PhysicsLAB Amusing Problems
The Science Fair

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It's science-fair time, and Dr. J agrees to serve as a judge. Some of the projects are fantastic, but a few are hard to believe. For example, the math project that consists of the study of musical patterns given off by a burning fireplace is passed off as "a study of log rhythms." Or how about the girl in behavioral science who found students work more while listening to a local FM station and therefore concludes that they must be radioactive. A zoology project found that fruit flies lose track of time while being entertained. It is titled "How Fly's Time While Having Fun." (You had to watch for that one.) Perhaps the worst project concerns the study of ticks on dogs. After running experiments, one student noticed that the number of ticks that jumped onto a dog increased the more he petted and loved the dog, whereas the number of ticks that left a dog increased the more he yelled and screamed at the dog. The student concludes that making a dog mad is equivalent to it being ticked off. Some judges feel that the student is barking up the wrong tree, while others feel the experiment is just too ruff. The winning project is a good one, however. A student built a new home-heating system using cobalt-60. The capsule used has an initial activity of 17,000 curies.
If the half-life of cobalt-60 is 5 years, what would be the rate of heat production of that sample after 15 years? (17,000 curies produce heat at a rate of 360 watts.)

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