Fall 2011 Conference at UC Berkeley

UCB Physics


Join us the first weekend in November at UC Berkeley for a day and a half of physics education.

Friday evening, November 4th

Social and Lecture Demo Show

Saturday, November 5


  • 8:00 Registration, coffee, donuts
  • 9:00 Welcome
  • 9:15 Show and Tell
  • 10:15 Break
  • 10:30 “Physics for Future Presidents — A new approach for the non-science student.” Invited speaker: Richard Muller, Professor of Physics, U.C. Berkeley, Faculty Senior Scientist, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory
  • 11:30 Group photo
  • 11:45 Lunch
  • 12:45 Business meeting (in just 15 minutes!)
  • 1:00 Two options:
    • Tour of Physics Research Labs. Guided tours of physics faculty labs in Astrophysics, Condensed Matter & Materials Science, and Atomic, Molecular, and Optical Physics, led by graduate students and researchers.
    • Roundtable Discussion for high school teachers to discuss common problems and solution.
  • 2:15 Break
  • 2:30 Two options:
    • Three concurrent workshops featuring labs and lecture demonstrations from Berkeley and other schools (contributions welcome). Spend the full period in one or circulate among the labs to see them all.
    • Modeling Instruction introduction workshop
  • 4:00 End 🙂


View NCN AAPT Conference at UCB November 2011 in a larger map and/or get directions

Complete program

Download our complete program in PDF format here.


$20 for NCN AAPT members (includes one lunch ticket). First timers are always free (lunch tickets for first timers are $10). Lunch will be beef, turkey, or veggie sandwiches.

Pre-registration is not required, but will help us know how many people to expect:

(The registration below says it’s free, but that’s just because we’re not collecting payment online. The usual registration fees apply, including free admission for first time attendees.)

[EVENT_REGIS_CATEGORY event_category_id=”section”]

What’s going on here: Poly Density Kit

A new feature on our web site will be a “What’s going on here?” post. Each month we’ll post an interesting question or device, and ask our members to make comments. The first person with the right answer gets bragging rights (or the voice of our web weaver, Lee Trampleasure, on your home answering machine if you’re a fan of “Wait Wait, Don’t Tell Me”).

July 2010: Poly Density Kit

Educational Innovations sells a “Poly Density Kit” shown in the video below:

First the bottle is shaken, and all the beads mix uniformly. After the shaking stops, the blue beads start sinking and the white beads start floating. Within about 15 seconds, all the blue beads are on the bottom and the white beads are on the top. In the next minute or so, the cluster of blue beads slowly rises, and the white beads slowly sink. In the end, all the beads are in the middle, layered by color.

How does this happen? Leave your explanations and questions in the comments section below, (click “Comments” if the section is not visible). if you know how this works, wait and let a few people provide their explanations first.

Future contest ideas?

If you have suggestions for future “What’s going on here?” posts, please mail them to lee@trampleasure.net.

LCROSS lunar impact videos and images on the web

Here’s a video:


a mid-infrared (MIR) image showing the flash of the Centaur impact:
and an image of an even larger impact we performed  about 40 years ago: the Apollo 14 booster stage for calibrating Apollo 12’s seismometers:
And NASA’s LCROSS page: www.nasa.gov/mission_pages/LCROSS/main/

Jupiter pummeled, leaving bruise the size of the Pacific Ocean

By Robert Sanders, UCB Media Relations | 21 July 2009

Complete article here: http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2009/07/21_bruise.shtml

infrared image of Jupiter taken with Keck IIThe scar from the probable impact appeared July 19 in Jupiter’s southern hemisphere, and has grown to a size greater than the extent of the Pacific Ocean. This infrared image taken with Keck II on July 20 shows the new feature observed on Jupiter and its relative size compared to Earth. (Paul Kalas ,UCB; Michael Fitzgerald, LLNL/UCLA; Franck Marchis, SETI Institute/UCB; James Graham, UCB)

BERKELEY — Something slammed into Jupiter in the last few days, creating a dark bruise about the size of the Pacific Ocean.

The bruise was noticed by an amateur astronomer on Sunday, July 19. University of California, Berkeley, astronomer Paul Kalas took advantage of previously scheduled observing time on the Keck II telescope in Hawaii to image the blemish in the early morning hours of Monday, July 20. The near infrared image showed a bright spot in Jupiter’s southern hemisphere, where the impact had propelled reflective particles high into the relatively clear stratosphere.

In visible light, the bruise appears dark against the bright surface of Jupiter.

The observation made with the Keck II telescope marks only the second time astronomers have seen the results of an impact on the planet. The first collision occurred exactly 15 years ago, between July 16 and 22, 1994, when more than 20 fragments of comet Shoemaker-Levy 9 collided with Jupiter.

Complete article here: http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2009/07/21_bruise.shtml


NASA Releases Restored Apollo 11 Moonwalk Video

NASA moon logoWASHINGTON, July 16 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — NASA released Thursday newly restored video from the July 20, 1969, live television broadcast of the Apollo 11 moonwalk. The release commemorates the 40th anniversary of the first mission to land astronauts on the moon.

The initial video release, part of a larger Apollo 11 moonwalk restoration project, features 15 key moments from the historic lunar excursion of Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin.

A team of Apollo-era engineers who helped produce the 1969 live broadcast of the moonwalk acquired the best of the broadcast-format video from a variety of sources for the restoration effort. These included a copy of a tape recorded at NASA’s Sydney, Australia, video switching center, where down-linked television from Parkes and Honeysuckle Creek was received for transmission to the U.S.; original broadcast tapes from the CBS News Archive recorded via direct microwave and landline feeds from NASA’s Johnson Space Center in Houston; and kinescopes found in film vaults at Johnson that had not been viewed for 36 years.

NASA Television will provide an HD video feed of the Apollo footage hourly from 12 – 7 p.m. on July 16 and 17. Each feed is one hour. For NASA TV streaming video, downlink and schedule information, visit:


A copy of the newly restored scenes from the Apollo 11 restoration effort can be found at:


NASA’s Apollo 40th anniversary Web sites provide easy access to various agency resources and multimedia about the program and the history of human spaceflight, including a gallery of Apollo multimedia features. Visit the site at:


Other Apollo 11 resources

  • JFK Library Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the First Moon Landing
  • WeChooseTheMoon.org “The site will plug you into the current state of the mission and has many tangents to keep you occupied during quiet times (especially the “loss of signal” intervals). Keep the site running in the background while you work away at the tasks of the day.” [Thanks, Dean Baird, for the quote]