

INTRODUCTION
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The CfCP Yerkes Winter Institute is a threeday immersion program
that allows middle and highschool students to explore a scientific
theme in depth under the guidance of Center researchers and educators.
The theme for 2002 was Scaling Up, which encouraged
the students to question how astrophysicists extrapolate simple
measurements to understand the universe and its cosmic proportions.
In the three daytime laboratories, students
investigated everyday objects (balloons, sugar cubes, and light
bulbs) and extended their results to more substantial things (the
TopHat telescope, the 90foot dome for the great refractor, and
the sun itself). The
students were divided into three groups that rotated among the
daytime experiments, made nighttime observations,
and shared their investigations with parents, siblings, and younger
students who joined us at the end of the institute. [more
photos]


A crucial aspect of the experience is
the interactions between the students and research scientists. The
residential experience provides numerous occasions for informal
interactions beyond the extended laboratories. The presence of professors
Juan Collar,
Ed
Kibblewhite, and Jonathan
Rosner particularly enriched the institute this year. In addition
to the wealth of knowledge, creativity, and experience that these
individuals bring to the institute, their presence also provides
a window to the type of individuals that scientists are. 

DAYTIME LABORATORIES
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THE INVERSESQUARE LAW:
How Many Light Bulbs Does It Take to Match the Brightness
of the Sun?
Prof. Juan Collar & Andy Puckett 
Handout 
Everyday experience tells us that the further away a light is,
the dimmer it appears. This experiment involved measuring the
relationship of distance to the apparent brightness of a light
bulb, and fitting these measurements to a mathematical function.
The students combined this formula (brightness decreases as the
square of the distance) with the distance to the sun and a measurement
of how bright the sun appears to determine how many light bulbs
would be equivalent to the sun. It turns out that you need a lot—about
8 billion billion billion of the small bulbs that were used in
the experiment. [more
photos]



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HOW SWEET IT IS!
How Many Sugar Cubes Does It Take to Fill the Big Dome?
Walter Glogowski & Bill Fisher 
Handout 
This investigation explored how models and scale are used in
science. The laboratory activities used the simple sugar cube
to understand how volume increased compared to linear dimensions
as an object grows. The students used sugar cubes to work through
a number of geometric and scaling activities (e.g., growing cubes
from a 1x1x1 to the next and then the next size cubes, and doubling
the volume of a cylinder). The students' efforts culminated in
determining the size of the BIG dome and then calculating the
number of sugar cubes that would be needed to fill it. In case
you are curious, it would take about 3.5x10^9 sugar cubes, which
would take over 110 years to count if one counted at a rate of
a cube a second, twentyfour hours a day, and seven days a week. [more
photos]



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UP, UP and AWAY!
How Many Helium Balloons Does It Take to Lift the TopHat Telescope?
Randy Landsberg 
Handout 
This laboratory explored the buoyant force of the common heliumfilled
party balloon. A large part of this investigation involved the
students devising their own experimental procedures and comparing
their methods with those of their peers. The students made measurements,
extrapolated their data to larger objects, tested their predictions,
and then applied their collective data to much bigger objects.

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The first challenge was to determine
how much lift one party balloon had. Based on this measurement,
they predicted how many balloons would be needed to lift a 20gram
mass and tested their predictions. The students then pooled their
results and identified the major sources of uncertainty (for example,
balance only accurate to whole grams and variation in balloon sizes).
They used this averaged data, with its associated uncertainty, to
calculate how many balloons they would need to lift themselves,
and finally, how many balloons would be required to lift the TopHat
telescope (which, in reality, was flown over Antarctica in a longduration
helium balloon). The students determined that it would take about
10 to 20 thousand heliumfilled party balloons to lift a person,
and about 200,000 balloons to lift the TopHat telescope. [more
photos]


NIGHTTIME OBSERVATIONS
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Evening activities included exploring the clear Wisconsin winter
sky with telescopes. Richard Dreiser employed an 8inch telescope
on the south lawn, while Professor Ed Kibblewhite offered students
a more magnified view with the 24inch refractor. Meanwhile, Professor
Rosner and the students entered a contest to see who could contact
the most and most distant radio operators. They deployed an oddlooking
helium balloon to create a long range antenna for the 1.8 MHz
amateur band. This setup allowed the group to make radio contact
with people as far away as Martinique in the Caribbean Sea.
[more photos]


STUDENTS
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• Melissa Blakey
• Monashae Brownlee
• Derrick Clay
• Samantha Dewberry
• Jessica Dillard
• Timotheus Gordon
• Ashley Hall
• Virginia Hayes
• Javal Howard
• Lynn Jones
• Danielle Larkin 

• Arron Lucas
• Jameal Mathis
• Larry McDonald
• Paula Montgomery
• Jeminat Onisemoh
• Jimmie Price
• Christopher Smith
• Erica Stevens
• Albert Sweeten
• Montriece Wade
• Tamela Wilcoxon 


INSTRUCTORS
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• Charles Brass
• Juan
Collar
• Richard Dreiser
• Bill Fisher
• Walter Glogowski
• Al
Harper
• Ed
Kibblewhite
• Randy Landsberg
• Andy Puckett
• Jonathan
Rosner
• Phil Wisecup
