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APSU’s mad scientist, Clarksville Fire Rescue, campus police team up to provide virtual science lesson to kids

May 12, 2020 | Email This Post Print This Post
 

Austin Peay State University - APSUClarksville, TNAustin Peay State University’s “Professional” Mad Scientist Bryan Gaither – in partnership with the APSU Office of Human Resources – gave the school’s employees and their children a virtual treat during the last week of the spring semester. 

Austin Peay State University Mad Scientist Bryan Gaither. (APSU)

Austin Peay State University Mad Scientist Bryan Gaither. (APSU)

Parents and children got the chance to virtually visit Gaither at his expansive lab on campus on May 7th, 2020 as he guided them through several lessons and demonstrations about sound. 

“When I clap my hands, and you hear that, what exactly is happening?” Gaither asked his young viewers through Zoom. “I’m putting energy into moving my hands to make it clap like that and that energy has to go somewhere, it can’t just disappear.

“When I smack my hands together, I smoosh all the air molecules in between and they move out of the way really, really fast, and that makes sound,” he said.

Gaither then led his audience through several demonstrations to explain what sound waves are and how they work. Sometimes the demos “showed” the waves in motion. 

The demonstrations included:

But the big treat came near the end when Gaither radioed for help from APSU Police and Clarksville Fire Rescue.

Austin Peay State University's Bryan Gaither works with Clarksville Fire Rescue to demostrate the Doppler effect. (APSU)

Austin Peay State University’s Bryan Gaither works with Clarksville Fire Rescue to demostrate the Doppler effect. (APSU)

“Capt. (Michael) Rios, do you copy,” Gaither said. 

A fire truck then blared its horn and flashed into the screen, demonstrating the Doppler effect – an increase and decrease of sound waves as the source approaches then leaves an observer – to viewers. 

The children’s faces also flashed on the Zoom screen as the fire truck drove by. 

“Could you hear the frequency change?” Gaither asked the kids. “Awesome. 

“I want to be sure to thank Captain Rios, Clarksville Fire Rescue and APSU Campus Police for helping,” Gaither said. 

Austin Peay State University’s Human Resources is offering similar virtual resources to the university’s employees and children during the COVID-19 Coronavirus pandemic. To find out more, go to https://www.apsu.edu/human-resources/lgl/.                            

Gaither also is working hard on creating virtual physics experiments for Austin Peay State University students. 

“We’re doing a couple of one-minute videos so that the faculty can reference them in their online teaching,” he said. “Even though it’s just a quick, one-minute thing, I want it to be there online so they can say, ‘Now let’s talk about the depth of the concept behind this.”

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