Wednesday, January 24, 2007

(Soon-to-be) current transformer.

I just like the way it looks, with yellow and red colors:

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Интересный факт о богеме.

Переводя либретто арии Habanera ("L'amour est un oiseau rebelle") из оперы "Кармен", натолкнулся на интересную строчку:

L'amour est enfant de Bohême,
il n'a jamais, jamais connu de loi;

Перевод "Любовь - ребенок богемы" как-то не подходил, так что пришлось применить словарь. Оказалось, что Bohême (или Bohêmien) означает "цыган" или "цыганский". А также "человек, ведущий беспорядочную жизнь" и "богемный". Все логично, ничего не скажешь. Поэтому дословный перевод звучит так:

Любовь - цыганский ребенок,
Она никогда, никогда не знала закона;

Стало интересно, как слово "богема" стало означать то, что означает. Выяснилось следующее (ссылка):
Богема - не имеющие устойчивого материального обеспечения представители творческой интеллигенции (художники, литераторы, актеры, музыканты), ведущие беспорядочный и беспечный образ жизни, а также такой образ жизни, быт, среда этих людей.
[Фр. boheme -- цыганщина. Происхождение слова связано с произведением французского писателя А. Мюрже (Murger) "Сцены из жизни богемы" (Scenes de la vie de Boheme), в котором изображается быт студентов Латинского квартала в Париже (беззаботная жизнь студентов уподобляется жизни кочующих цыган). На сюжет этого произведения композитором Дж. Пуччини написана опера "Богема" (1896 г.). Появление во французском языке слова boheme, вероятно, связано с фактом прибытия во Францию в 1427 г. (по другим сведениям в 1417 г.) цыган из Богемии (Чехии).]

Saturday, January 20, 2007

Storage tube, step by step (1).

Sasha, thank you for all your help, lessons and friendship. Without you, it would not be possible.

Before I met Sasha, who taught me how to work with glass, I had no clue as to how various types of glassware are made. I'm pretty confident that most people can say the same thing. So I figured it might be fun to start photographing my glassblowing work and posting pictures with some short comments or explanations. And since I blow glass on the regular basis, the only thing necessary was a willing photographer.

This time I needed to make three special reaction vessels ASAP, so I fired up the torch and Natasha kindly accepted the role of the photographer. In fact, she was so good at it that I got some 200+ photos (Natash, you are the best!) After picking the best shots I have some 50 photos which do a great job demonstrating different stages of the project and techniques used. However, there is no way I can put them all in one post, so I decided to take it easy, start with an overview, and then go into details. This way, hopefully, you'll be able to get at least a flavor of glass work without too much scrolling.

OK, so I started with some glassblowing blanks (valve barrels, O-ring joints) and a tube. Here is all that stuff (calipers are included for the scale):After 1.5-2 hours of work, these things were transformed into something more useful for a chemist:How were they made? By sealing together top with the bottom (you can see three sets of them, ready for assembly, here):How these pieces were put together? By a straight seal ("простой спай"). First, the edges which would form the seal are heated:then two pieces are stuck together and heated again. I can't just heat them in one spot, the heat needs to go uniformly around the seal, so I rotate both parts with the same speed. The glass is pretty liquid at this point, so if I stop, or my rotation is not uniform, the glass will sag more to one side, making the whole thing unsymmetrical and ugly. It takes some practice to get the skill.When the glass is hot, I can blow it out a bit (to counter the sagging):When the seal is done, it has to be annealed in a "soft" (colder) flame (I use a different torch for that):As you see, it looks close to what we need, but the bottom has that thin handle (it's called a "point" или "держава"). As a last step, it needs to be turned into a spherical closed tip. First, it is heated again:when the point is pulled away it closes the tip, but it's far from being spherical. The closed tip needs to be heated again:When it's hot enough, some gentle blowing does the job and makes this near-perfect spherical shape:As always, after softening the glass, it must be annealed:After doing all these steps three times, the vessels were done. The question remaining is how I made the top and bottom parts. I guess I'll describe it in the next post (this one is getting pretty big already).

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Toluene/liquid nitrogen slush bath

Today I needed -95C temperature, so it was a good occasion to take some pictures of slush bath being made. As you pour liquid nitrogen in a "hot" (room temperature) solvent, it rapidly evaporates, producing very low temperatures in the gas phase and freezing bath solvent vapors, forming this white mist: I never seem to get tired of that. Here is a frozen surface of toluene:
And a final slush with an apparatus:

Monday, January 15, 2007

South Park

Three intersecting cylinders

Just for fun, using "union" instead of "intersect" on three orthogonal cylinders, following shape was generated (3D wireframe):And the rendered image (material set as blue marble):

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Object of interest

Some time ago my friend asked me an interesting question: what body (possessing internal volume) has three orthogonal projections being circles (of the same radii), but isn't a sphere. I could imagine a stationary view of such object, but couldn't really rotate it in my head. I guess, my rendering software needs some practice ;-). Sasha Parfenov (my friend) actually made it out of paper. At first I thought about making it out of Styrofoam using a cookie-cutter technique, but instead I decided to read AutoCAD manual a bit more. After ~1 hour of reading and tweaking the object was drawn and rendered from different angles:Orthogonal projections:It would be really cool to machine this body on lathe (from brass). Maybe in a very distant future it will happen. But for now here is the next best thing:I couldn't find description of this body in any of my math books nor on the Internet. A hypothesis that it is a "cylindroid" wasn't correct. One definition of cylindroid is:
1. A cylindrical surface or solid all of whose sections perpendicular to the elements are elliptical.
2. A mucous thread with pointed or split ends, observed microscopically in the urine, and resembling a urinary cast.
Resembling a cylinder.
Cylindroid is also a different name for Plücker's conoid. It would be interesting to find out the actual name of this body.

