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Meeting Summary —Spring 2006

The Spring Meeting of the Southern California Section was held Saturday, April 22 at Loyola Marymount University.   Special thanks to the local host, Jeff Phillips, for arranging the meeting site.   Approximately 55 people attended.  

The meeting began with two workshops:    "Sneak Peek into the PASCO Prototype Lab" led by Brett Sackett and "Quality Physics Labs for Overcrowded Classes in Poorly Supported Physics Classes" led by Gary Reynolds.  

Dr. Vince Coletta and Dr. Jeff Phillips, Loyola Marymount University, gave one of the morning invited presentations, "Teaching Physics Interactively".   Drs. Coletta and Phillips demonstrated features of LMU's unique, new Interactive Physics Classroom and some of the Interactive Engagement methods used at Loyola Marymount University to teach introductory physics. Many of the described techniques could be used even in low tech classrooms. They also discussed Physics Education Research that demonstrates the superiority of interactive engagement methods over traditional methods, including their own current research that studies the effects on learning of students' reasoning ability and attitudes and beliefs about learning. For more information about Dr. Phillips' work see .

Eric Ladizinsky , Loyola Marymount University & Director of Technical Operations, D-Wave , presented the other morning invited talk: "Quantum Computing: Harnessing a New Force of Nature."   Mr. Ladizinsky discussed how quantum computation could revolutionize the information age, trigger as big an impact on society as the conventional computer, and transform not just science and technology but our very understanding of reality - both real and virtual. He described how 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.   For more information about Eric Ladizinsky's work see  

Dr. Jonas Mureika,   Loyola Marymount University, presented the afternoon invited talk: "New Physics in the 21st Century: Now With LARGE Extra Dimensions!"   Dr. Mueika described how the inclusion of extra spatial dimensions beyond the traditional "x-y-z" can make some otherwise outlandish theories look elegant.   These dimensions have always been assumed to be extremely small, 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? Dr. Mureika's 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. He predicted that if there really is new physics to be found in extra dimensions, we'll know in under 5 years! For more information about Dr. Mureika's work see .

The ever popular Show 'n' Tell featured demonstrations by Bill Layton, John Mallinckrodt, and Nuria Rodriguez.

The following contributed talks were presented:

  • "Enhancing Physics Learning by Pre-class Online Quizzes", Ertan Salik , Cal Poly Pomona
  • "Classical Thermodynamics As Illustrated By Oxygen Condensation On The Outside Of A Very Cold Container", Jesse Goldman , Cal Poly SLO
  • "How Well Are We REALLY Preparing Future Teachers?", Peter Morse, Santa Monica College
  • "The Physical Meaning of the Vector and Scalar Potentials", Francisco Izaguirre , El Camino College

A short business meeting was held and the following officers were elected:

  • Nuria Rodriguez - President
  • Jeff Phillips - Vice President
  • Dean Papadakis - Vice President for High Schools
  • Glenn Malin - Secretary/ Treasurer
  • Forouzan Faridian - Past President
  • John Mallinckrodt - Editor/Webmaster
  • Mary Mogge - Section Representative

The meeting ended with our World Famous "Order of Magnitude Contest."   This meeting's question was: (An old classic!) How many moles of sand grains are there on all the beaches on Earth?   The winner of the O of M contest is the person or persons with the median answer.   Since there were an even number of entries, there were two winners.   Jason Kite won a $50 Vernier Gift Certificate with his estimate of 700 moles   and Martin Smith-Martinez won a Go!Motion motion detector from Vernier with his estimate of 100 moles.   Gabriele Varieschi won the door prize a PASCO track and cart.   We thank our corporate sponsors - Vernier and PASCO - for their support and donation of door prizes.

The Southern California Section will hold its Fall Meeting in late October or early November.   Please bookmark the SCAAPT URL and check for date and location at the start of Fall term.  

Mary Mogge, Section Representative

  ©2005 SCAAPT
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