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The Sound of Science - 'Destruction'

Jeremy: Welcome to The Sound of Science. I'm STEM Educator Jeremy Benson.

Kristin: And I'm NIU STEAM Director Dr. Kristin Brynteson.

Jeremy: Today we're here to talk about the joy we feel when we destroy.

Kristin: The idea to talk about this topic came up because Jeremy's been blowing up on Facebook, and not in the viral sense, but literally, blowing up on Facebook.

Jeremy: Over the last month, I've been breaking glasses using sound waves and demolishing cabbages with a vacuum cannon all in the name of science.

Kristin: That sounds like a blast but why so destructive?

Jeremy: Well, I think people have always had a fascination with the explosive energy of destroying things, seeing something reduced to it's component parts, and that's actually a very valuable tool in science. The Big Bang is one of the earliest explosions that we study, and it produced all of the matter and energy we have surrounding us. Particle colliders like those at Fermilab and Cern, collide those smaller pieces into each other to see what those are made of. By destroying things and breaking them into these smaller pieces, we're discovering what the Universe is actually made of and how it works.

Kristin: Engineers also destroy. Sometimes we think engineers are creators, but we like to be destructive too. Engineers use destructive testing to really understand materials, items, and systems. For example, you might wonder how many times will my string last on my pull mower before it breaks? Or, what will happen to my patio furniture if I leave it out all winter? Enigneers answer these questions by using destructive testing, whether it's environmental testing, corrosive testing, stress testing, this type of testing can provide a lot of information that helps engineers make improvments, figure out how long a product is going to last, and whether the product is safe.

Jeremy: This was The Sound of Science on WNIJ.

Kristin: Where you learn something new every day.  

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