April 3rd, 2011

Physics Laboratory Experiences

Hey guys, so I'm writing a short story about an undergraduate girl who takes an obsession with some artist guy while she goes through an existential crisis. She's a physics major, in her third year, and to add relevance to her character development, I'd like her to work for a physics professor in some of his work as an internship. This is set in relatively modern/current times.

Does anyone have any experience working for a physics professor in their undergraduate or graduate years? Did you do any experiments? What did you have to do during those times? What were some of the equipment around you and what did they do? Any insight to everyday activities is greatly welcomed (it doesn't have to be all that exciting), as are any cool stories you'd like to share. Also, were there other students working alongside you, or was it just you?

I tried googling things like "Physics internship experiences," "undergraduate physics experiments," and just plain "internship experiences," but all I get are internship opportunities and a couple of experiments designed for class, which I'm pretty sure professors aren't bothering themselves with.

Thanks in advance! I'm an astronomy major, so while I know (some) physics, I don't know what goes on in the lab. Haha.

Stab wounds in the shoulder: how serious?

This question has come about as a result of looking at the posts on both gunshot wounds and stab wounds in the shoulder. Most of the posts regarding getting shot in the shoulder point out that it's a very bad place to get shot, as there's a large artery and important nerves controlling the arm in that area. However, a number of the stabbing question posts had the shoulder suggested as a 'good' place to get stabbed without suffering terrible damage.

I'm suspecting that the stab answers are in the wrong here, but I wanted to make sure. Is getting stabbed in the shoulder less likely to cause nerve damage and excessive bleeding out than getting shot in the same area? Or is it about the same?

(And while I'm on the topic: does getting shot/stabbed in the back of the shoulder (from behind) carry the same risks? Or does that depend on how far the bullet/knife goes in?)

Leg Amputation and Heavy Trees

 Okay... I'm not at all sure how I want this part of my story to happen, so this question is going to be a bit muddled and probably more generic than usual.  

I've done some research through Google, and found out quite a bit about leg amputations during medieval times.  So I don't need to know so much about that aspect of things.  But what I haven't been able to find answers to (mainly because I don't even know how to begin such a search, nor what key words to even use) is exactly what kind of situation might produce the need for amputation.  

The story is set in medieval Norway (late 1200s - early 1300s).  At this point of the story, my character has to lose a leg.  It can't be because of any kind of fighting or violence.  For the purposes of the story, it has to be because of a freak accident or an "act of God", so to speak.  I was thinking something like having a tree collapse on him during a storm.  So the first question is, is that realistic?  Do trees fall in such a way that a man might get pinned under them, and only lose one leg?  Secondly, the amputation occurs on the spot, so it has to be a heavy enough tree that three or four men wouldn't be able to move it.  So what are some of the heaviest trees in Norway?  

Like I said, stuff I can't think of how to approach in terms of Google research.  Appreciate any help that could be given in figuring this out.  Thanks!  

EDIT: One other thing I'm wondering about: I guess I'm having trouble understanding how a tree could fall on someone like that. Is it that you don't know which way it will fall? Couldn't you just look and see what direction it's going and just run at a right angle to that direction? I know that probably sounds stupid, but I just am having trouble understanding how exactly an event like that happens.