Friday, January 2, 2009

Building the Photosynthesis Engine I

One of my projects is an interactive photosynthesis module that the students can experiment on. I am just starting to work on an object I call the Photosynthesis Engine. The idea is to roughly...(very roughly I might add) model photosynthesis in a way that students can adjust the inputs: light, carbon dioxide and water and observe how the outputs of photosynthesis behave.

My initial version of the Engine is a set of 14 linked objects representing the steps and reactants and products of the light reactions and the Calvin cycle, avoiding most of the details of what happens in each cycle. The immediate challenge is figuring out what are reasonable parameters to get sensible qualitative behaviors out of the model and getting all the linked parts of the model to communicate properly.

The picture shows a preliminary set up for the Engine, including a nifty(OK that dates me) light source that displays the spectral colors of the wavelength, allowing the students to display the wavelength. Also the light reaction prim's color uses a function that takes a transmission spectrum and converts it to R,G,B values and displays that on the prim. Students will be able to send the light's wavelength to the light reaction as input and generate an action spectrum.

More later...

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