Fall 2009 meeting at IUP

Fall meeting of the Western Pennsylvania chapter of the American Association of Physics Teachers (WPA-AAPT)Student Giving a Presentation

Indiana University of Pennsylvania, 32 Weyandt Hall

October 3, 2009

8:00–9:00: Registration outside 32 Weyandt Hall. Continental breakfast provided

9:00–9:05: Greeting by David Groh, president of the Western Pennsylvania Chapter of the American Association of Physics Teachers

9:05–9:15: Opening Remarks. Dr. Gerald W. Intemann, IUP provost and vice president for Academic Affairs

9:15–9:30: Gavin A. Buxton, buxton@rmu.edu, Robert Morris University. “Repetition Reaps Rewards: The Cyclic Approach to Introductory Physics”
The cyclic approach to teaching is a wonderful way of familiarizing students with some of the more abstract concepts in physics. In particular, the course can be covered in three cycles, where the first cycle concentrates on concepts and simple examples. The second cycle can be more problem solving and build upon the concepts already introduced, while the third cycle can cover (more thoroughly) areas of difficulty within the class and introduce advanced topics. Since being introduced to the cyclic method by Bob Brown (CWRU), I have found that it improves students understanding of the material and encourages class participation.

9:30–10:30: Invited Speaker. John Crookston, Forest Hills High School. “Transitioning from Traditional to Reformed Teaching Practice via the Modeling Approach—Lessons Learned”

10:30-10:45: Coffee break

10:45–11:00: David Spahr, dspahr@bwschool.net, Baldwin High School. “The Way We Were”
Thirty years ago, a student gave me his grandfather’s physics text. This text was used in what appeared to be the first physics course for engineers at Carnegie Tech, 1939. Inside was a little gem, the final exam for the first semester of the course. I’ll bring copies for the group. I also have the copy of the 1913 edition of Millikan and Gale. I found it very enlightening to see the difference between now and the way we were.

11:00–11:15: Patrick J. Campbell, pcampbell@chartiers-houstonsd.com / redwooddog@aol.com, Chartiers-Houston School district. Physics Teacher Google Group.
A google group is basically a shared web space. The aim of this group is to assist the new physics teacher in the start of their career. I hope that it will be a place where teachers can share resources, best practices, and opportunities. The group will be a Web space where files (such as labs) can be posted, pages (such as lists of links) can be posted, and discussions can be had. Participation is free. Hopefully you will join and be an active part of the community.

11:15–noon: Planetarium show and tour of IUP Physics research facilities.

Noon–1:00: Lunch. There is an all-you-care-to-eat lunch at Folger on campus at IUP. Follow the herd to the trough.

1:00–1:20: Michael K. Gainer, kizinski@aol.com, emeritus professor of Physics, St. Vincent College; and Peter Usher, mirden@verizon.net, emeritus professor of Astronomy, Penn State University. “Evidence for the Existence of Sixteenth-Century Telescope Observations and Their Influence on the Work of William Shakespeare”
Sixteenth-century manuscripts by Leonard Digges and his son, Thomas, indicate that they experimented with an early form of reflecting telescope and applied it to astronomical observation. A model of the type of telescope they describe has been constructed in order to evaluate the possibility, nature, and quality of their observations. Evidence for the existence of telescopic observations is provided by an analysis of Shakespeare’s allegorical references in Hamlet to telescopic astronomical phenomena.

1:20–1:35: Poornima Krishnamurthy, s_pkrishnamu@clarion.edu; Karen Spuck; and Bruce Smith, all Clarion University of Pennsylvania. “Science in Motion Project at Clarion University”
The Science in Motion project at Clarion University is designed to support state-of-the-art instruction for secondary students in science. The project utilizes certified science teachers to deliver modern scientific instrumentation to high schools and provide support to the local teachers as they introduce and make use of the equipment in their own classroom. Teachers attend school year and summer programs in which they practice with the equipment and also work with other teachers to develop experiences and curricula for their students. In this presentation, we present the objectives, principles, and the benefits of the outreach conducted through this project. We also present the organization and the outcomes of the astronomy workshop (conducted as a part of Science in Motion project) titled “Integrating Astronomy into the Curriculum Organized for School Teachers in the Clarion and Oil City Area in Pennsylvania.”

1:35–1:50: David Groh, groh001@gannon.edu, Gannon University. “Interpolating for Excel Contour Plots”
Rectangular graphite sheets are often used to obtain voltage contours for various charge arrangements. The most common are for a dipole and capacitor. Obtaining complete plots is very time consuming as there are often thousands of grid points. So, there has to be significant interpolation. The interpolation method presented involves setting up a finite difference scheme which can also be used to obtain a very accurate “theory” plot.