P.S. The object's name is a tricylinder. The general name for a body formed by an intersection of cylinders is Steinmetz Solid. Looking through some of the 3D objects on WolframMathWorld, I finally found it after searching for "intersecting cylinders". The 3D applet they use is very cool and many shapes are pretty interesting

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Stale cucumbers' problem

A vegetable-storage facility got 100 tonnes of cucumbers. The humidity analysis showed they contained 99% of water. After storing them for a month they were analyzed again, showing that water content dropped to 98%. What is the total weight of cucumbers after a month storage?
Courtesy OGP

Friday, January 12, 2007

Chasm Lake - winter attempt

After a major snowstorm on 2oth of December (about ~25 inches of snow during ~24h), as soon the the roads were more or less cleared (23rd of December), Serega and I went to Longs Peak trailhead with an ambitious plan to get to Chasm Lake (taking the red dotted path). In my opinion it's the best hike around here, which combines high elevation (11,760 feet, 3584 meters), breath-taking scenery and good distance (4.2 miles one-way, elevation gain 2,360 feet). In August 2006 it took me about 1h 20min to get there from the ranger station. However, it can be very different during winter time, with high winds and especially deep snow.

We left Fort Collins at ~6am and drove to Estes Park. The weather was brilliantly clear and still, as it often happens after storms. Clouds were slowly rolling over the mountaintops from the west, filling the gullies. Beautiful view, well worth waking up at ~5. Driving through Estes Park, we also saw a bunch of dears, probably stealing food from horses. It's interesting how animals here are not afraid of people.
At ~8am we got to the Longs Peak trailhead, put snowshoes on and began the hike. The trail was pretty well broken, considering that it was only two days after a big snowstorm.As we went further, trail became less and less packed. Finally, right before the timberline (to be precise, right before the second little bridge), the trail ended. Whoever hiked there before us became too fed up with it :-). Trail breaking began. I was going second, after Serega, but still I was often sinking below knee. As Serega put it, "one step counted as ten". Especially going uphill on a steep gradient through fresh snow. But going became a little easier once we got above the timberline, mostly because our path wasn't as steep there. The snow was deeper then 2 meters in places (I couldn't reach the ground with a hiking pole). The little alpine tundra trees were completely buried sometimes.
Slowly we were getting closer to our destination:
After 4 hours of snowshoeing we finally got to the Chasm Junction. The weather was good, the wind was very mild, and the skies were crystal-clear. The view of the Diamond (the big triangle wall of Longs Peak), Ship's Prow and Meeker were absolutely spectacular. As you can see:Here is Google Earth map of the area with all the names. The above photo is taken from Chasm Junction, and it includes Mount Lady Washington on the right, Longs Peak in the middle and a part of Meeker on the left.
In order for us to get to Chasm Lake itself we would have to go further, negotiating 40-50 degrees snow slopes. 2 days after a major snowstorm that whole area would be very unstable (prone to avalanches), so Serega and I had no problem with not going any further. Besides, we were pretty tired after 4 hours ascend. After taking a few pictures and a brief rest we headed down. Here is what we saw on our way back:
On this photo you can distinguish the trail we made:The way back to the parking lot took us one and a half hours. Having a broken trail and going downhill makes a big difference, that's for sure. All in all, it was a really good day, even though we didn't get to Chasm Lake. It should make an awesome early spring snow hike/climb. We'll see.

...and so it begins...

So finally I started it! I decided to start a blog a while ago, but since I was kinda busy (to be honest, it was mostly procrastination ;-)), I am doing it only now. Well, better late then never.

Friends: I was pretty terrible lately with communication, keeping silence and not answering emails very well. I'm offering my sincerest apologies and wish you all Merry Christmas (both Catholic and Orthodox), and a very, VERY Happy New Year. I haven't forgotten about you, and I'm not ignoring anybody. In fact, the major reason behind starting this blog is to get better at keeping in touch with close people far, far away. And maybe share some ideas along the way.

I'm not sure about the primary language, I guess I'll be using both English and Russian. Depending on the primary target group ;-).

Friends! I'm not sure how well my email was working during the last ~6 month, since I found some emails never reached me. If I haven't replied you, please, email me again, just to make sure that I got your messages in the first place. Thanks!

В дополнение к английскому варианту ;-). Итак, я наконец-то решил завести блог. Решение, довольно давно созревшее, в конце концов воплотилось в жизнь.

Друзья! В последнее, и, к сожалению, не очень короткое время, я плохо отвечал на мейлы и вообще куда-то исчез. Приношу свои искренние извинения! Я не зазнался, и ни о ком не забыл. Этот блог я начинаю в-основном для того, чтобы держать связь с близкими людьми, многие из которых находятся очень далеко. И блог для этого кажется наиболее подходящим средством.

Насчет языка: наверное, в основном я буду пользоваться английским, чтобы охват был больше. Но и русский я забывать не собираюсь. Ну а уж комментировать можно на любом языке который нравиться. В-общем, разберемся по ходу пьесы.

Важное сообщение: выяснилось, что в течении последних ~полугода некоторые мейлы до меня не дошли ;-). В смысле, я их не получил. Поэтому, если я вам не ответил, попробуйте послать их еще раз. Спасибо!