When Chandrayaan-2 launched, my wife Nandini and son Advay (8yo) watched the launch live stream together. Emotions ran high as it took off. Nandini used that moment as an opportunity to explain about launch vehicles. To explain the difference between a rover, lander, and orbiter. Advay was clearly smitten by all that tech.
On Sunday night we watched a HotStar documentary on Mangalyaan. We all loved the documentary and were bedazzled by all the tech, all the hard work and all the human spirit displayed by ISRO scientists.
The next day I asked Advay if he wants to learn some of the ideas from science that would have helped ISRO scientists to build the SLV that launched Mangalyaan. He said yes with excitement. Using this as an opportunity, I thought of introducing Physics to him. Not knowing where to start, I decided to use the beginner material from Khan Academy where “vectors and scalars” concept is introduced.
In ten minutes, I could notice how the terms vectors and scalars started to influence the way he saw the world. That distance is a scalar, displacement is vector; speed is scalar and velocity is vector became clear to him. But more importantly, throughout the day he kept noticing scalar and vector in everything. For example: sound is vector whereas volume is scalar, flying bird is a vector, the quantity of food we eat is a scalar and so on.
This morning, he concluded that love is vector. Because it a certain quantity of emotion directed at specific people.
What use is Physics if it cannot be used for understanding our world and ourselves?