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Program for the Fall 2006 meeting

Saturday, 4 November 2006
University of California, Irvine

McDonnell Douglas Engineering Auditorium

Local Host: Michael Dennin

Maps and Directions
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Catered Lunch (Free to member attendees w/ reservation!)

Who says there is no such thing as a free lunch? The UCI physics department is very graciously picking up the tab for the first 80 member meeting attendees who respond by email. Please email Jeff Phillips and indicate if you would prefer a vegetarian meal.


On the "campus map" (see link at left), the parking will be in the structure labeled "ICS/Eng". The registration will be in the plaza in front of the McDonnell Douglas Engineering Auditorium (#311 on the map.) This is where the main portion of the meeting will be held. The workshop will be in another building either Reines Hall (#401), Rowland Hall (#400), or Physical Sciences Classroom Building (#413). All of these are a 5-15 minute walk from each other.

To get free parking, you will need to tell the attendant or automated system that you are with SCAAPT.

The World Famous "Order of Magnitude Contest" !!

"What fraction of the atmosphere by volume does one year of automotive CO2 emissions represent?"

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 catered lunch, free to the first 80 people who respond! the descriptions in the program below for details.
Program Schedule  
8:15 AM
Registration, Refreshments, Exhibits
8:30 AM

Workshop: "Ripple Tank Construction "
Leader— Dean Papadakis
South Pasadena High School

Materials will be provided for you to make your own ripple tank to take home with you.   The design of the ripple tank is being taken from Cornell University's Center for Nanoscale Systems Institute for Physics Teachers (CIPT).

10:00 AM

Welcome and announcements
10:15 AM

Contributed Talk: "Observations on Teaching Large Lecture Classes"
George Kuck
CSU Long Beach

Large lecture classes have unique challenges.   These classes are usually the introductory courses which give the students their only contact with the subject.   When you teach a large class, your techniques in engaging the students are critical.   Experience with Physical Science classes of 80-150 students in size at CSULB have shown several the difficulty of obtaining student engagement.

10:30 AM

Invited Talk: " Several Vignettes in Molecular Physics: What happens when atoms get together and then depart "
Dr. Kenneth Janda
Chemistry, UCI

An active field of molecular physics involves studying interatomic interactions that are too weak to be called chemistry. For instance, a good fraction of my career has been spent learning how helium and neon stick to molecules. We use laser spectroscopy to study this, and also to study how the weak interaction is broken when the laser deposits energy into the molecule. One example that I really like involves an analogy to two-slit wave diffraction when a helium atom is knocked off of a chlorine molecule. I will also discuss a solid phase of water that happens to trap vast quantities of methane. It turns out that most methane near the surface of the earth is frozen into marine ice sediments. This methane may turn out to be a partial solution of the world's energy problem, but a huge problem for global warming.

11:30 AM

"Show'n Tell" session one

Bob Ferrazi: "Burning stuff!"
Gary Reynolds: "1000° tabletop bunsen burner kiln!"

11:45 AM

Business meeting


Lunch, Group Discussions, Sunspot Observing

Meet and participate in group discussions with your fellow physics teachers over lunch. Bring your own meal or get your reservations in ASAP for the free lunch being offered by the UCI physics department. (See above.)

We also anticipate doing some sunspot viewing during the lunch break.

1:15 PM
Group reports and processing
1:30 PM

Invited Talk: "Hidden Harmonies: Setting Physics to Music"
David Kirkby
Physics, UCI

Music permeates our students' lives in a way that, for most, physics never will. Although music and physics are usually considered to be radically different disciplines, a student's familiarity and intuition with activities such as strumming a guitar or positioning loudspeakers offers a wealth of opportunities to make connections with fundamental principles of physics in a familiar context. In this talk, I will cover some examples and my own experiences with introducing music into university physics courses for non-science majors. I will also describe how musical analogies have helped me to better communicate and understand my research into subtle differences between matter and antimatter.

2:30 PM

Contributed Talk: "And the answer is Southeast!"
Roger Morehouse
Cal Poly Pomona

For years I have had students provide strange answers about vectors.   I thought that this was just because the students were in a hurry and miswrote their answers.   However, further investigation showed that students confuse graphs, maps and diagrams.   By not recognizing what is being represented, students make understanding physics much harder.   Do you have similar problems in your classes?

2:45 PM

"Show'n Tell" session two

Gordon Owens: "Palm pipes"
Myron Mann: "Ultrasonic vaporizer efficiency"
Mark McLaughlin: "Inexpensive and accurate rulers and protractors with overhead transparencies"
Jeff Phillips: "Biot-Savart experiment"
Martin Mason: "Student built robots"

(Send additions to John Mallinckrodt)

3:15 PM

Contributed Talk: "Physics 2005 in Latin America"
Margarete Allen
Los Angeles Pierce College

I attended the InterAmerican Physics Educators Conference in Costa Rica this summer. I found that several Latin countries had some very innovative methods for involving the general population in the International Year of Physics 2005. I wish to share what I found with the SCAAPT.

3:30 PM

Contributed Talk: "Gauss' Law in your household kitchen: Fundamental fishy physics for all!"
Jonas Mureika
Loyola Marymount University

Gauss' Law is one of our most important descriptions of the geometry of elementary fields, and its elegant formulation is an important key to understanding the nature of all matter in the Universe.   It should thus be no surprise that it also governs the dynamics of the common household kitchen.   Come learn how to explain this fundamental, mathematically intricate law to your kids, students, family, and friends!   [Ages 3 and up.   No assembly required. Pre-requisite: basic understanding of food.]

3:45 PM
The World Famous "Order of Magnitude Contest" and Door Prizes
4:00 PM
Meeting Adjourns

  ©2005 SCAAPT
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