## Washing Dishes and Physics Lessons

10 03 2011

Parole: gravità (gravity), cotello (knife)

With four hungry people living in one apartment, the dishes pile up quickly.  Daily there are at least 12 spoons with Nutella or peanut butter-like remnants in the sink.  We all willingly take turns at washing dishes and making meals.  There is no set system, it just works out.

Yesterday I did the pre-dinner dishes, and tonight I entertained the post-dinner crowed of Ikea specialties.  Yesterday we were home a majority of the day, because Wednesdays are free in our schedule, thus explaining the pre-dinner party in the sink.  Throughout the semester, we will be using Wednesdays for field trips and farm tours, which is very exciting considering the number of regular field trips we take at Cornell.  Allora, I while I was doing dishes tonight, I realized that a lot of the lessons that I learned in my regents level physics class (if Mr. Basset is reading this, I LOVE PHYSICS!, also known as “Amo la fisica!”  I will be sure to yell it in the streets of Parma) can be applied to this daily chore.  Here are some examples:

1.  No two objects can occupy the same space: This law even exists between water and sponges, when enough force is applied.  When washing a cup, I generally follow the standard rinse, dump, sponge, rinse again procedure.  I would say that “dump” would be the most important step.  If the there is some water still in the cup when one goes to sponge the inside of the glass, you will know that you are learning a physics lesson.  This is because when the sponge is put in the glass, water will proceed to shoot out of the opening of the cup, splashing you.

2.  Gravity-It’s the law: The faucet in our kitchen sink is located high above the bottom of the sink.  This means you can get more dishes in it before you need to wash them.  However, it also means that acceleration due to gravity will cause the water to accelerate towards the center of the earth and will come into contact with the bottom of the sink so fast, that it will splash.  This coupled with a relatively shallow sink, will also result in a wet dishwasher. However, gravity is also a plus in this situation.  The dish drying rack is located directly above the sink, inside a cabinet.  It is a brilliant idea.  The dishes are out of sight in a cabinet while they are drying.  The water will drip directly into the sink as they dry.  This, coupled with the correct ambient temperature and relative humidity will result in dry dishes in a relatively quick manner.

Note the innovative dish rack, the position of the faucet relative to the sink, and the shallow sides of the sink.

I am sure that more laws of physics will become more evident as the semester continues.  Over spring break I am hoping to explore the phenomenon we call “lift” as we conquer Europe.

This week was our first week of classes.  I wasn’t sure if I could handle sitting through a two hour plus lecture, as there are times when I can barely sit through a 50 minute class at Cornell.  However, I am impressed.  The professors have been very engaging, and have share a lot of interesting information with us.  Our first class, “Italian Food:  History, Culture, and Taste” made me hungry while we listened about the rise and fall of the Roman Empire, their encounters with so-called “barbarians”, and how food and agriculture influenced everything that they did.  In our EU and Italian agriculture/economics systems classes, we have learned a lot about how policy in the EU has both stimulated and repressed food production over the past 60 years in order to support producers.  I have found it easy to stay attentive in all of the classes because of their interesting material and engaging instructors.  Everything is just so different over here, especially when it comes to policy, so I think that is why it is so interesting.  I am excited to see what the next week of classes will bring.

Tomorrow is Friday, and due to a slight adjustment in scheduling, we don’t have classes.  We will be meeting with Federico to take care of some more Italian bureaucratic issues in order to legally reside in the country for more than 90 days, and translate some tourist information about Verona for a possible weekend getaway.

Ciao!

PS-The weather as been fantastic this week!  Sunny and 50s (F)

Happy 71st Birthday Chuck Norris!