Introductory Exercises

Answer the following questions to the best of your ability. In these Introductory Exercises, getting the ''correct'' answer is not important. Thinking through the concepts and identifying your preconceptions is very important. Once you have answered the questions individually, you may want to compare ideas with one or two of your classmates. Were their answers the same or different?
How fast does light travel? Does it always travel at that speed?
Take a clear container of water and a straw or a pencil. Put the straw (pencil) halfway in the water with the submerged end against the side of the container and the unsubmerged end against the opposite side of the container (see figure).
Does the straw (pencil) look straight? Why or why not?
Think about lenses, such as those used in eyeglasses or contact lenses. How do they work? Discuss your ideas with your classmates. Does anyone have differing ideas?

Copyright © 1999 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute and DJ Wagner. All Rights Reserved.