Fall Meeting of the CSAAPT
Saturday, November 11th, 2006
8:00-8:30 – Registration
8:30-8:35 – Welcome Tom
Senior, Nick Drozdoff & the staff of New
Session I: Chair: Maria Udo, Loyola U., Section President
8:35-9:05 - I Volunteered For This?
My life as a volunteer at Yerkes Observatory in Williams Bay, WI. I have volunteered and worked with the people at Yerkes Observatory to do some incredible education and public outreach activities. You won't believe what they let me do! I've helped build robotic observatories and radio telescopes, do planetarium shows half-way around the world, show blind and visually impaired students how to do astronomy, take images with students from urban schools, and that's just a start. Now I'm helping with projects to teach astronomy to teachers from struggling schools, have deaf and hearing impaired students do astrophysics and have science students around the country do new research on supermassive blackholes.
9:05 - 9:20 - Force Fields & Equipotentials: A Proposal for Helping Students Overcome the Barrier to Understanding These Concepts
Paul J. Dolan, Jr., Northeastern
Typically early in Physics II, we present out students with concepts that are mysterious to them: the Electric Field, and the Electric Potential, which gives rise to discussion of ‘Potential Difference’ and ‘Equipotentials’. Not only are these concepts new to most of the students, but they are additionally hard to grasp, since the ‘physical’ model is not easily visualized, directly. I propose that some of this non-understanding can be avoided by introducing the concepts of potential & field much earlier, in Physics I, and in particular during discussions of the Gravitational Force. This approach is not ‘new’, but is missed in nearly all introductory texts.
9:20 - 9:35 - Reforming Introductory Physics Courses at the Urban Institution
Mel Sabella, Kim Coble, and Sam Bowen,
, Department of Chemistry and Physics Chicago State University
The physics program at Chicago State University (CSU) is completing its second year of a project supported by a National Science Foundation - Course, Curriculum, and Laboratory Improvement (CCLI) Grant. This funding has allowed CSU to make major changes in how the introductory physics course is taught by implementing a wide variety of research-based instructional materials.
Because there has been little work on evaluating the effectiveness of reform-based materials at the urban institution, we have been involved in a systematic investigation that looks at the effectiveness of these materials with CSU's population of students.
In this talk we provide a background on our project, discuss the current status, and present an example of our evaluation efforts.
9:35 - 9:50 - Exploring Red Shift
Red Shift™ 5 is an interactive planetarium program that allows the user to simulate the position and movement of 20 million stars, planets, and Deep Sky objects. The observer may view the sky from Earth or from any point in our solar system as it appeared from 4173 BC to 9999 AD. In addition Red Shift includes high-resolution images of astronomical objects as well as the ability to record movies. The basic features of Red Shift will be demonstrated using examples of movies created for high school astronomy demonstrations.
9:50-10:05 The Rotational Dynamics of Tops
and Purav Patel,
Dr. Maria K. Udo,
As part of our Freshman Project, we investigated the rotational dynamics of tops, in particular, the tip top. Using a lathe, we constructed tops out of wood. Through trial-and-error and qualitative analysis of center of mass, we were able to figure out the location for the center of mass which would create enough gravitational torque to invert the top. The tip tops were then spun on different surfaces in an effort to observe the effect of surface friction. A strobe light was used to determine the angular velocity of the different tops, and in turn to relate the angular velocity to the tops’ ability to invert.
10:05-10:20 - Break
Session II: Chair: Jan Dudzik,
10:20 –11:05 - Invited Paper - Physics in Microgravity: The Experiments and The Experience
Lynne Zielinski (Physics) and Vince Pinelli (Broadcasting),
May 2006, three teachers from
This presentation will share with you the process of developing the experiments, the curriculum, the NASA training and preparation for the flight, and the ultimate experience of riding in the "Weightless Wonder". Both experiments will be exhibited and discussed. The first, called "Electrostatics: A Study of the Properties of Granular Materials," explored the behaviors of similarly sized electrostically charged particles in a microgravity environment. It used the understanding of electrostatic monopolar and dipolar fields to see how earthbound theories of electrostatic interactions hold without the influence of gravity.
second experiment, "Surface Tension: The Art of Science," examined
how fluids, in the form of paints, interact with each other in a microgravity
setting. In this experiment, students
apply their knowledge of
11:05-11:20 - How I Learned More About Modern Physics?
Have you ever thought that you would like to add some modern physics to your high school physics curriculum, but you didn’t know where to start? Have you just wanted to learn more about what goes on at Fermi Lab? QuarkNet centers were started several years ago to bring together high school teachers, university professors, and Fermi Lab physicists. The Fermi Lab and UIC groups joined together to create a curriculum guide that we would like to share. We are also looking for area teacher who would like to join our group.
11:20 - 11:35 -A Topological Study of the M5 Flare on 4 November 2004
Advisors: Angela DesJardins
and Dr. Dick Canfield,
This presentation covers the investigation of the category M5 solar flare on 4 November 2004 that utilized a variety of solar observing instruments and cutting edge software tools to investigate the unique characteristics of this event, in particular the sources of hard x-rays and their relation to the topological features of the magnetic field. The Reuven Ramaty Solar Spectroscopic Imager (RHESSI) was the main tool for imaging the flare event. Potential field modeling of the magnetic field of the active region was developed using MPOLE software developed by Dana Longcope of MSU. The specific focus of the research was to investigate the location and production of hard x-ray sources and how these sources relate to the main topological feature of interest of the field, the separators. The goal is to further understanding of the reconnection process in solar flares and the locations of such processes and the role this process plays in producing flares. Additional research focused on the energetics of topological features and how this relates to reconnection of the magnetic field and flare production
11:35-11:50 - Stress and Strain Studies on Bridge Designs
Rickert and Lucas Bukowski,
We investigated three bridge designs, camelback, Pratt and Warren, to test for optimal configurations. Bridges were built using these designs at two different scales, approximately 1:100 and 1:10. We did simulations to determine what to expect from these designs. For each bridge, stress and strain measurements were made for various loads at different parts of the bridge. These measurements were used to decide what type of truss connectors are the best for handling loads. Criteria for connector choice included efficiency, strength and flexibility. Measurements and breaking strength were compared with the scale over which the bridges were built. Results can be used by your students to give them insight when they design their own bridges.
11:50 - 12:20 Invited Paper -- Radio Sources Toward Galaxy Clusters
Measurements of the cosmic microwave background(CMB) and the Sunyaev-Zeldovich effect (SZE) can be used to test models of how structure formed in our universe and answer fundamental questions about the nature of our universe. The CMB, which formed when the universe was only a few hundred thousand years old, is the signature of a once young, hot, dense universe. The SZE arises from the interaction of photons from the CMB with the hot x-ray gas associated with galaxy clusters. Both the CMB and SZE have yielded a wealth of cosmological information and have the potential to yield much more as long as foreground contaminants, such as extra-galactic radio sources, are well-understood. Deep interferometric observations with the BIMA and OVRO arrays are used to characterize the spatial, spectral, flux, and luminosity distributions of radio sources toward galaxy clusters. Finally, we compare our measurements with those of other groups and with theoretical models.
12:20 Take-Fives, Lunch, Business Meeting & Door Prizes
“Ring & Chain”, Tom Senior, New
Field Mapping”, Richard Calhoun,
1:15 – 4:00 Workshop –
Video presentation, “Frames of Reference”, Hume & Ivey