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Program for the Spring 2008 meeting

Saturday, 29 March 2008
Pomona College

(Rose Hills Theatre, Smith Center)

Local Host: David Tanenbaum

Lunch info
Brunch on campus in the Blue Room, Frank Dining Hall. $5. "All you can eat" (eggs and omelets to order, do it yourself waffles, grill, pizza, salad bar, fresh fruit, etc.)

THANK YOU exhibitors and sponsors!

Please take some time to check out the commercial workshops and exhibits at the meeting and especially to thank the representatives for their support of our organization.

The World Famous "Order of Magnitude Contest"!!
Question: (A variation on an oldy, but goody!)
"How many sheets of paper would it take to cover your share of the Earth's surface?"
As always, if you need to make further assumptions, go ahead and do so subject only to the understanding that the person giving the median answer will be declared the winner and will get first pick of the door prizes.

Maps and Directions
Online maps and directions from Pomona College
MapQuest map for directions from your location
Annotated campus map specifically for the meeting

Except from Pasadena or the San Fernando Valley, take I-10 to Indian Hill Boulevard, Exit 47. From Orange County, take the Orange Freeway (Route 57) to I-10 east. From the Long Beach area, take the San Gabriel River Freeway (I-605) or the Long Beach Freeway (I-710) to I-10 east.

After exiting at Indian Hill Boulevard, drive north about one mile to First St. (just after the railroad tracks), turn right, and travel three blocks to the College Ave. Turn left (North) on College Ave. Continue North on College until you pass Sixth St. The Millikan Laboratory is on the Northeast corner of College and Sixth. You can park on College Ave. or on Seventh St., or in the parking lots and garage off of the East side of College on Seventh St.

From Pasadena and the San Fernando Valley, take the Foothill Freeway (I-210) east until the Towne Ave. Exit in Claremont. Travel South on Town Ave. and make a left turn onto Foothill Boulevard (Route 66). Travel east on Foothill Blvd. to College Ave. (the third block after the light at the intersection of Foothill and Indian Hill), turn right, and proceed south six blocks to Seventh St. The Millikan Laboratory is on the Northeast corner of College and Sixth.

Free. You can park on College Ave. or on Seventh St., or in the parking lots and garage off of the East side of College on Seventh St.

Program Schedule  
8:15 AM
Registration, Refreshments, Exhibits, General Schmoozing

8:30 AM


9:15 AM

Workshop: "Downloading and Editing Internet Video for Use in a Physics Class"
Leader—Gary Reynolds , Santa Ana HS

The workshop will show how to search the internet for useful video clips, downloading them, reformating them for editing, and editing and storing them on flash drives or cd's for convenient use in the classroom. It would be helpful, but not necessary, for those attending the workshop to bring a laptop computer with a network cable and/or a flash drive.

There will be two identical presentations of the workshop of about 30-45 minutes each. The first workshop will begin at 8:30 a.m. and the second showing will begin at 9:15. There is a limit to the number of participants that can be accomodated.

If you are interested in attending the workshop, please email Dean Papadakis of your intentions and indicate your preference for the FIRST session or the SECOND session. You will get a response confirming your participation and which time slot you will be assigned.

10:00 AM

Welcome and announcements
10:15 AM

Contributed Talk: "Flight of the Wandering Albatross"
Bob Coutts

Using my own photographs and observations from my January 2007 trip to Antarctica, as well as supportive academic research, I will present my theory as to how these remarkable birds can stay aloft long enough to fly around the world. Web-based satellite tracking data will illustrate several such events.

10:30 AM

Contributed Talk: "Calculus Based derivation of Simple Harmonic Motion"
Martin Hoecker-Martinez
Mt San Antonio College &Harvey Mudd College

Calculus based physics texts use a differential equations approach to justifying the equations of motion for a simple harmonic oscillator. Students in a calculus based course have not been exposed to differential equations and they can not follow this line of reasoning. I present an equivalent derivation using concepts already familiar to students, conservation of energy and integral calculus.