1:50–2:05: Mark Regalla, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, “New Chalcogenide Materials for Thin Film Fresnel Lenses”
The chalcogenide compounds As35S65 and As35S59Se6 are probed for use in thin film Fresnel lenses in this work. Deposited chalcogenide films undergo photostructural transformations when exposed to light with energy greater than or equal to its band gap energy. Bulk chalcogenide glasses were deposited on glass substrates using a high vacuum thermal evaporation deposition coater. Next, the As35S65 and As35S59Se6 samples were irradiated with 365 and 405 nm light under a pre-fabricated mask in a Fresnel lens pattern. Then, they were etched using a non-aqueous amine based solution. The chemical transformations in fresh vs. irradiated, etched, and irradiated and etched As35S59Se6 samples were analyzed using a High-Resolution X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy method.

2:05–2:20: Rachel Umbel, Indiana University of Pennsylvania. “Loss Measurements at Elevated Temperatures”
Sponsored through National Science Foundation, through University of Florida International Research Experience for Undergraduates, I worked with the IGR group at University of Glasgow during the summer of 2009. The aim of my project was to explore the mechanical loss processes in dielectric mirror coatings, which are used in gravitational wave detectors, at elevated temperatures. This was achieved by measuring the ring downs of coated and uncoated cantilever structures in a specially designed vacuum chamber and calculating their mechanical losses as well as the thermo elastic losses for the various cantilevers. In addition, the coated and uncoated cantilevers mechanical losses and thermo elastic losses were calculated at temperatures up to 500K.

2:20–2:35: Majid Karimi, karimi@iup.edu; and Carl LeBlond, cleblond@iup.edu, Indiana University of Pennsylvania. “Simulations of methane on Al(111)”
Classical many-body interatomic potentials for methane molecules interacting with Al(111) are developed using the embedded-atom method (EAM). The optimized EAM parameters for methane-Al(111) are obtained by fitting to the data generated from the first principles calculations. Adsorption of methane on the Al(111) substrate is studied using the Grand Canonical Monte-Carlo method. Adsorption isotherms are calculated at several temperatures near the triple point temperature of methane Tt = 90K, and structural parameters obtained from the adsorbed density profiles. The structures and the thermodynamics of film growth are compared to methane adsorption on other metal surfaces.

2:35–2:50: Stephen Shiring, Carl LeBlond, and Majid Karimi, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, “BulkUI: A Web Based Graphical Interface for Materials Modeling”
BulkUI is a Web-based user interface for constructing, visualizing, and performing computational calculations on solids, surfaces, and adsorbates. The web environment uses the python-based Atomic Simulation Environment (ASE) for structure specification and the java applet Jmol to render the structures in real-time. Structures are easily generated from predefined examples that show the required ASE python scripts. These example scripts are easily modified on a web form (e.g. atom and lattice type, lattice constants, periodicity, etc) and the structures rendered upon refreshing. Input files for common computational chemistry packages (PWSCF, VASP) are effortless generated for virtually any material. BulkUI also allows the submission of PWSCF jobs to a batch queuing system on a computational server. The intuitive web environment is an ideal platform for educational use while the advanced options available in the ASE python platform and the input file generation capabilities are of interest to researchers in the field.

2:50–3:05: Fran Mateycik, fam13@psu.edu, Pennsylvania State University, Altoona; N. Sanjay Rebello, srebello@phys.ksu.edu, Kansas State University; and David Jonassen, jonassen@missouri.edu, University of Missouri. “Student Adaptation of Conceptual Schema Using Case Reuse”
Students often extract the conceptual schema from previous cases and adapt them to new problems. Recognizing the deep structure differences and similarities between problems is essential for productive case reuse, or conceptual schema adaptation. Data were collected during a semester-long study with students participating in weekly focus group learning interviews designed to facilitate case reuse strategies. At the mid- and end-points of the study, students were interviewed individually and asked to rate the similarities between problem pairs. For this talk, I report on previous results from the similarity ratings and implications for future work.

3:05–3:30: Business meeting and book giveaway.

Special thanks to:

  • The College of Natural Science and Mathematics—Dr. Mary Lou Zanich, interim dean—for providing the continental breakfast
  • Pearson Higher Education—Matthew Pastier, Western Pennsylvania District representative—for the book donations
  • PASCO Scientific—Christopher Wilhelm, Higher Education representative

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