Fall 1999 Meeting Notes

Northern California/Nevada AAPT Section

Fall Meeting Notes
November 5-6, 1999
The Fall meeting of NCNAAPT was held at the University of the Pacific, hosted by Jim Hetrik. Approximately 90 high school, community college, state college and university physics teachers attended this exciting meeting, which included an afternoon workshop on Friday.


David Wall, San Francisco City College, preseented a 4-hour workshop on “The Physics of Magic or Vice Versa”. 38 participants learned to do rope tricks and other magician tricks, taking home some materials that they could practice with and use in their own classrooms. The success of the workshop indicates that it should be held again, possibly at the spring meeting.



The Friday evening social was another success. In addition to studying the rate of rise of a CO2 bubble through a glass of beverage, the group was treated to a talk by Dr. John P. Knezovich from the Livermore National Laboratory. In his talk, Dr. Knezovich told the group how the Livermore National Laboratory is using mass spectrometry to investigate environmental and biological problems.



Show & Tell, always a welcome way to start the day, included 12 presentations. Presenters and some notes follow:

  • Dan Burns, Los Gatos HS
    • A way to get air track collisions between gliders going at the same speeds.
  • Clarence Bakken, Gunn HS
  • Peter Urone, CSU Sacramento
    • Some demonstrations of radioactivity.
  • Dean Baird, Rio Americano HS
  • Jim Hetrick, UOP
    • Two of the venerable demonstrations from the UOP Physics Dept. collection.
  • Don Rathjen, Exploratorium
    • Showed three uses for night lights with built-in photosensors – primarily as feedback mechanisms.
  • Dave Wall, SFCC
    • A quick demo of centripetal force, with kudos to Sue Broadston who showed it to him first.
  • Paul Hewitt, Ret.
    • How train wheels, with fixed axles, can go around curves successfully without differentials.
  • Bill Papke, Ret.
    • A very nice flashlight powered by three LED’s. Contact him at wmpapke@aol.com for information or to order.
  • Dave Kagan, CSU Chico
  • Robin McGlohn, Menlo School
    • Used a house watt-hour meter from PG&E plus parts to show students what power means and observe it for different common devices.
  • Margaret Loehr, Kennedy HS, Sacramento
    • A resonance demo and
  • Dave Wall
    • demonstrates a discectable Leyden Jar,
      giving the audience and himself a big charge.


  • Wade Williams, from the National Ignition Facility at Livermore National Laboratory, talked about the NIF being constructed. The NIF is aiming to use Inertial Confinement to achieve nuclear fusion with positive energy gains. His talk gave the audience some of the details that are being worked on, and emphasized technology that is still being developed for this facility.

Our speaker, Wade Williams, addresses NCNAAPT.


  • Selected April 8 as date for spring meeting
  • Heard report from Section Representative, Art Fortgang
  • Formed informal committee to look into co-sponsoring a student video competition
  • Discussed setting up an e-mail list that NCNAAPT members could subscribe to
  • Saw this web page which was being constructed during the meeting
  • Held the raffle. Thanks to our donors:
    • PASCO Scientific
    • Vernier Software
    • Paul Peter Urone
    • David Wall


15 new teachers attended the afternoon workshop hosted by Art Fortgang. Presentations were made by Clarence Bakken, Dan Burns, Art Fortgang, Paul Robinson, Dave Wall and Dean Baird. Each attendee took home a “goody bag” filled with some quick and dirty demonstration materials, including a number of physics toys.


In concurrent sessions, 12 papers were presented. Refer to the original program page for further descriptions.


The next meetings of NCNAAPT will be:

April 8, 2000 at Stanford UniversityNovember (1st weekend) at Chico State


Clarence Bakken, Webmaster NCNAAPT


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