10:45 AM

Invited Talk: "Rapid Motion in the Plant Kingdom: Nature's Weapon's of Mass Reproduction"
Dwight Whitaker
Pomona College

Plants and fungi have developed a number of remarkable methods for the rapid dispersal of seeds and spores. The most rapid movements come about from the sudden release of stored elastic energy, and can therefore be analyzed with straightforward biomechanical models. The validity of these models is confirmed by comparing the predicted motion with high-speed video images. We use our biomechanical models to isolate the key features required for rapid motion and to assess how effective each plant is at its particular dispersal mechanism. The results of these analyses are combined with observations from the field and comparisons with similar species to gain insight into the adaptive significance of these extraordinary methods of reproduction. In this talk we will present several methods of seed and spore dispersal from some a variety of plant species, including the explosive launch of bunchberry pollen, the slingshot seed dispersal of Impatiens, and the exploding spore capsules of Sphagnum moss.

11:45 AM


Business Meeting

Election of offficers, national AAPT news, announcement of PTRA workshop grant, etc.


Lunch — Brunch in the Blue Room, Frank Dining Hall. (See above.)

1:15 PM


2:00 PM

Parallel sessions
(both presented twice to accommodate all attendees)

Please note that these sessions will be held in Millikan Laboratory

Invited Talk: "Cornell Institute for Physics Teachers: A Lending Library for Class Sets of Laboratories Designed for High School Teachers"
David M. Tanenbaum
Pomona College

The CIPT is a nation wide resource for high school physics teachers supported by both the NSF and New York State. Libraries exist in several locations around the country, with the largest sites being hosted by Cornell and Pomona College in New York and California respectively. Training workshops are run to introduce teachers to labs which they can either assemble from parts lists, buy from vendors, or check out from the libraries. This talk will introduce this resource and highlight some of the laboratories that are available, as well as describe the process for both teacher training and development of new laboratories.

Event: "Planetarium Show/Software Demonstration"
Bryan Penprase
Pomona College

Using freely available software for teaching astronomy can add an exciting new dimension to physics and astronomy classes. In the Millikan planetarium we will demonstrate some of the best of the available software, which includes a set of java applets for simulating apparent motions of the stars and planets, a desktop planetarium program that includes a catalog of 200,000 stars, and enables "fly-throughs" of the solar system and nearby universe, and programs for viewing large assemblies of particle positions which can be used to visualize the largest structures in the universe. We will also do a quick sky show which illustrates some of the capabilities of our planetarium, and provide some updates on upcoming events in the sky.

2:45 PM

"Show'n Tell"

Gary Reynolds "Stellarium and laser mass transporter"

3:15 PM

Contributed Talk: "Ion Propulsion Simulation and the NASA Dawn Mission"
Joe Wise
New Roads School

The NASA Dawn mission to the asteroids Vesta and Ceres uses an ion propulsion system (IPS) for thrust. An on-line simulation developed with JPL lets students modify IPS design parameters to explore how to maximise thrust. Educational modules on Coulomb's Law and charges are also included.

3:30 PM

Contributed Talk: "Measuring Relative Phase Shift Incurred Upon Total Internal Reflection"
Ertan Salik
Cal Poly Pomona

As light waves reflect from a surface, the reflectance (ratio of reflected intensity to incident intensity) as well as phase shift depend on angle of incidence and polarization of the light. Designing an experiment to measure the reflectance is not difficult, but many would think one needs an interferometer to measure the phase shift. We show that with a simple experiment one can measure the phase shift incurred for polarization perpendicular and parallel to the plane of incidence for total internal reflection, for which reflectance is 100%, but phase shift a different function of angle of incidence for each polarization. This brings up the possibility of verifying Fresnel equations in an undergraduate optics laboratory.

3:45 PM

Contributed Talk: "History and Reality of the International Young Physicists Tournament"
Tengiz Biblashvili
Wildwood Secondary School

The talk is about a history of the International Young Physicists' Tournament (IYPT) and the USA Invitational Young Physicists Tournament (USAIYPT.) The talk explains how USA selects and prepares teams for the tournaments. The IYPT and USAIYPT are competitions among teams of secondary school students in their ability to solve complicated scientific problems, to present solutions to these problems in a convincing form and to defend them in scientific discussions, called Physics Fights. The talk explains the nature if IYPT problems and shows several examples from the past tournaments.

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

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