Monday, January 17, 2011

The Alan Nursall Experience: Scommies Team Up with The Daily Planet

This past week, The Daily Planet was in Sudbury for a four-day shoot for a segment of the Alan Nursall Experience.  The Scommies were invited to participate in two parts of the shoot.  It was a great opportunity for all of us to experience the works behind filming television programming.  So, in short, we were wired with mics. and sent in front of cameras to communicate science!

Day One: Super-cooled Liquids

Six of us (Lorraine, Brandon, Josh, Karen, Susie, and Nina) got to hang around outdoors on Laurentian University campus to answer a viewer question: Say you've put a bottle of water into the freezer.  Why is it that sometimes, even though the temperature of the water is below freezing (below 0 degrees Celsius), the water is still liquid, but if you shake or squeeze the bottle, it freezes almost instantly? 

Thanks to chilly Sudbury weather, we got to answer the question by experimenting with bottles of super-cooled water and beer (and of course there was no shortage of LU students walking by and exclaiming "There's beer on that table!").  We got to work with infrared thermometers (to read the surface temperatures of the bottled liquids without disturbing them), and watch water that remained liquid at -7 Celsius flash freeze before our eyes!  I won't spoil all of the details, but I will say that the results of our experiments were super-cool.

Nina, Brandon, and Karen - along with Alan Nursall - create ice with super-cooled water. Photo courtesy of Laurentian Alumni on Twitter (@LaurentianAlum).

Day Two: Spa Day

While some of us got to freeze our butts on the previous shoot, Jalyn, Sarah, and Steph got to spend their shoot in the sauna at the  Laurentian University gym.

From Steph:

If you had been taking a shower in the LU women’s locker room on Wednesday morning of last week, you would have been interrupted by a strange announcement: “Quiet please, we’re filming!!” 

That would have been quite the excuse to wrap up in a towel quickly and get out!  But there was nothing strange going on, just a shoot of The Alan Nursall Experience in the sauna for Daily Plant.  Maybe a bit strange for a science show, but that’s what makes the experience so much fun.  Alan and friends (including a few of our very own Sci. Comm. students) were exploring the reason why you get hot while enjoying the sauna. 

Steam you say?  Well yes, sort of.  In order to make water boil and become water vapor (steam), you must add heat.  Therefore, when this water condenses into its liquid form again, heat is released.  You are the coolest surface in a sauna, so the evaporated water condenses on your skin, releasing heat, and making you feel warmer.  Interesting stuff! 

Experiencing filming for television was very interesting.  It is a time consuming practice, which is especially noticeable when sitting in a sauna with a robe on.  Nonetheless, it was a lot of fun and a great addition to the “Scommie’s” list of adventures!

Stay tuned for more photos and showtimes.  The Daily Planet airs everyday on the Discovery Channel at 7 pm and 11 pm EST.

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