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I was watching some videos recently of exploding rockets and some of them have varied shapes. For example one exploded in a heart shape. It seems to me that the explosions would occur from a central point and all of the force should radiate out to form a circular pattern. Would you comment on this?

If you pack a spherical shape of explosive, and the material expands uniformly, obviously material at the center won't go anywhere but the material at the edges will reach maximum distance.  So if you asymmetrically pack the bright phosphors within the explosive charge, you can achieve pre-arranged shapes.  The exact nature of packing explosives like this is something of a matter of practice and experience, I would imagine.


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Dr. Stephen O. Nelson


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.


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.

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

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