Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Personal Introduction

Hello everyone,

My name is Alexandros and I am originally from Athens, Greece but I have also lived in the Netherlands for three years. This summer I am graduating from Claremont McKenna College in California where I majored in Economics and History.

I am taking this course as part of my science requirements, and I have three good reasons for choosing "from snails to whales": the first reason is that the head of the biology department at Claremont told me it would probably be the best science course I could ever take (judging from our first field trip, she was definitely right!). The second reason is that when I was younger I "adopted" an Orca whale but never got to actually see a whale. The third reason is that although I spend a great deal of time on the Greek seas and islands, I feel that I don't know enough about life in water.

Here is a slideshow with some pictures from the Aegean Sea where I spend my holidays.

As far as the experiment is concerned, I will tell you what I observed while trying not to bore you too much by repeating what others have said. In the sink experiment I observed the water twisting clockwise when draining. Although I was looking closely I cannot make up my mind about the direction of the water in the toilet experiment: it seems to me as though the water was going in all directions without any particular pattern other than down the toilet.

I looked up the Coriolis effect in my notes from the Environmental Science I recently took. My notes referred to wind and ocean currents, but if we assume that in theory the same should hold for the sink and the toilet, I would say that in both the sink and the toilet the water should drain to the right. The reason is that in the North hemisphere, currents are deflected to the right (Eastward) because of the Coriolis effect.

In Australia the currents are also deflected to the right, but since Australia is on the Southern hemisphere, the resulting direction of the currents is Westward. Considering this it is tempting to say that if we repeated the experiment in Australia the water would drain counter-clockwise in both cases, but this question seems to me a bit more tricky than that.

see you on Friday,

Alexandros Couclelis

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