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Austin Peay State University Governors School students walk on water

 

Austin Peay State University - APSUClarksville, TN – Austin Peay State University (APSU) Governor’s School for Computational Physics students learned what it’s like to walk on water this week.

Several of the University’s physics students filled kiddie pools with a water and corn starch mixture, which created a non-Newtonian fluid.

Students at the Governor’s School for Computational Physics learned what it’s like to walk on water this week -- oobleck, that is -- at Austin Peay State University. (Karen Meisch, APSU)

Students at the Governor’s School for Computational Physics learned what it’s like to walk on water this week — oobleck, that is — at Austin Peay State University. (Karen Meisch, APSU)

Non-Newtonian fluids act like liquids when not under stress and like solids when under force.

That means when the students stood on the mixture, it acted like water, and they sunk. And when they stepped or jumped on the mixture, it acted like a solid.

Non-Newtonian fluids are also commonly known as oobleck, a term popularized by Dr. Seuss books.

The Austin Peay students mixed 150 pounds of cornstarch with water to make the oobleck.

What Is Governor’s School?

The state offers 11 programs to high-achieving juniors and seniors across Tennessee. Topics cover science, the arts, business, technology, humanities, international studies and teaching. The state provides scholarships to all the students to cover the costs of Governor’s School, including tuition, room and board, and food.

Austin Peay provides the Governor’s School for Computational Physics, which is an introduction to computational problems in physics and engineering. The school runs through June 21 and includes coding, lab work, class lectures and homework. Students earn four college credit hours by completing the three-week school.

The highlights of the school are two field trips, one to the National Space Science Technology Center and the U.S. Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama, and the other to the National Center for Computational Sciences at Oak Ridge National Laboratory.

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