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Physics/Laser Amplified by Fan

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Question
I was told by a friend that shining a laser through a fan would make it visible from further away. If there is any truth to this could you explain what is happening? Thank you.

Trey

Answer
Well...yes and no.  It's easier for organisms to tell changes in things than absolute measures, like brightness.  Something flashing would be far more noticeable above background than a constant signal, due to the nature of the nervous system of whoever was seeing it.  If you knew where to look, the constant signal would be technically easier to see.  If you didn't know, the laser in the fan is probably way easier to spot...especially if the laser is kind of near the threshold of seeing.

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Dr. Stephen O. Nelson

Expertise

I can answer most basic physics questions, physics questions about science fiction and everyday observations of physics, etc. I'm also usually good for science fair advice (I'm the regional science fair director). I do not answer homework problems. I will occasionally point out where a homework solution went wrong, though. I'm usually good at explaining odd observations that seem counterintuitive, energy science, nuclear physics, nuclear astrophysics, and alternative theories of physics are my specialties.

Experience

I was a physics professor at the University of Texas of the Permian Basin, research in nuclear technology and nuclear astrophysics. My travelling science show saw over 20,000 students of all ages. I taught physics, nuclear chemistry, radiation safety, vacuum technology, and answer tons of questions as I tour schools encouraging students to consider careers in science. I moved on to a non-academic job with more research just recently.

Education/Credentials
Ph. D. from Duke University in physics, research in nuclear astrophysics reactions, gamma-ray astronomy technology, and advanced nuclear reactors.

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