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Clark Dill
Science Club!
Wed Oct 26, 2016 11:17

Being Quidditch Captain was kind of cool - only in Aladren could 'total nerd' and 'sports captain' be synonymous, and of course being a prefect and library monitor meant the staff trusted him, but his favorite leadership position at Sonora was easily running the Science Club.

Not only did it let him share his passions with his fellow classmates, but it gave him a good excuse to work with many of the professors as well. This year, after going through the orientation and planning meeting, to see what topics were of interest to the science club members, he planned to work with the astronomy professor for a planetarium type of meeting one day, the new muggle studies professor for setting up some muggle style chemistry experiments, Professor Xavier for some space in his greenhouse for some herbological thesis testing, and Professor O'Malley to dig deep into seeing how altering ingredient dosages affects potion potency.

But none of that was why they had gathered today near the pond in the gardens. It wasn't a huge pond, this being a desert and all, but it got to about six feet deep in places and had sufficient surface area for his purpose, being just a little smaller than a standard ice rink.

Walk on water! the posters on each common room board as well as the ones near the Cascade Hall and the Charms room had advertised. Join the science club Sunday afternoon to learn about surface tension and some charms that can help you walk on water like a water strider! Follow the signs in the Gardens to find your way to the Labyrinth Pond, for our meeting there at 2:30 pm. All are welcome! Snacks provided!

Clark wasn't sure if the pond had an official name, or if he'd guessed it correctly if it did, but he figured most of the people who had discovered it before would know the one he was talking about if he called it that. He had debated suggesting that people bring a change of clothing, just in case, but then he remembered he was a wizard who knew both drying charms and cleaning charms, and decided it wasn't necessary.

"Hello, grab some cookies and a cup of water, then take a seat," he invited as people began to arrive. There were no chairs, but he'd laid out some beach towels in the grass near the pond shore. "Lecture first, then water walking." He was glad the unseasonably warm weather they'd been having when he planned this topic earlier in the week had held out and even if someone took a dunking, it might even prove pleasant rather than frigid. It was still autumn, of course, so he doubted anyone would jump in on purpose, but drying charms should be able to handle any chills without resorting to actual warming charms.

Once it seemed like the rate of arrivals had dribbled to an end he clapped his hands together and grinned at the assembled group. "Welcome to Science club to anyone new, and welcome back to everyone else! As most of you know, I'm Clark Dill. First things first, does anyone need a water cup refill? Raise your hand if your cup is empty or need a cookie." Once anybody with an empty cup got a refill, he returned to the front of the group holding his own cup and a cracker.

"Water molecules are drawn together by cohesion, which is particularly strong in water due to hydrogen bonds. I have a handout about hydrogen bonds over on the snack table, if you didn't see it when you came in. These bonds create an effect called surface tension. Hydrogen bonds are pretty strong an if you sprinkle a few crumbs into your cup, chances are they'll sit on the top, not so much floating, which is when something less dense stays at the top of the liquid, but rather just sitting there, not even getting into the liquid in the first place." He crumbled his cookie over his cup of water. Some larger chunks immediately sunk, showing that the cookie was, in fact, denser than the water, but some smaller bits stayed on the top.

"The easiest way to note the difference between surface tension and just floating is that the surface of the water kind of divots under something resting on the tension while something floating has the water either even with it or actually rising up along its side where the two surfaces meet. We do have some striders out on the pond today, so come close to the edge to see how they are skimming over the surface and it kind of dips under them, just a little bit."

Once everyone who wanted to look at the striders did so, he continued, "Now, we as people are way too big and heavy to be held up by surface tension. It still affects us, though, as anyone who has ever done a belly flop or seen the a super-speed hero run across a lake can attest. Anyone here seen The Incredibles?" he looked around to see if anybody was with him on this. "On that, a kid was running on water so fast that the tension didn't have time to break under his weight before he moved on, but as soon as he stopped running, he sank."

"As witches and wizards, we probably can't run quite that fast, but what we can do is strengthen those bonds while spreading out our weight over a greater area. What this charm does it put out a thin magical skin over the water surface that reinforces the hydrogen bonds and distributes out weight evenly over a few square feet - this size varies depending on how big you are. The spell is called 'Gerridae' which is the latin name for the water striders, and a long sweeping wand motion like this." He demonstrated, sweeping his wand outward from his chest and giving it a slight upward curl at the end of it. "So altogether it goes like this, Gerridae," he cast the spell and then walked out onto the surface of the pond. There was a distinct bowing of the surface beneath him, going out a good four feet in each direction, but it held him. "Now all of you can try, too. Remember to walk slowly and carefully so as not to break through your surface, severing the bonds holding you up. Also don't get too close to each other, or there will be too much weight on one spot and you'll both go down. But feel free to experiment to see how close you can get before sinking, if you don't mind getting drenched."

He moved out closer to the middle of the pond so he could keep an eye on everyone as they spread out along the shores, taking careful steps like he was walking on a rickety and none too stable bridge.

    • Finally hereKit Reid, Mon Nov 7 21:20
      Kit was excited by the advertisement that had been on the poster. Who wouldn’t want to try walking on water? And that is how she found herself Sunday afternoon at the Labyrinth Pond. She wasn’t sure... more
    • Testing the water.Farrah Welsh, Sat Oct 29 22:01
      Science club was probably the closest thing to actual science class that Farrah was going to get while at Sonora. Unless Muggle Studies provided those kinds of lessons, but since she was not old... more
    • Testing BoundariesKellen Mormont, Fri Oct 28 11:39
      Kellen hadn't signed up for science club last year. He hadn't participated in any of the clubs actually, and he'd regretted it a little. Making friends wasn't the easiest for him, as his middle name... more
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