jha explain the same. Hoax or Over the years, however, many Stars Reality?!?! have been spotted near the galactic centre — which raises the question: were the Stars able to survive a perilous birth, or did they somehow migrate inwards from elsewhere?

Often we youngsters wonder how stars are born? Some of us search for it in different books, magazines and ya, how can I forget about Google? We people are really addicted to such sites, aren't we? Oops!! I too have got lost in the world of such sites and forgotten to talk about the stars from where we have started. Basically, star formation is a steady process, requiring vast clouds of cold gas to gradually accumulate and compact. So in the region around the super massive black hole at the centre of our galaxy, which is awash with violent gravitational “tidal” forces, one would expect Stars to be few and far between. I know it’s complicated but different theories

Brain Strain

Now, a group of astronomers from the Harvard–Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics, US, and the Max Planck Institute for Radio Astronomy, Germany, has evidence that Stars can indeed be born near the galactic centre. Using the Very Large Array of radio telescopes in New Mexico, they have discovered two baby Stars, or “protostars”, just a few light-years from the Milky Way’s black hole. Elizabeth Humphreys of the Harvard -Smithsonian has given the concept of protostar. A protostar marks the embryonic stage in a Star's formation, before it has begun nuclear fusion and while it is still hidden within a collapsing cloud of dust and gas. This cloud absorbs visible light, (Continued on page 2)

“Aaaaah there’s an astrological sign shift thing going on! My sign has changed! I had no idea. Help!" Divya Mehrotra

There are some who couldn’t care less or say they don’t, but most of us read the horoscope section in our newspapers first thing in the morning. But before we go any further, here's what has happened, in case you are not already clued in: Parke Kunkle, who teaches at Minneapolis Community and Technical College, and is a member of the Minnesota Planetarium Society, recently announced, "The Zodiac had a problem with dates. Not only is the Earth aligned differently today than it was in 3000 BC, but we've also been leaving the constellation Ophiuchus out of (Continued on page 2)

1. The Chicken and Egg Problem: A chicken farmer has figured out that a hen and a half can lay an egg and a half in a day and a half. How many hens does the farmer need to produce one dozen eggs in six days? 2. What is the lifetime of the proton, and how do we understand it?

I HAVE A QU ANT UM C AR . E VE RY T IME I LOO K AT T HE SP E E DOME T E R I GE T LO ST . .. (Continued from page 1) Star formation

(Continued from page 1) 13th Zodiac sign

so to see protostars astronomers have to search within infrared and radio wavelengths.

the equation." It was also announced that those born between November 29 and December 17 will fall under the Ophiuchus zodiac causing alongside, a shift in the dates of the other zodiac signs. This spread faster than lightning, and though Kunkle quickly clarified that his theory was based on "2,000year-old information; astronomers have known about this since 130BC" and that he didn't understand why his explanation of how a well-known wobble in the earth's orbit throws off astrology charts turned into an internet sensation, he couldn't stem the collective panic of the world.

Many discussions have taken place but one theorist who has successfully modeled Star formation in the circumnuclear disk is Sergei Nayakshin of the University of Leicester, UK. He agrees that the observations of Humphreys and colleagues support the simulations, but thinks that they also raise new questions. “The result from simulations is that you get many tens or hundreds of protostars at once, so I would have expected us to have seen a lot more of them,” he explains. “If they are there, I think they would have been discovered by now.” According to him, there may be unknown physics at work that reduces the clumping of gas and dust in the Milky Way’s inner regions. If this were accounted for in the models it might become apparent that the stars are formed individually and not in groups.

Really?! Why don’t we all just make our own signs then? Mine’s Slytherine - The Serpent!!! A 2000

year old information suddenly changes the personality of everyone on the face of the earth who has lived with the same signs for the past 2000 years very comfortably! Suddenly someone finds a deep affinity to a forgotten constellation and decides that the people all over the world won’t mind getting their personalities changed to get the constellation some attention!! So Ladies and Gentlemen, presenting Ophiuchus! (God! I can’t even pronounce it!) The constellation that changes your sun sign and is responsible for all the sudden changes in your attitude and your mood swings! Though, a word of caution! Don’t believe this piece of news! It’ll be gone before you can absorb it!

