April 30, 2016

California Institute of Technology     

Local Host: Jeff Cady

Sponsors:

Order of Magnitude question: How long in seconds does it take for a typical binary star system to annihilate by emitting gravitational waves?

Directions to the SCAAPT meeting

From the south:
Travel north on 110
When 110 ends in Pasadena, continue north on S Arroyo Pkwy
Turn right (east) on E California Blvd
Turn right (south) on South Campus Drive (1st light after Wilson Ave)
Park in the underground parking structure (Structure #3)
Walk back north along South Campus Drive, crossing California Ave at the light, to East Bridge

From the east or west:
Travel to Pasadena on 210
Exit on Hill Ave and go south
Turn right (west) on E California Blvd
Turn left (south) on South Campus Drive (2nd light)
Park in the underground parking structure (Structure #3)
Walk back north along South Campus Drive, crossing California Ave at the light, to East Bridge

 

Caltech_map_notated

RSVP for lunch here

The deadline for submitting an abstract has passed.

8:00-9:00 AM Registration, Refreshments, Exhibits
9:00-9:05 AM Welcome and Announcements
9:00-9:30 AM Looking at Protein Molecules through Super Bright X-rays Nuwan Karunaratne, Cypress College
Diffusion of protein molecules from mammalian eye lenses were studied using super bright X-ray photons, from a machine called a synchrotron. The study is a stepping stone to the novel field of X-ray scattering of biological solutions. By changing the sample concentration and temperature, dynamics of the molecules revealed important structural variation. The scattered photons were captured by a very efficient area detector that was sensitive to x-ray photons. The project is an ongoing interdisciplinary effort between Physics, Biochemistry, and Computer Science.
9:30-9:45 AM Faraday Effect Demonstrations Eric Tom, Don Bosco Tech
In this talk, two labs will be presented which were specifically developed at Bosco Tech to teach AP Physics C: Electricity and Magnetism. One lab shows a simple method for calculating the strength of a magnetic field. The other lab is an experiment in Faraday’s Law which shows that higher rates of change in magnetic flux results in higher voltage. Both experiments use common laboratory equipment and can be used as either a quick lab or demonstration. The accompanying lab handouts are released under a creative commons license and are free to use and modify.
9:45-10:45 AM The Beginning of Gravitational Wave Astronomy Gabriele Vajente, Caltech
On September 14th 2015 the two LIGO instruments detected the gravitational wave signal produced by the coalescence and merging of two black holes. This was the first direct detection of gravitational wave signals, and a further confirmation of the Theory of General Relativity. In this talk I’ll describe the basic physics of gravitational waves, the principles behind the instruments and the data analysis techniques that allowed us to detect the signals and the properties of the astrophysical system that generated it. Finally, I will briefly summarize what to expect from the future of LIGO and gravitational wave astronomy.
10:45-11:45 AM Super Caltech Physics Demo Show Jeff Cady, Caltech
Come and see the amazing!  The most exciting and dangerous physics demonstrations available at the California Institute of Technology! These demos have captivated Caltech students for generations.  Now it is your turn to witness and learn the physics of the most spectacular of spectacles that we have in store for you, courtesy of Caltech’s physics demos guy, Jeff Cady.
11:45-12:15 AM Tour of the LIGO Laboratory / Lunch
12:15-1:15 PM Lunch / Tour of the LIGO Laboratory
1:15-1:30 PM Show & Tell (Sign up when you check in)
1:30-2:00 PM Business Meeting & Elections
2:00-2:30 PM “Feynman in the Rough” – Gems from the Audio Recordings of The Lectures James Lincoln, SCAAPT
Over the past few months I have been listening to The Feynman Lectures on Physics – the original audio recordings. In this recordings are many jokes, stories, and interesting quips that have not been recorded elsewhere. In this talk I share the highlights from this unexplored collection and provide a review of other Feynman related works.
2:30-3:00 PM Quantum Mechanics for HS (and College) Art Huffman, UCLA (retired)
In recent years there has been an increased interest among physics educators toward restructuring the standard curricula to include more modern physics in the high school and entry level physics courses.  Therefore, I present here a short lecture on how these ideas can be explained and demonstrated at the entry level.  Included in this talk are demonstrations relevant to the ideas of wave-particle duality and the behavior of quantum particles.  These demos are specifically intended for teachers to be able to replicate in their own classrooms for their own students.
3:00-3:15 PM Color Temperature Physics in Photography Steve Wetrich, Chapman University
When setting up lighting for photography or video, mixing color temperatures is an enormous problem. The origins of the problem are that the human eye adjusts to the color temperature of the environment, correcting for color temperature differences in order to recognize contrasting tones. In this talk, I begin with the Planck Black Body Theory and discuss how various light sources are represented, such as tungsten, fluorescent, and sunlight. Then I discuss how photography is an important application of this Modern Physics concept and how knowing more about it can engage students in these ideas.
3:15-3:30 PM The Physics of Juggling John McGuffie, St. Francis High School
This paper contains a simple mathematical model of three ball cascade juggling for high school physics students who have learned projectile motion and the mathematics of the parabola. The purpose of this paper is to show that the simple model can represent juggling and to verify the model with Claude Shannon’s formula of juggling.
3:30PM The World Famous “Order of Magnitude Contest” and Door Prizes Meeting Adjourns

