About Jeff Phillips

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So far Jeff Phillips has created 152 entries.

Please consider donating to SCAAPT

The Southern California Association of Physics Teachers is the oldest and largest organization of physics teachers in SoCal. Our traditional Spring and Fall Meetings enable physics teachers to come together to share ideas and learn from each other. Along with these popular events, we have recently started the New Physics Teacher Workshops (NTPW), which provide valuable support for beginning teachers so they become successful physics instructors.

In order to serve our members better, we are a federally recognized non-profit organization which means that your donations are tax-deductible. We ask that you consider making a donation to SCAAPT so we may continue helping physics teachers and students throughout the region.

To donate online, visit the SCAAPT website.  If you prefer, you can mail a check to:

PO Box 11032
Newport Beach, CA

CSULB colloquium- Dec 5

PHYSICS  COLLOQUIUM- California State University Long Beach

Monday December 5 & Wednesday December 7, 2016 11:00 am, PH2-126

Student Research Presentations I & II

Students enrolled in PHYS 691, 697, 698 and 496 will present their research progress and achievements.  Other students will present research updates and readings from their semester.

CSULB Colloquium- Nov. 28

California State University Long Beach
Monday, November 28, 2016 11:15 am, PH2-126

(Refreshments served in HSCI-224 from 10:45-11:05am)

Topological “spin” transport through magnetic insulators
Prof. Yaroslav Tserkovnyak
Department of Physics & Astronomy
University of California Los Angeles

New experimental tools have recently emerged that allow us to explore spin transport phenomena in essentially any material, either electrically conducting or insulating. Namely, multiterminal electrical circuits allow for injection of spin currents using the spin Hall effect and detection using the reciprocal process. Similarly, the reciprocal spin Seebeck and Peltier effects can be utilized to inject and detect spin currents thermally. A range of transport regimes for transmitting nonlocal spin signals through insulating media have recently been discussed, with a focus on magnetically-ordered, e.g., ferromagnetic or antiferromagnetic, materials. In this talk, I will review these developments, with a focus on spin superfluidity and related topological aspects, which mitigate the detrimental spin-relaxation processes. In certain cases, the spin transport is entirely superseded by the flow of an emergent topological charge associated with dynamical magnetic textures.

Visiting position available

The Department of Physics at Loyola Marymount University seeks a one-year Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics for the 2017/18 academic year, with the possibility of renewal for a second year. Although we will accept applications from all fields, we are particularly interested in candidates with a specialization in experimental, theoretical, or computational biophysics who can teach an upper division biophysics course. Applicants must have a Ph.D. in Physics or closely-related subject. Post-doctoral experience preferred.

Please submit a CV, list of publications, description of research interests, and statement of teaching philosophy, online at

The applicant will also arrange for three letters of recommendation to be sent to (subject line: “VAP search”). For full consideration, completed applications should be received by February 1st. The position will remain open until filled.

CSULB Colloquium- Nov 14

Physics Colloquium at CSULB

Monday, November 13, 2016 11:15 am, PH2-126
(Refreshments served in HSCI-224 from 10:45-11:05am)

The statistical mechanics of soft low dimensional structures in biology
Prof. Alex Levine
Department of Physics & Astronomy, Chemistry & Biochemistry, and Biomathematics
University of California Los Angeles

Biology affords us with a number of effectively one- and two-dimensional elastic structures. For example the cytoskeleton of cells abounds with long stiff protein filaments. Cells are bound by and contain a wide variety of membranes having complex geometries. These lower dimensional structures are typically soft enough so that, at room temperature, their geometry is strongly fluctuating and the entropic contribution to their free energy is significant. In addition, evolution has engineered a plethora of cross-linking proteins and molecular motors that interact with these structures.

In this talk, I discuss a few examples of the role of fluctuations in these structures, examining the fluctuation-induced (Casimir) interaction between linkers of filament bundles, which can drive a new type of first-order filament bundling transition. I also look at the interaction of these fluctuations with geometry, showing how the particular shape of red blood cell membrane localizes thermal undulations purely by geometry.

