Dr. Matt Nehring Lectures on ‘Orbital Mechanics’

Nicholas Spencer
The Paw Print

For all of the science enthusiasts running around campus wondering where to get a science fix. There has been a Science Lecture series all semester.

Too bad if you have missed most of the lectures thus far this semester. I recently attended one of these lectures and witnessed some crazy ideas.

Considering I’m in 095 Math and never studied physics, I might be easily amused. Here’s a quick breakdown of the lecture, in an average person’s perspective.

The Lecture was titled “Orbital Mechanics,” and given by Dr. Matt Nehring.

The objective of the lecture was to shed light on, “the application of ballistics and celestial mechanics to practical problems concerning the motion of rockets and other space crafts.”

I wish a term list had provided upon entering the lecture hall.

A crash course in calculus and physics wasn’t needed whatsoever. Nehring broke down the lecture in very simple terms to relate to people like me.

Although, I think I was one of few people who didn’t have a clue of what was going on, much of the class had prior knowledge of the matter.

Nonetheless, Nehring’s lecture was extremely saturated with knowledge I haven’t had the privilege of studying. Laws of planetary motion to Newton’s Law of Universal Gravitation really gives body to the lecture and makes understanding for the average person within grasp.

Nehring’s Lecture couldn’t be complete without physical and computerized visual aids.

One such visual aid gave a complete understanding to Kinetic and Potential Energy-Conversion and Balance. Other visual aids completed by way of the computer-illustrated theories that would otherwise not exist in our world.

Nehring must have had 12 visual aids on the computer. They were fun to watch.

The visual aids provided backed up ideas like Orbital speed, with the equation provided. The equation looked a tad bit complicated. Orbital maneuvers with fuel efficiency in mind are discussed.

Another visual aid that stuck out to me was the gravitational slingshot. Better known in the science community as a gravitational assist.

This idea rings loudly with me. The movie Armageddon demonstrates the gravitational assist in action.

The shuttles set to save the world, lead by Bruce Willis, use the gravitational pull on the moon to slingshot behind the asteroid, in a sneaky fashion. It worked! But, sadly Bruce Willis didn’t make it. He perished saving the world. Thanks Brucy.

The Lecture really gives insight in orbital mechanics and the confusing science behind it.

The information received helps lessen the confusion and shows really amazing things that are going on outside of our small world.

Short of writing word for word the notes I took in this lecture, I don’t really have much else to share.

Keeping my attention in Nehring’s lecture was very easy. He was upbeat and passionate about the topic. Threading some comical science jokes in here and there caused plenty of laughter throughout the lecture.

I would recommend keeping an eye open for Dr. Nehring doing another lecture in the future. I am sure anyone would find his lectures appealing and informative.

An undisclosed student mentioned that Nehring livens up the science department at Adams.

His influence makes for a nurturing learning environment in dry courses.

I was advised to enroll in Nehring’s courses if and when I take science classes. Keep that in mind if you have trouble with science and need help staying interested and focused.


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