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Program for the Spring 2006 meeting

Saturday, 22 April 2006
Loyola Marymount University

1 LMU Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90045-2659

Local Host: Jeff Phillips

Maps and Directions
Campus map
Meeting-specific campus map


LMU Maps page


If possible, enter campus via Loyola Blvd. Make a quick left into the Hannon Lot—"parking A" on the campus map. From here it is a short walk to Seaver Hall (SEA on the map). There will be signs at the Hannon lot, and other locations, to direct people to Seaver.

If you follow the suggestions on the LMU web site, you will be directed to the entrance off of Lincoln. There is a security guard at that entrance who can direct you to the other side of campus. The downside of this route is the need to navigate the one-way, indirect streets to reach the parking lot or Seaver.

The World Famous "Order of Magnitude Contest" !!
(An old classic!) How many moles of sand grains are there on all the beaches on Earth?
The person giving the median answer is the winner and gets first pick of the door prizes.

NOTE: Please make reservations in advance for the workshops and for the catered lunch. See the descriptions in the program below for details.
8:15 AM
Registration, Refreshments, Exhibits
8:30 AM

Workshop: "Sneak Peek into the PASCO Prototype Lab"
Leader—Brett Sackett

(Advance reservations requested; otherwise, "first come, first served." To reserve a place, please send a message with your name to Forouzan Faridian by April 10th.)

PASCO has been Engineering quality products for the Physics Educator since 1964. Design, Engineering and feedback from you are what make our products unique among the array of science suppliers. Come see what is new from PASCO, and catch a glimpse into the prototype shop where new products are born. One random workshop attendee will win an Xplorer GLX.

8:30 AM

(UPDATE: "New Teachers Workshop" replaced by)
Workshop: "Quality experiments in over-crowded labs for poorly supported physics classes"
Leader—Gary Reynolds

(Advance reservations requested; otherwise, "first come, first served." To reserve a place, please send a message with your name to Forouzan Faridian by April 10th.)

Including experiments in fluid dynamics and thermodynamics

10:00 AM

10:15 AM

Contributed Talk: "Enhancing physics learning by pre-class online quizzes"
Ertan Salik
Cal Poly Pomona

An instructor who wants their students to do pre-class reading is bound to deal with enforcement issues, especially in lower division non-major courses. In-class quizzes take significant class time, and increase the grading burden of the instructor. I have implemented automatically graded online reading quizzes in a lower division Physics class taken by mostly engineering students, which enhanced the studentsí learning experience tremendously with no class time wasted on quizzes. Occasional essay questions helped me probe the interest of my students and find out about the difficulties they were having with the concepts.

10:30 AM

Concurrent Sessions

(The two talks in this session will be given twice because the first invoves the use of equipment in a lecture hall too small to accommodate all meeting attendees simultaneously. Attendees will move between rooms during a brief intermission.)

Invited Talk: "Teaching Physics Interactively"
Vince Coletta & Jeff Phillips
Loyola Marymount University

We will demonstrate features of LMU's unique, new Interactive Physics Classroom and demonstrate some of the Interactive Engagement methods used at LMU to teach introductory physics. Many of these techniques can be used whether or not you have a high tech classroom. We will also discuss Physics Education Research that demonstrates the superiority of interactive engagement methods over traditional methods, including our own current research that studies the effects on learning of students' reasoning ability and attitudes and beliefs about learning.

Invited Talk: "Quantum Computing: Harnessing a New Force of Nature"
Eric Ladizinsky
LMU & Director of Technical Operations, D-Wave

Quantum computation could revolutionize the information age and trigger as big an impact on society as the conventional computer. It promises to transform not just science and technology but our very understanding of reality - both real and virtual. At key points in human history, civilization took a leap forward because people discovered a new way of exploiting nature. Tool making, farming, the industrial revolution, and the information age were all triggered by the discovery of new ways of manipulating nature. By harnessing the Alice in Wonderland like effects of quantum physics, Quantum computers will be able to model nuclear and subatomic reactions, offer insights into nanotechnology, teleportation and time travel, change the way chemists and biologists design drugs and study the molecules of life, and break supposedly unbreakable secret codes—tasks well beyond the capabilities of any conceivable classical supercomputers.

11:45 AM

Business Meeting: New Constitution, Election of Officers


Plans are underway for a catered Italian buffet including green salad, Italian chicken, grilled vegetables, several kinds of pastas & sauces, desert, iced tea & water. The physics department will cover part of the cost, so the cost to meeting attendees is expected to be $10.
Advance reservations required
. Please send a message to Forouzan Faridian clearly indicating 1) your name and 2) the number of lunches you are requesting.

1:15 PM

"Show'n Tell"

John Mallinckrodt : "The Windbag" (Hey! I heard that.)
Bill Layton: TBD?
(Send additions to John Mallinckrodt)

2:00 PM

Invited Talk: "New Physics in the 21st Century: Now With LARGE Extra Dimensions!"
Dr. Jonas Mureika
Loyola Marymount University

The inclusion of extra spatial dimensions beyond the traditional "x-y-z" is a long-standing conjecture in physics, because it makes some otherwise outlandish theories look so darn elegant! If they exist, these dimensions have always been assumed to be extremely small, in order to keep the known laws of physics intact. But modern String Theory asks a crazy, yet fundamentally important question: what happens to the Universe if the extra dimensions aren't small at all? The answer: a surprisingly simple, as of yet unseen, but very testable shift in the classical and quantum mechanical laws we've come to know and love. The best part: if there really is new physics to be found in extra dimensions, we'll know in under 5 years!

3:00 PM

Contributed Talk: "Classical Thermodynamics As Illustrated By Oxygen Condensation On The Outside Of A Very Cold Container"
Jesse Goldman
Cal Poly SLO

An informal collaboration examining some experimental aspects of colle ge level thermodynamics has led to some interesting observations related to the condensation of oxygen on the surface of cold metal containers. We present these observations in the context of demonstrations and associated classroom work appropriate for students in a typical lower division college thermodynamics course or an advanced (perhaps Advanced Placement) high school physics course. As part of the presentation, we will discuss the nature of the condensation, properties and behavior of the condensate, and the requisite external temperature necessary for condensation to occur. In addition, we will demonstrate a number of interesting experimental issues associated with oxygen in its liquid form, container shape and composition, and the Leidenfrost Effect.

3:15 PM

Contributed Talk: "How well are we REALLY preparing future teachers?"
Peter Morse
Santa Monica College

There is a serious shortage of elementary and secondary school teachers in California, especially those with solid science backgrounds. Often prospective teachers are turned away from the sciences by bad early experiences in their science courses. This talk will focus on conclusions reached after visiting a number of institutions with strong Physics and Education programs in some other western states (Nevada, Oregon and Washington). Courses that provide inquiry-based learning experiences for future elementary school teachers will be discussed, and the question of what approach best serves future educators will be raised.

3:30 PM

Contributed Talk: "The physical meaning of the vector and scalar potentials"
Francisco Izaguirre
El Camino College

Some publications interpret the electromagnetic vector and scalar potentials as nothing more than convenient mathematical aids for calculating the electromagnetic fields. Some other authors interpret the vector potential as the field momentum and the scalar potential as the field energy. In this talk we follow the latter and show that the Lorenz Condition is an equation of continuity for the electromagnetic energy

4:00 PM
The World Famous "Order of Magnitude Contest" and Door Prizes
4:15 PM
Meeting Adjourns

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