On April 30, over 85 members of the Southern California Section gathered at Caltech (Pasadena, CA) for a day full of informative presentations and lively discussions. The meeting, held in the Richard P. Feynman Lecture Hall, was called to order by SCAAPT President James Lincoln.

James Lincoln shared some of his observations about Richard Feynman that he has collected by listening, not reading, the Feynman Lectures. By listening to the original recordings, it was possible to hear Feynman’s unique delivery and sense of humor that was not completely captured in the written version.

Gabriele Vajente (Caltech) described the basic physics of gravitational waves, the principles behind the instruments and the data analysis techniques that allowed the LIGO group to detect the signals and the properties of the astrophysical system that generated it. Dr. Vajente also took attendees on a tour of the Caltech laboratory facility where the group prototypes and tests optical instruments.

Art Huffman, UCLA (retired) described his pedagogy of teaching high school students quantum mechanics. He believes that there is an increased interest among physics educators to include more modern physics in the introductory curricula. He shared several demonstrations as well as illustrations from his book, “The Cartoon Guide to Physics”, which teachers can easily incorporate into their classes.

Several SCAAPT members also gave engaging contributed presentations:

  • Eric Tom (Don Bosco Tech), Faraday Effect Demonstrations
  • Steve Wetrich (Chapman University), Color Temperature Physics in Photography
  • John McGuffie (St. Francis High School), The Physics of Juggling

Elections were held and SCAAPT congratulates the following winners:

  • President: Cliff Gerstman, Middle College High School
  • Past-President: James Lincoln, Tarbut V’ Torah High School
  • VP for 4 Year Colleges: Chad Kishimoto, University of San Diego
  • VP for 2 Year Colleges: Lee Loveridge, Pierce College
  • VP for High Schools: Bryn Bishop, Westview High School
  • Web Manager: Chija Bauer, La Salle High School
  • Treasurer / Secretary: Nuria Rodriguez, Santa Monica College (retired)
  • Section Representative: Jeff Phillips, Loyola Marymount University

The ever-popular Show ‘n’ Tell featured demonstrations by Myron Mann, Sonia Tye, James Lincoln, Megan Bartley, and Don Krotser. The meeting ended with the World Famous “Order of Magnitude Contest.” This meeting’s question was: How long in seconds does it take for a typical binary star system to annihilate by emitting gravitational waves?

SCAAPT thanks its corporate sponsors: PASCO, Arbor Scientific, Active Statics, xUmp, Educational Innovations– for their support and donation of door prizes. SCAAPT also thanks Bradley “Peanut” McCoy, who served as Program Chair of the meeting.