The Albert Einstein Crossword

Nevertheless, the fact that Stars close to the galactic centre can form in situ does not diminish the possibility that many of the older observed stars migrated inwards from elsewhere in the galaxy. This is just a short glimpse into star formation. There are many other discoveries waiting to be made.

For more:

Contributed by Parul Chakraborty Solution in next issue!


Answers to Brain Strain Answer to Question 1: This is a classic problem that many people get wrong because they reason that half of a hen cannot lay an egg, and a hen cannot lay half an egg. However, we can get a satisfactory solution by treating this as a purely mathematical problem where the numbers represent averages. To solve the problem, we first need to find the rate at which the hens lay eggs. The problem can be represented by the following equation, where RATE is the number of eggs produced per hen·day: 1-1/2 hens × 1-1/2 days × RATE = 1-1/2 eggs We convert this to fractions thus: 3/2 hens × 3/2 days × RATE = 3/2 eggs Multiplying both sides of the equation by 2/3, we get: 1 hen × 3/2 days × RATE = 1 egg Multiplying both sides of the equation again by 2/3 and solving for RATE, we get: RATE = 2/3 eggs per hen·day Now that we know the rate at which hens lay eggs, we can calculate how many hens (H) can produce 12 eggs in six days using the following equation: H hens × 6 days × 2/3 eggs per hen·day = 12 eggs Solving for H, we get: H = 12 eggs /(6 days × 2/3 eggs per hen·day) = 12/4 = 3 hens Therefore, the farmer needs 3 hens to produce 12 eggs in 6 days.


Answer to Question 2: It used to considered gospel that protons, unlike say, neutrons, live forever, never decaying into smaller pieces. Then in the 1970's, theorists realized that their candidates for a Grand-Unified-Theory (GUT), merging all the forces except gravity, implied that protons must be unstable. Wait long enough, and, very occasionally, one should break down. The trick is to catch it in the act. Sitting in underground laboratories, shielded from cosmic rays and other disturbances, experimenters have whiled away the years watching large tanks of water, waiting for a proton inside one of the atoms of water to give up the ghost. So far, the fatality rate is zero, meaning that either protons are perfectly stable or their lifetime is enormous - an estimated billion, trillion, trillion years, or more....

Laugh! Q: Upon entering a laboratory, you see an experiment. How do you know which class it belongs to? A: If it's green and wiggles, it's biology. If it stinks, it's chemistry. If it doesn't work, it's physics. * A bar walks into a man, oops, wrong frame of reference. * An atom to another: I think I’ve lost an electron. The other atom: Are you sure? First atom: Yes, I’m positive! Contributed by Parul Chakraborty

Editorial Board

A Physics newsletter?? Why? Nidhi Srivastava

Divya Mehrotra Nidhi Srivastava Parul Chakraborty Priyanka Jha

Send us your articles at

Next Issue Coming soon in February 2011


The word ‘science’ has its roots in a Latin word that means ‘to know’. Science literally means knowledge. And Physics is the branch of science that is concerned with the nature, and properties of matter and energy. It is perhaps the most widely applied and studied branch of science. The world we live in is defined by what we know—by science, especially Physics. The comforts of modern life, healthcare, transport, internet; all arise from science. We owe all these to a bunch of scientists who devoted their lives to ‘knowing’—to finding out more, to discovering, to inventing. This newsletter is a tribute to these great people. We have, however, another reason to bring out a newsletter at college level that is dedicated solely to Physics. Despite its undisputable presence is our life, science is largely shrouded by ignorance. It is commonly labeled as ‘difficult’ or ‘incomprehensible’. Moreover, science is frequently misrepresented by the media. The results of pointless ‘scientific’ surveys like ‘How does your breakfast affect your homework?’ are glorified by the media whilst important, revolutionary breakthroughs are largely ignored. This newsletter is our little effort to bring to the budding scientists of Maitreyi College, science news that matters. News that moves. We endeavor to change how science is perceived. We want to bring you the raw details that come straight from the lab, not from the desk of the pedantic old editor of some local daily. Lastly, we want to reiterate how much our college has given to us. The teachers of our department have been extremely supportive in this little effort! And we hope this support will continue because we are… Mad About Physics!!

Nothing in this world is to be feared… only understood. ~ Marie Curie

The Physics newsletter of Maitreyi College!


The MAP - Issue 0  

The Zeroth Issue of The MAP Mad About Physics

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