The Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search…and why you should care

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The Great Internet Mersenne Prime Search(GIMPS) is a a huge internet search for the largest Mersenne prime numbers. The Mersenne Primes are prime numbers that can be written in the form (2^n)-1 and are also the most common type of largest prime number found. In fact 13 out of the 20 largest Prime numbers are Mersenne.

The fascination for finding the “largest” prime number came from the fact that Euclid predicted that there is no largest prime number. It piqued the interest in a group of computer scientists and GIMPS was born.

In 1996, GIMPS commenced operations and started to find large and then even larger prime numbers solely by using the Mersenne approach to prime numbers. Gimps uses a distributed computer process; GIMPS allows users to download the program for free to help find prime numbers. And for added incentive they give out 3000 dollars for anyone who find the current largest prime number within the right parameters of decimal points.

So I am currently looking into signing up on their website and you should too. I mean you could win 3000 dollars for just running a computer program all day. Easy Money.




Fluid Mechanics: IN REAL LIFE


The other day I got to experience something I learned in my Mechanics of Fluids class in real life. A helium filled birthday balloon, while extremely fun, is the center of the lesson.

A full helium balloon usually just floats to the top of the environment it’s in. However, after a couple of months the helium in the balloon starts to leak. After a certain amount of helium leaks, you get a situation where the balloon stays in the same position, but it no longer floats to the top, as shown in the photo. Why does this happen?

Well, air is a fluid and objects immersed in a fluid follow this rule:

Sum of Forces(In the vertical direction)=(Displaced Fluid Weight)-(Weight of the Object)

Helium is less dense than the gases in the atmosphere so when the balloon is filled the volume of the air that the balloon displaces weighs more than the volume of the balloon(with the helium) itself. This leads to a balloon being able to float through the air. In the case of the photo we can equate the sum of forces to zero and find that the displaced air weight is equal to the weight of the ballon with the helium. This is why the ballon stays still without floating to the top of the room.

Any object in any fluid follows the equation shown above, so any object will follow these rules:

  1. An object floats when the weight of the displaced fluid is greater than the weight of the object.
  2. An object stays still in a fluid when the weight of the displaced fluid is equal to the weight of the object.(The balloon in this example)
  3. An object will sink when the weight of the displaced fluid is less than the weight of the object.

And now you should be able to answer this question: Why do you not float to the top of the room? Use of the equation is preferred.

Theremin: Physics meets Music

theremin 2There are several cross sections between Music and Physics. The circle of fifths and harmonics are two common examples however the correlations are endless. One can even argue that music, as we know it, would not exist without physics. One of my favorites cross sections is the Theremin invented by Leon Theremin.

The Theremin is a gesture controlled electronic music instrument. One hand controls pitch while the other controls volume. The instrument uses the heterodyne principal to combine frequencies and make new frequencies. The performer is connected to a grounding plate and their hand acts as a variable capacitor within a capacitor and inductor circuit. The circuit is connected to two oscillators that is connected to an audio mixer. The audio mixer then produces a frequency which is the difference between the two oscillators. The closer the hand is two the upright antenna, the higher the frequency.

With all this in mind I hope you enjoy this google doodle of one of my favorite musicians, Clara Rockmore. Physical limitations made it so she could not perform the violin anymore but she decided to master the Theremin and actually led to several improvements to the instrument. She also performed in the 1930s with the New York Philharmonic, the Philadelphia Orchestra, and the Toronto Symphony as a soloist. The google doodle allows you to reenact the piece she performed with the orchestra and to write your own music.

Introduction: Flow Zone

Hello World. My name is Leonardo Flores and this is my blog for my class, Fluid Mechanics. I do not really write and this is a completely new experience for me. This blog will primarily involve engineering, particularly fluid mechanics, however I can write about whatever engineering I want. Stay tuned for updates as this blog post will update every Tuesday and Thursday.