Disneyland: a place of magic, wonder, excitement... and physics? On Friday 5 May, a total of 224 students from both Dulwich International High School Suzhou and Dulwich College Suzhou went to Shanghai Disney for an exciting educational experience that made the students a part of the physics lab.
An Imagineer is Disney's special brand of engineer. They work tirelessly to make the stories and movies of Disney come to life in a world that is confined to the laws of Physics. Dulwich International High School Suzhou and Dulwich College Suzhou students were the first students in all of China to be able to meet an Imagineer. The Imagineer, David, described how they were able to make the rides possible and how forced perspective was used. He also described that how you solve a problem is more important than knowing all of the formulas. Henry S, a student from Dulwich International High School Suzhou expressed his amazement stating, "I couldn't believe that the man standing in front of me is one that created the Shanghai Disneyland."
Newtonian mechanics was a focus of the Year 10 curriculum and the formulas and methods learned during the year were required to solve questions. Most visitors do not realise even a fraction of the physics that goes into making the park function. The students' lessons in physics allowed them to understand how the rides worked, from the incredible acceleration provided by the electromagnets of Tron to the circular motion of the Fantasia Carousel.
The day wasn't all work, however. After finishing their physics calculations and attending an Imagineer Q&A, students also had the opportunity to enjoy rides and make new friends.
Richard Nunns the Deputy Director of Dulwich International High School Suzhou noted that, "It was particularly pleasing to see students from the two schools taking the initiative to work together on problems."