Events, Science:
UW Engineering Fair

This is the world's fastest gun. OK, maybe not exactly, but one of the fastest and the first of the fastest.

How fast, you ask? So fast, that bullets evaporate if they're made out of aluminum. Ttanium's better. So fast that it breaks the speed of sound several times over. Going that much faster than the speed of sound causes heat and drag, so they pump the barrel up to 50 times atmospheric pressure. High pressure increases the speed of sound and reduces the projectile's Mach. Technically, this speed is known as stupid fast.

You can see this marvel for yourself at the UW engineering fair. You can also see a 1:3 working model of a fusion reactor, and a gizmo that uses synchronized sound waves to generate searing heat at a point inside your body. And there's lots more where that came from.

Unfortunately, the fair is apparently run by engineers, who are good at dealing with not-people. How do you find the stupid fast gun? Do you follow the signs that say

Stupid fast gun this way!

No, you follow the little printed signs to the "RAM experiment." Nice trick, hiding the stupid fast gun from everyone who's not interested in finding out what the "RAM experiment" is.

Of course, it's not all about actual engineering. Folks can also ride Segways.

April 2007