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Physics Seminar Series

Weighing Mountains: Determining the Mass of the Sewanee Plateau

presented by Will Burton-Edwards, C'18

Wednesday, Dec. 7, 7:30 - 8:30pm, Woods Labs 216


The first documented attempt at measuring the mass of a mountain was made in 1775 by Neville Maskeline, then Astronomer Royal of the British Royal Society, who took a team of surveyors out to Mt. Shiehallion in central Scotland. Their measurements produced the first estimate of the Earth's mass. In fact, their methodology was so accurate that the result was within 3 % of the currently-accepted value. In this talk, I will outline three methods for determining the mass of Sewanee’s arm of the Cumberland Plateau: geological mapping, analysis of gravimetric data from the U.S. Geological Survey, and a precision-pendulum method.


William L. Burton-Edwards, C ‘18, is an undergraduate at the University of the South. He is pursuing a B.S .in Physics and a B.A. in Theatre Arts. He lives in Columbus, GA, and is the son of an Episcopal Priest (Rev. Dr. Grace Burton-Edwards, D.Min.) and a United Methodist Elder (Rev. Taylor Burton-Edwards). Since enrolling at the University of the South, Will has competed in the University Physics Challenge twice and become a member of the Sigma Pi Sigma Physics Honor Society. In addition to his exploits in the sciences, Will has participated in 8 productions with Theatre Sewanee, 4 a Capella concerts, and 9 services of the Annual Festival of Lessons and Carols.


For more information: Prof. Eugene Donev (931) 598-3154 | eudonev@sewanee.edu