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High School Science Project

  1. Dec 29, 2009 #1
    Science fair is being held soon, 2-3 months I believe. Anyways, the school mandates that you participate if you are currently enrolled in a science class...I am not, I've attained all my science credits. Although I am not too happy since I really wanted to take Physics this year but I might have a chance if I keep inquiring about it.

    I can participate voluntarily and I've decided to do so. I've fallen in love with Physics. Especially electromagnetism. Aside from the books I've checked out at my local Library, I was allowed to borrow the class book that is used in Physics at my school and I am currently reading it to establish the basic fundamentals. Anyhow, I really wish I could measure the speed of light. I've read up on the hot spots caused by uneven cooking in a microwave, but it's too simple, and doesn't really capture my interest. Now, I read that with an LED or 2 among other materials, including the oscilloscope, you may measure the speed of light. Problem is my school does not have a lab at all...for Chemistry experiments we made good use of the room they refer to as the "cafeteria", very small room, smaller than my den. Given that my school can't afford proper lab equipment, much less an expensive oscilloscope (yes, even the hundred dollar machines are much too expensive for my school), I am left with nothing. Another alternative was converting my PC's sound card into an oscilloscope, or one with very limited capabilities. Luckily for me, I am very good with PC's. Although I am left with one question, will this modified sound card -assuming I make the right modifications and install the proper software- work for this experiment? I will be writing an essay as well, should be around ~15 pages, give or take a few so the content of the essay will include the study of optics, well before Maxwell's time.

    I would appreciate any help, and I thank you all in advance. I am in 12th grade btw.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 30, 2009 #2
    Nope. The modified sound card wouldn't do. The discretization frequency of the sound card is too low 44100 Hz. You'll need an oscilloscope with ~1 ns resolution to perform the measurement.
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2009
  4. Dec 30, 2009 #3
  5. Dec 30, 2009 #4
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