New (free!) textbook available

OpenStax has recently published a new calculus-based physics text, which was written in large part by a couple of SoCal’s own. Jeff Sanny and Bill Moebs (Loyola Marymount University) are two of the senior contributing authors of University Physics.  This 3-volume text includes the full range of topics from classical mechanics to modern physics, examples and problems to connect theory and application, and… is 100% free!

Instructors and students can download a free copy of the text. (pdf and online versions are available now; iBook and print editions will be available soon) OpenStax publishes peer-reviewed open textbooks, which are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Also available for free download are solution manuals for instructors and students, as well as teacher slides. More resources such as additional problem sets, and connections to online homework systems will be appearing in the future.

Instructors may also wish to examine the other open, free texts available at OpenStax, including algebra-based/college physics and astronomy.

Spring teaching opening

Opportunity to teach physics at Cypress College in Spring 2017.

Minimum Qualifications: Masters Degree in Astronomy or Physics

Desirable Qualifications: Recent teaching experience within the last 5 years either college, TA, or high school.

Cypress College is looking for 3-4 part time teachers for the following Spring Semester courses:
This is another course in the three-semester introductory physics program for students planning to major in physics, chemistry, geology, engineering (all specializations) mathematics and other related fields.
Prereq: PHYS 221 C, and MATH 150BC, with grades of “C” or better.
Textbook: Physics for Scientists and Engineers by Serway and Jewett.

Monday and Wednesday 9AM-12:10 PM.
Salary: $827-1277/unit-hour/semester. About $50-73/teaching hour
Above class is 6 hours and 20 min per week.
Pay depends on your experience. Lab hours are paid less than lecture hours.
Course pay is about $5300.
Information about the district: Select Employment. You will find information about pay at the above link.
Information about the college:

Email resume to:

Ron Armale, Ph.D.
Physical Science Department Chair
Cypress College

UCLA Explore Your Universe event

The UCLA Explore Your Universe STEM outreach event takes place Sunday Nov. 6 this year (set your clocks back before coming). Hands-on science fun for all ages. Printable posters and more info about the event at

Meeting reminders

The Fall SCAAPT Meeting is rapidly approaching!  We’ll be at UC-Riverside on November 5.

The deadline for reserving a box lunch has been extended until Monday, October 31.  Please fill out the form if you wish to reserve a lunch.

The final meeting schedule is now posted online. The meeting will take place in room 2000 of the Physics Building. (Campus map) Please park in Lot 13 Blue and look for volunteers who will be handing out parking vouchers.

Other reminders and highlights:

James Lincoln will be running a workshop 8:30-9:30 on classroom uses of liquid nitrogen.
Owen Long, UC Riverside, will share his experiences teaching an orientation course for new physics majors where presentations include information about local research opportunities and careers in physics.
Laura Tucker, UC Irvine, will be discussing some of the subtleties of implementing interactive methods in a classroom and how slight differences can result in different student responses.
Laura Tucker is interested in hearing about your teaching and learning experiences and has a short, five-question survey for members to complete.
Plus, many contributed presentations, amazing Show & Tells, and networking opportunities with other SoCal physics teachers!!!
One of the contributed speakers, Jeff Phillips of Loyola Marymount University, also has a one-question survey for attendees to complete prior to the meeting.


CSULB Colloquium- October 31

Physics Colloquium

California State University, Long Beach

Monday October 31, 2016 11:15 am, PH2-126
(Refreshments served in HSCI-224 from 10:45-11:05am)
Surface Chemistry and Properties of Single Crystalline and Nanoporous MaterialsProf. Fangyuan Tian (
Department of Chemistry & Biochemistry California State University Long Beach

According to 2015 International Semiconductor Roadmap summary, the microchips, the most basic component in all of our electronic devices, will reach 5 nm by 2030. This scale is 3 orders of magnitude smaller than the first processor made in 1971. I will describe how we modify and functionalize silicon surfaces in nanoscale to make it smaller but more powerful. Similar surface techniques are applied to a type of complex nanoporous materials, metal organic frameworks (MOFs), exhibiting excellent CO2 storage and drug delivery capabilities. Our group is focusing on investigation of surface reactivity of MOF thin films toward energy-related gases and efficient drug delivery systems.