Update, 26 April 2016:
Have you, like us, been convinced that the team would win the regional contest of ‘ C.génial – Faites de la Science 2016’ at IUT Nîmes? They did!
We’re now keeping our fingers crossed for the national final, taking place 21 may at Lycée Janson-de-Sailly à Paris. Btw, the team has received 522 measurements from more than 50 countries in the meantime.
Furthermore, the students’ project “If Galileo had a smartphone?” made it into the Sélection scientifique de la semaine (numéro 212) of Le Monde, the Science et vie junior magazine and Le Parisien, with a couple more articles to follow.
Original post (11 March 2016)
group of students of Collège Saint-Exupéry in Perpignan, France. The students are working on a quite exceptional project with the title “What if Galileo had a smartphone?” But I will let them explain in their own words:
“We are 5 french students 14 years old, Lisa Liagre, Cassandra Mussard, Fanny Picamal, Gaëtan Kervarec, and Kévin Roldan. In order to participate in a science fair we would like to prove that the earth is rotating on its axis. So we created an app called ‘e-gravity’ that measures gravity with a smartphone! We would like to check if we can detect its variation according to latitude. Via GPS and the accelerometer built into the smartphone we can measure the gravity in different places of the planet, and try to see e.g. that it is weaker near the equator. If this is the case, it means that the centrifugal force is opposed to gravity and, by definition, the earth turns! Our simple application is designed to quickly and easily measure the gravity and send us the measurements. For the project to succeed, we need as many people as possible from different places all over the world to download it, use it and send us their results!”
Teacher Julien Vandermarlière adds:
“We are participating in ‘C’Génial & Faites de la Science 2016’, a science contest that takes place on 6 April 2016 and hope to be selected for the national finals which take place at the end of may. Today we received around sixty measurements via our app, coming from all over the world. We chose Galileo Galilei to be our ‘mascotte’ and we actually started this project when one of us watched “Qui veut gagner des millions” (“Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?”) – and it struck us that 56 percent of the TV studio audience thought that it is the sun that is rotating around the earth, which I think is frightening. That’s actually the reason why we started our project.”
So, to recap: Five 14-year olds develop, together with their enthusiastic teacher, an Android smartphone app that measures gravity and supplies evidence that planet Earth is in fact rotating around its own axis and traveling around the sun, not vice versa. As daily space science communicators, projects like this one really make us happy – so let’s spread the word and support Lisa, Cassandra, Fanny, Gaëtan, Kévin and their teacher Julien to receive as many more measurements as possible in the remaining weeks.
Download the app here – and take a look at some screenshots.