Seth Robertson and Viet Trang, two senior engineering students at George Mason University, recently tested their innovative hypothesis that sound could extinguish a fire—and it worked! Watch the video of their experiment here, and then use the following conversation starters to light a fire under your dinner table discussion tonight (don’t worry you can put it out with bass…).
“Engineering is all about finding a way to make the impossible possible, so that’s what we do,” says one of the young men. What’s something that sounds impossible that you’d like to make possible?
What qualities do you think it takes to be an inventor?
Name some things that exist today that people likely thought were impossible in years past, for instance, space travel. See if you can come up with at least ten examples.
Talk about something you’ve “invented” either alone or with a friend/friends.
Think of an invention someone else made that makes your life easier or more fun. What is it and what do you like about it? Would you change anything about it if you could?
The boys were mistaken in their original hypothesis, or idea, that high frequency sound would put out the fires. Can you think of a time you felt certain of something but it turned out differently than what you first thought?
What’s the difference between high frequency and low frequency (bass) sounds? Can you give some examples of everyday sounds that are high frequency or low frequency?
Who do you think is the world’s greatest inventor of all time, and why? (this can be someone famous or someone you know personally)
Imagine someone asked you to invent something that would make the world a better place. What might you invent and what problem would it solve?