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Sssssnakes

Physics Girl

What do you get when you cross a snake and a physicist? A Bohr constrictor!
— Does it matter?

For a while I lived with a boa constrictor named Kah. He was a good friend. I sometimes wore him like a belt while I was working, like a perpetual hug. I once left him on my bed and walked away. He was not there when I came back, and I searched in panic for a while to find him curled up under my pillow. You don't want to sleep with a boa constrictor. They wrap themselves around the closest heat source.

I thought Kah would be a fun subject for a video. There is, however, not much physics related to snakes, besides the fact that they don't make their own heat. But wait.. there is nothing more interesting than heat transfer. Oh yeah! 

While writing this video, I discovered there was something about radiative heating (getting hot by absorbing light, like sitting in the sun) that I didn't understand. Light is absorbed by exciting electrons in an atom, making them jump up an energy state. But "hot" things are typically characterized by vibrating molecules. How does one––the excited electron––become the other––the vibrating molecule? I didn't know! But fear not, my first goal with this video was to answer my own question in this branching part of the video.

Which brings me to my second goal. I have never tried a "choose your own adventure" method on YouTube. This was a good chance to explore different topics in heat transfer while allowing the viewer to select which one they were more interested in. Maybe next time the choices will be "destruction of the earth by giant asteroid" vs. "black hole evaporation" rather than "conductive heat transfer" vs. "radiative heat transfer..."

Thanks to Andy for his portrayal of ridiculous scientists, to Harris for letting me use his snake and for appearing in the video as my other ridiculous roommate, to Shanying for her physics advice, and to Brandon for pressing record on the camera!