Monday, December 9, 2013

Germanna physics students tackle real-life problems

Four teams of students in Dr. Mirela Fetea's Germanna Community College Physics 242 class were asked to identify an environmental problem on one of Germanna’s campuses and come up with a detailed plan to fix it. They described what the problem is, how it was created and came up with solutions.
A team consisting of Jacob Westbrooks, R.J. Yakabouski, Reuben Strangelove and Troy Townsend finished first with a proposal to replace a four-way stop at the entrance of GCC's Fredericksburg Area Campus in Spotsylvania with a European style roundabout. They showed that the roundabout would save fuel and time and reduce air pollution. Watch Mythbusters--4-Way Stop vs. Roundabout video that was part of the presentation:
A team consisting of Andrew Hallet, Sarah Kaufman, Tyler Kosco, Adam Sharrow and Chau Tran finished second with a proposal to replace or supplement paper towels in campus restrooms with electric hand dryers. They found that this could save the college tens of thousands of dollars from year to year. They also found that washing thoroughly with soap and water was much more critical to preventing the spread of illness than the means of hand drying. The presentation: