Show and Tell Spring 2009

Here’s a short summary of presentations at the March 28th Spring 2009 meeting’s Show and Tell. Photos will be linked from here shortly.

  • Chuck Hunt, American River College
    • Intro to conservation laws demo. Five M&Ms in a small brown bag. How many times did the red one hit the green one? How many M&Ms are in the bag? Checked it by pulling them out. He pulls out six. How come? Shows the empty bag and places six in the bag. Shakes them up. Hides at the back of the room, then is seen chewing. How many in the bag? Counts out five. Where did the sixth go? “You ate it.” How do you know this? Not just that I was chewing, but that it was not in the bag. Conservation of M&Ms!
  • Claudia, Gunn High School, Palo Alto
    • Just a “tell.” Energy is on the forefront of public discussions, and physics sort of “owns” physics. But we’re not teaching about energy careers as requiring a physics background. This is our moment! The stimulus bill has created money available for energy topics. Claudia has made some initial contacts with professors at Stanford and with some energy companies, and they are quite excited about having high school teachers work on a venture to develop an “energy curriculum” for use in high schools. Energy Questionnaire NCNAAPT
  • Doug, West Valley College
    • Solar/Lunar Aerobics. Reaching and stretching to show the motion of sun and moon. Turning his body with one hand as the sun and the other as the moon, holding the angle between the two consistent. Usually have everyone stand up.
  • Bree Dreyfuss, Amador Valley HS
    • Doesn’t have an easily accessible elevator, so has a hanging wood frame to represent an elevator. Puts a Tigger (stuffed animal) in the pan of a small food elevator. Pulls the elevator up and down and students can see the food scale change depending on the acceleration of the “elevator.” Uses the “Travel food scale” from Bed Bath and Beyond $5.
  • Don Rathjen, Exploratorium
    • Spring toy that can pop up after the suction cup releases. Has a hand out that describes forces, work, and energy involved. (25 cents a piece from Oriental Trading Company, cheap enough that the kids can take them home. High failure rate, however, so be ready to apply some petroleum jelly to the suction cup.)
  • Ann Hanks, PASCO
    • Electrostatics toy. Very light item from
    • Clear acrylic tube with a laser shined into it shows internal reflection.
    • Huge (~2m diameter) white balloon. Lots of inertia. Bernouli effect can be demonstrated as dragging the balloon along. Edmunds Scientific.
  • Chris
    • Speaker building project, Exploratorium has the design. Tall box that allows students to experience resonance frequencies in the box. Pull the speaker out and you don’t get much bass, but putting it in the box you suddenly hear the bass much louder. Can be used by students for iPod speakers, some students have come back from college and asked for the plans because “everyone in the dorm wants one.”
  • Carl R, TOPS
    • Works with an elementary school to help the teachers there. Electrostatics is in the 4th grade California curriculum. Convex mirror makes a nice bearing, placing concave side up, then balance a long rods on the mirror/watch glass. Charge up an object and hold it next to the long rod and it will rotate towards it. A PVC pipe balance will then allow you to charge up the pipe and create attraction or repulsion depending on the charge of the object you place next to it.
  • Dean Baird
    • Skinny fish tank with a white background (from Arbor Scientific). Don’t see the laser beam in the water. Mop and Glow is a good scattering agent (Pine Sol also works, pick your favorite). The water is still fairly clear, but then the laser is quite visible in the tank. Arbor’s model includes a clear rod that will allow you to shine the laser through the wand (horizontally, not lengthwise) which creates a spreading light pattern which will allow you to show reflection and refraction inside the water as it spreads out onto the white background. You can also hold a diffraction grating against the end and see the patterns in the water. If you add lots of Mop and Glow, you can show scattering of light from a regular flashlight.
  • Bill Papke, retired
    • GPF: gallons per flush on toilets and urinals. Also LPF.
    • Stop by the Frys in Roseville, it’s the best decorated Frys with all sorts of train design integrated into it.
  • Bernard Cleyet, retired
    • Glass coffee table is now his lab bench at home.
    • Carl provided a handout for Pablo’s projectile motion demonstration at the last meeting (horizontally moving marker sliding off a table, and the rotation of the marker as it moves through it’s parabolic path).
  • David Kagan, CSU Chico
    • CD. Color transparencies with waves on them. Pinned down at the top. The Physics Teacher has a template for it this month.
  • Eric Ayars, CSU Chico
    • Bad pun: Pear cut in two, with equal and opposite. The solid one he found had a solid metal chunk in the middle, so be careful when you saw.
  • Tom Woodsnam
    • (sorry, I missed what his
    • Sustainable Energy Without the Hot Air. A great book to read.
  • Lee Trampleasure, NCNAAPT web site
    • If you’re here, you see what Lee presented!
  • Clarence Barken
    • Physics Day. Cedar Fair bought Great America. Their new policy is that you can’t use electronic data collection equipment at parks. But we have an exception for Physics Day at Great America in Sunnyvale. However, the vests that hold the gear can no longer be used. Fanny packs, etc. can be used, as long as you comply with their other regulations. Clarence recommends tethers and fanny packs. Some parents have been told otherwise.
  • Extras from others: A one newton foam apple, available from Scientific Innovations. The Quarter Pounder at McDonalds is actually a Newton Burger if you weigh it. Also, there is a cereal in England called Vector, which has “directions” on the side and comes in different “magnitudes.”
  • Pablo
    • Pablo’s web site has lots of new videos posted ( Check them out. He also recommends the DVD Understanding Car Crashes, It’s Basic Physics. They have a sequel: When Physics Meets Biology. Exploratorium sells them.

Spring meeting at PASCO in Roseville

We’re excited to announce that PASCO will host our spring 2009 meeting at their facilities in Roseville, CA. The date of the meeting is Saturday, March 28, 2009. Mark your calendars!

In addition to great presentations by PASCO (not strictly focused on their equipment), we’ll also offer our ever popular Show ‘n’ Tell–everyone is invited to bring a five minute presentation of your favorite lab, handout, website, or other teaching resource.

More details will be posted here shortly.

View Larger Map

Brentwood Debrief

Our Spring 2008 Meeting took place April 18–19 at Heritage High School in Brentwood. Check out the program! The SNAAPT petition (you can download it here) was voted upon by the 50 or so attendees and passed unanimously. We wish them luck!

Dean Baird, documentor and presenter extraordinaire, has assembled some cool stuff here. In includes links to:

  • Skepticism in the Classroom (a page of mini-lessons in critical thinking)
  • The Amazing Meeting (hosted by the James Randi Educational Foundation)

And photos, of course! [camera]

Help from AAPT: finding faculty, finding jobs

The AAPT Online Career Center is now associated with the AIP, APS, and AVS Career Centers. You can submit a resumé free of charge on our site and your resumé is automatically entered into a searchable database to which employers have easy online access. Visit the AAPT Online Career Center at

[pdf]Here is a flyer (400K, pdf) that describes the Career Center. You could give to the administrator at your school who is responsible for hiring new faculty.

Spring 2005 Meeting Invited Speaker

>California State University at Fresno
Saturday, April 9, 2005
Don’t miss this talk!

Invited Speaker: Michael Nauenberg, UC Santa Cruz

Einstein’s quantum theory of radiation revisited

In 1916 Einstein published a remarkable paper entitled “On the Quantum Theory of Radiation” [1]-[3] where he derived Planck’s formula for black-body radiation by a new statistical hypothesis for the emmision and absorption of electromagneic radiation based on discrete bundles of energy and momentum which we now call photons. Einstein radiation theory replaced Maxwell’s classical theory by a stochastic process, and in this talk I will show that it also gives the well known quantum statistics of massless particles with even spin [2]. These statistics however, were not discovered by Einstein but communicated to him by Bose in 1924. Like Boltzmann’s classical counterpart, Einstein’s statistical theory leads to an irreversible approach to thermal equilibrium, but because this violates time reversal, Einstein theory can not be regarded as a fundamental theory of physical processs [2]. Apparently Einstein and his contemporaries were unaware of this problem, and even today this problem is ignored in contemporary discussions of Einstein’s treatment of the black-body spectrum.


[1] A. Einstein “On the Quantum theory of Radiation” Phys. Zeitschrift 18 (1917) 121. First printed in Mitteilungender Physikalischen Gesellschaft Zurich. No 18, 1916. Translated into English in Van der Waerden Sources of Quantum Mechanics (North Holland 1967) pp. 63-77.

[2] M. Nauenberg, ” The evolution of radiation towards thermal equilibrium: A soluble model which illustrates the foundations of statistical mechanics” American Journal of Physics 72 (2004) 313

[3] D. Kleppner, “Rereading Einstein on Radiation” Physics Today, February 2005 , p. 30

Last modified 15 March 2005.

Fall Meeting 2004

Northern California/Nevada Section AAPT

Friday & Saturday, November 5-6, 2004

Henry M. Gunn High School
780 Arastradero Rd.
Palo Alto, CA

Local Host: Clarence Bakken



Friday Workshop

Teachers are welcome to contact our President, Joe Tenn, for a letter of support to assist them obtaining funds and release time to attend this conference.

He’s Losing His Momentum!” (11 am – 5 pm) Andria Erzberger, Mike Ugawa & other PTRA’s

Room S10, Gunn High School (see map below)

Do your students confuse momentum, force, and energy?
Do they understand what “conserved” means?
How can you do inexpensive labs for conservation of momentum?

Local teachers who are part of the national PTRA program will lead a 6-hour workshop on momentum and impulse Friday November 5. Based on state standards and modeling new ways to teach, it will address the often misunderstood topics of momentum, impulse, and Newton’s second law. You will go home with cheap but useful “make and take” equipment (colliding cars, rocket launcher, etc.).

The cost is $24 if the teacher pays, $48 if the school pays. Register by sending a check to: A. Erzberger, 47 Roosevelt Circle, Palo Alto, CA 94306. Deadline to sign up is October 27. Contact Andria with any questions and for more information.

Friday Evening Social

Roger Blandford, director of the new KIPAC (Kavli Institute for Particle Astrophysics and Cosmology) at SLAC and Stanford will speak Friday evening. The talk and social will be held in the Panofsky Auditorium at SLAC. Time will be 6:00 for hors d’oeuvres and 7:00 for talk. Check in at the information booth when you enter the SLAC campus. Tell them you are there for the physics teacher social. Panofsky Auditorium is directly in front of you as you go past the information booth. (Click here for map to SLAC.)

Saturday Program

SATURDAY, November 6, 2004

Morning Session, Spangenberg Auditorium

7:45   Registration, Coffee, Donuts, and other culinary delights

8:45   Welcome and Announcements

9:00   Show & Tell

Share your favorite demonstration or teaching tip. Since new teachers and section members will be at this meeting, you are encouraged to dust off some of your oldies but goodies. If you have handouts, please bring 75 copies. Time limit is 5 minutes per person.

10:00   Invited Speaker

Luisa Rebull, Spitzer Science Center, Caltech


Dr. Luisa Rebull of the Spitzer Science Center, Caltech will discuss some of the early results from the Spitzer Space Telescope (formerly known as SIRTF), NASA’s fourth and final great observatory. Spitzer observes in infrared light, so the Universe it sees looks very different than what we (or Hubble) sees in visible light. Spitzer studies very old and distant galaxies, very young nearby stars, and very dusty things all over the Universe (from nearby comets to distant dusty galaxies).

11:00   Invited Presenters

Paul Doherty and Don Rathjen and

Physics Demonstrations from the Expoloratorium

Both Paul and Don are well-known for their creative and clever physics demonstrations as well as their zeal to share them with fellow physics teachers at both AAPT meetings and at the Teacher Institute at the Exploratorium. Today they will give us a treat with some of their latest tricks.

12:00 – 1:30   LUNCH

A delicious Chinese buffet will be set out for the meeting attendees. Several vegetarian items will be included. The cost will be $10 including drink. To reserve a lunch for yourself, and to help us plan how much food to order, please email Lettie Weinmann ( that you intend to purchase a lunch (also how many in case you represent several people). Then follow up by sending a check payable to “AAPT” to Lettie Weinmann, Gunn High School, 780 Arastradero Rd., Palo Alto, CA 94306. Deadline: November 3. We will take additional lunch reservations during registration, but it would be very helpful to RSVP early.

The planning committee is arranging some exhibits and demonstrations that will be available during lunch. Also, this is a good time to visit the vendors to see what they have to offer and to ask questions.

Afternoon Session, Room M2

1:30   Business Meeting/Raffle

Contributed Papers

2:00   Modeling the Vacuum Cannon

Eric Ayars, CSU Chico,

The velocity of a projectile shot from a vacuum cannon is commonly assumed to have an upper limit equal to the speed of sound. A relatively simple theoretical model shows an upper limit that is considerably less than the speed of sound. This theoretical maximum velocity is independent of any parameters of the vacuum cannon, such as diameter and projectile mass. I will discuss the theory, assumptions made in deriving the closed-form solution and problems with the theory which invite further refinement.

2:20   What Does a Neutron Star Really Look Like?

Douglas Leadenham, DeVry University,

Black holes are by definition invisible, so the next best, visible, general relativity object is a neutron star. First theorized by Tom Gold to explain pulsars, neutron stars and their close relatives, black holes, are hypothetically drawn, interacting with spiraling disks of matter captured from neighboring stars, in magazines and textbooks. None had been captured in a telescope image until 2002, when the unusual object had no other explanation. We will take a look at images on these sites and revise a key size estimate based on general relativity.

2:40   Effective Mass of an Unloaded-Hanging Slinky

Phil Gash, CSU Chico,

Have you ever tried cacluating the period of an unloaded Slinky? I found both the conventional effective masses for a Slinky (i.e. 1/2 and 1/3) do not work. A discrete model of a Slinky (N coils each connected to each other via a spring) was developed and an expression for the effective mass was obtained. My results show it depends upon the number of coils in the Slinky and is in good agreement with the experimental data.

3:00 When You Have to Think Inside the Box

Tim Erickson, Senior Scientist, Epistemological Engineering,

We came up with a cool (yet obvious) way to show why the normal force is what it is, and, as often happens when you get an obvious, cool idea, it didn’t work – and in a very interesting way. I will show how data analysis comes to the rescue, and leads us to conceptual understandings we never anticipated.

3:20   Classical Equations of Motion from Quantum Mechical Operators

Richard B. Kidd, Diablo Valley College,

It is universally recognized that application of a quantum-mechanical operator to psi-squared, followed by integration, leads to the expectation value of the variable associated with that operator. Less well known is the fact that direct application of a kinetic energy operator to psi leads to a dynamic equation for the KE. However, since the dynamic equations are semiclassical in form, they raise questions of interpretation.

3:40   The Physics of the Springy Pendulum

Phil Gash, CSU Chic,

At the last regional AAPT meeting Ann Hanks demonstrated a spring-mass system which behaved like both a pendulum and a spring, regardless of the starting initial conditions. This springy pendulum system is modeled as a mass connected to a massless spring which is allowed to swing from its support point. The system Lagrangian is used to obtain the equations of motion which result in two coupled non-linear second order differential equations. One contains a radial and angular velocity coupling term which can be used to explain the back-and-forth pendulum-like to spring-like behavior. The coupled equations are solved numerically and match the observed behavior.

REGISTRATION FREE*  What a deal! *fee is waived for first-time attendees and students! The rest of us pay only $10. A bargain at twice the price!

Dues and Don’ts

Section dues are $10 per year, due each Fall. If you cannot attend the meeting, remain an active member which will ensure you’ll receive all our mailings by sending dues to our treasurer Dennis Buckley, Liberty High School, 850 Second St., Brentwood, CA 94513.

Upcoming Events

o Fall Meeting, SCAAPT, Pomona College, October 26, 2004

o Winter Meeting, National AAPT, Albuquerque, NM, January 8-12, 2005

o Spring Meeting, Joint Meeting NCNAAPT/SCAAPT, CSU Fresno, April, 2004

Hotels Close to Meeting

There are many hotels and motels within a short distance of Gunn High School. A short trip up or down El Camino Real will yield many possible places to stay. A few are listed here for reference. The hotels are listed by price and all are within 2 miles of the school.

Motel 6 (1)

One adult: $45.99 + tax
Two adults $51.99 + tax

4301 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, CA 94306
(650) 949-0833 (10% discount if making online reservation)

Quality Inn (2)

N/S King $67 + tax
Identify yourself as going to the meeting at Gunn High School

3901 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, CA 94306
(650) 493-2760

Crowne Plaza: Cabana-Palo Alto (5)

$99 per room Fri only
Identify yourself as a “Physics Teacher’s Conference” to get this rate
They are holding a block of rooms for us.

4290 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, CA 94306
(650) 628-0114

Creekside Inn (4)

$99 per room Fri-Sat (+ tax)
$129 per room Mon-Thurs (+ tax)
Identify yourself as a “Physics Teacher” to get this rate

3400 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, CA 94306
(650) 493-7982 or (650) 493-2411

Dinah’s Garden Hotel (3)

$119 per room, $99 with AAA (+ tax)

4261 El Camino Real
Palo Alto, CA 94306
(650) 493-2844


Map to School

Click on map for Mapquest version

From the South beyond San Jose (101)Take 85 north. Exit 85 onto 280 north. Exit at El Monte east. Left onto Foothill Expressway. Right onto Arastradero Road. Turn left into school at the traffic light.

From the South above San Jose (101)

Take San Antonio Road exit. Turn left (west). Right onto El Camino Real. Left onto Arastradero Road. Turn right into school.

From the North (280)

Take Page Mill Road exit east (left). Turn right onto Foothill Expressway. Left at Arastradero Road. Go through one light then turn left into school at the traffic light.

From the North (101)

Take Oregon Expressway exit. Left at El Camino Real. Right at Arastradero Road. Turn right into school. Campus Map

Click on map for larger image

Map to SLAC


From Freeway 280

Take Sand Hill Road East. Turn right into the entrance to the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC). Stop at the information booth and be directed to parking.

From Freeway 101

Get to 280 using either Woodside Road (coming from the north) or Page Mill Road (coming from the south). If originally going south, take 280 south when you get to the freeway. If originally going north, take 280 north when you get to the freeway. Then follow the directions above. Updated 10/27/04

Fall 2002: Throat Singing and You

Throat Singing and You
Presented by Damon Jansen

Newark Memorial High School Physics & Robotics Teacher 510-818-4396

  1. Short description of sound spectrum analysis.
  2. Looking at throat singing.
  3. How to throat sing — starting with vowels.
  4. Spectrograms of other instruments.

How to do spectrum analysis?

–if you have probeware, get microphones for it

–for Windows machines, Spectrogram works well:

Demo Version; Free; limits time of usage
Paid version: $25

–Macintosh: Audacity 1.0 (free) and Mac the Scope (free to try; $74 to buy) are both on

–for more options: go to or and search their “Downloads” pages.

Media on throat singing:

Scientific American article: search for “Tuva”; 09/20/1999

article is available free&endash;if you are asked to subscribe or pay to get it, keep poking around. This is a great intro into Tuva, throat singing, and some of the physics behind it. Great audio and video clips!

Tuva or Bust! Richard Feyman’s Last Journey (book)Ralph Leighton, W. W. Norton & Company 1991

Chronicles Ralph and Richard’s many-year struggle to get to Tuva.

Genghis Blues (movie) Tells the story of San Francisco blues musician and throat singer Paul Pena’s incredible journey to a throat singing contest in Tuva.


Michael Emory’s throat singing how-to (included with presentation):



Khoomei – How To’s And Why’s
by Michael Emory

During the past year I have learned techniques of some throat-singing styles as practiced in Central Asia. With guidance from Maj. P.C. (Ret.), and access to his collection of vocal recordings from that part of the world, I have experienced fair success in executing the forms described below. The following is intended to offer instruction to anyone with interest and patience enough to learn a way to refine self-generated sound. Previous voice training is not required. I would be delighted to hear of someone able to throat-sing while having listened to no recordings.

Much of learning to throat-sing is dependent upon the recognition of an existing subtlety of one tone among many. When you hear this and find where it is and is not, you may listen as it gains clarity and power. In this manner I was able to produce two harmonics with melody soon after hearing the khoomei-borbangy of Mr. Kaigal-ool Khovalyg. I already had been ending medleys of style with the required position simply because it felt correct.

Variation in the character of throat singing styles is dictated by careful positioning and movement of the tongue, lips, and jaw. These control pitch, timbre, and (in one case) suppression of harmonic overtones. Also necessary is a tightening of throat muscles to restrict the fundamental (lower, normal) tone. This allows generated overtones to dominate that which is heard. A faint harmonic melody can be produced above a relaxed and normally sung tone. With recognition of this possibility comes a realization that many singing styles consciously utilize harmonics for dramatic effect.

The style of kargyraa differs in that another vibration is required of the throat.

Khoomei, basic – begin by producing a long, steady note with an open, relaxed mouth and throat. by altering lip and tongue positions to say vowels, “oooo… ohhh…. ayyy…. ahhh….. eeee….”, you will hear different overtones in ascending pitch. Cupping a hand to your ear may help you to identify these initially. Maintain one tone as you tighten your throat and stomach muscles slightly. If you choke, try a lower fundamental. If you begin coughing, go into this tightening over a period of time to avoid damage to your voice. Hard coughing is punishing to vocal cords.

You should now be making “electronic” sounding vowels. If any of these are extended with subtle changes to the tongue, lips, or jaw (changing one element at a time as in any controlled experiment), separate overtones will gain definition. The sounds you create are feedback leading to finer mouth control.

It may be difficult to sort out the overtones created by each position. Discover them as you work out a scale above one steady fundamental. Eventually simple melodies will emerge within a limited range. As you consciously create melody, avoid the temptation to alter the fundamental. This is basic khoomei.

Sygyt – with your throat tightened, sing an “e” vowel at a comfortable pitch. Shift the jaw slightly forward and partially close the mouth with lips protruded. You should hear a drop in the pitch of the harmonic. As the sides of the tongue are held against upper premolars push sound between tongue and palate. By adjusting your lips different notes will emerge. Flexing the middle of the tongue up and down lends a wider range, greater definition and more drive to produced tones. Keep the tongue sides in contact with teeth to maintain a separate upper cavity in which overtones are generated. This is the position for sygyt used by Tuvan singers.

A similar style places the tongue higher on the palate or with the tongue-tip folded back. I believe that Mongolian singers favor this position.

Khoomei-borbangy – if you are able to produce a very relaxed and clear khoomei melody by varying tongue position but without jaw or lip shifts, you may begin hearing a second overtone. This is audible at a pitch between the fundamental and the melodic overtone. A third, higher, ringing overtone may also emerge (most people find it a painful curiosity only, some people think that of all throat-singing). Tongue movement to create melody must remain low in the mouth to avoid interference with the lower, more subtle harmonic. It is simplest to keep the tip rested at the base of the lower incisors while gently flexing the middle of the tongue. With practice comes greater freedom of movement. The jaw should be held forward and fairly rigid as the lips are held loosely at an “ohh” position. On the verge of relaxation your lips should quiver lightly and rapidly. A slight opening or closing movement of the jaw may help initiate this movement. This fine balance is an elusive state and should be allowed to happen passively on your part. If it once happens, simply try to recreate the conditions which led to its occurrence. Warm up by singing in the other styles, your lips may respond more readily.

Fine control will take time to develop. The result is a pulsating overtone adding richness to a remote sounding, fluting melody.

Kargyraa – this style relies upon vibrations other than those normally produced by the vocal cords. A low fundamental is used to create a powerful percussive sounds. Harmonics are created in an open mouth as in basic khoomei. Use jaw and lip changes freely. It is easy to combine this with sygyt to create chylandyk.

While able to perform kargyraa, I cannot explain the mechanism used in its production. A tightening of part of the throat is involved as is a push from the diaphragm. [Forcing more air through a restricted passageway would accelerate it and may act to overload the vocal cords, changing their vibration frequency?] As my singing practice continues I realize that an ability to relax the lower portions of the throat allows surfaces deeper in the chest to resonate and enhance tonal quality. Sygyt singing is a very good warm up for kargyraa.

Kargyraa may be learned by “huffing” air forcefully at the lowest pitch you can create, or at some level below that recognizable note. In time you should feel a regular percussive movement. When you find that you can engage that “motor”, rise the pitch until clear overtones emerge. The amount of expelled air needed to sing passages of length may seem daunting at first. With practice you will expend less breath in generating desired sounds and can sing for longer periods. Achieving the correct throat movement is the more difficult aspect of kargyraa. As I shift from a normally sung vowel into this movement, I tighten my throat and stomach slightly, As I go from khoomei to kargyraa, I open the upper throat.

Dairy products should be avoided before singing as they create mucous in the throat. Milk chocolate seems to be especially effective at this.

As mentioned above, the new sensations your throat will experience was you initially try throat-singing will likely bring on coughing; it tickles. Until your throat becomes accustomed to this you should not push too rapidly. Do only a little each day. Throat-singing is good for your voice, sustained coughing is not.

Fall 2002 Meeting Notes


Friday, November 1, 2002
Saturday, November 2, 2002
Exploratorium/San Francisco State
Local Host: Jim Lockhart

Friday Workshops (at the Exploratorium)

“New Teacher Workshop”Paul Robinson, Lonnie Grimes, Dan Burns and Dean Bairdpresented this workshop to an appreciative group of about 20 new and veteran teachers.

“Amusement Park Physics”

Clarence Bakken presented this PTRA workshop to a group of approximately 12 teachers.

Friday Evening Social at the Exploratorium

5:00 – 7:30 The Exploratorium was open for physics teachers and their families to enjoy from about 5:15 until the talks started at 7:30.

NCNAAPT thanks PASCO Scientific for sponsoring the refreshments that we had at the Friday social. Their continuing support is appreciated by the entire section.

7:30 – 8:15 Paul Doherty, Show and Tell

Paul presented several demonstrations, many using magnetic phenomena. The section recognized Paul for his ongoing support of science teachers through Exploratorium Teacher Institutes.

8:15 – 9:00 The Physics Chanteuse

Lynda Williams, physics instructor at Santa Rosa Community College, presented a number of songs she has developed to teach and/or honor famous scientists.

Paul Doherty demonstrates dominoes that grow exponentially in size. Lynda Williams bursts into song at the Exploratorium.


SATURDAY, November 2, 2002

Morning Session, Science Building 101, San Francisco State University

9:00 Show & Tell – Contact the presenters for additional information

Dave Wall, CCSF, ret.
A very large capacitorAndi Erzberger, LBNL
QuarkNet and Cosmology projectsCheuk Chau, Chico State
Modification of a heat absorber experimentDon Rathjen, Exploratorium
Plans for a vibrating “bug” with uses in a classroom

Clarence Bakken, Gunn H.S., ret.
Two toys – constant speed car modification and air rocket data gathered using a Force Plate

David Kagan, Chico State
Job opening at CSU Chico

Dan Burns, Los Gatos H.S.
Kick Dis, a small hover puck for use in demos and labs

James Dann, St. Ignatius College Prep
E/M metal rod launcher

Sue Lee, Chico State
An electromagnetic igniter for flash bulbs

Lewis Epstein, Insight Press
Mystery of the behavior of falling maple seeds

Ann Hanks, American River College
Pattern of vibration for a meter stick held over edge of table

Chuck Hunt, American River College
Method of showing Brownian Motion w/o expensive apparatus

Scott Perry, American River College
Showed a “lifter”, an asymmetric capacitor that lifts off from the table

Kris Wedding, CSUH
Two demonstrations – glowing filament and falling candle

Dean Baird, Rio Americano H.S.
Rotational mystery batons – PVC and all

Mike Ugawa, St. Ignatius College Prep
Vibrating (and breaking) glass plates

10:00 Invited Talk “Detecting Earths”
Debra Fischer, UC Berkeley,

We learned about the nature and number of planets that have been discovered in recent years. This was an awesome presentation and appreciated by all who attended.

11:00 Invited Talk “The Forgotten Fundamental”
Al Bartlett, Professor Emeritus, University of Colorado at Boulder,

Dr. Bartlett stimulated us as he applied the basic mathematics of exponential growth to daily life situations such as resource use and population growth. The predictions lead to consequences that are very critical for everyone. Some of Dr. Bartlett’s ideas have been captured on

Debra Fischer, pursuer of “Earth’s” beyond our solar system, enthralls the audience. Dr. Bartlett gives NCNAAPT the straight scoop on exponential growth.

1:30 Raffle/Business Meeting

Elections were held for three offices that have been vacant since last spring. (Elections weren’t held at Cal Poly due to lack of quorum.) The new officer slate is listed online.

  • Secretary: Joe Tenn, Sonoma State
  • Vice President for Colleges and Universities: Mike Barnett, LBNL
  • Vice President for High Schools: Clarence Bakken, Gunn H.S.


Contributed Papers (Concurrent Sessions)
Contact the presenters for additional information
Click here for original program descriptions
Session A
Session B
1:45 Exploring the Invisible Universe
Lynn Cominsky, Tim Graves and Sarah Silva, Sonoma State UniversityTo see the Education and Public Outreach Programs at Sonoma State University, go to http://epo.sonoma.eduTo request NASA materials from any of our projects, please send mail to:
1:45 Teaching Biomolecular Electronics and Biophotonics at college level: Is it possible?
Enrique W. Izaguirre, Sonoma State University
2:00 “Humidity and the COR of Baseballs”
David Kagan and Dave Atkinson, California State University, Chico
2:00 “The Case for Increased Emphasis on Life-Science Applications for Students in Algebra/Trig-Based Physics Courses”
Peter Urone, California State University, Sacramento
2:20 “Model Rockets and Student Trajectory Simulation”
Patti McLain, Jesuit High School
2:20 “LabVIEW in Beginning Labs”
Bob Good, Cal-State Hayward
2:40 “Experimental Designs in the Introductory Physics Laboratory”
Xueli Zou, California State University, Chico
2:40 “Understanding Partially Coherent Light”
Zhigang Chen, San Francisco State University
3:00 ” Analyzing Galileo’s-Ramp Data”
Tim Erickson, EEPS Media
3:00 “Detecting Infrared Light, Herschel’s Experiment in the Classroom”
Dan Burns, Los Gatos High School
3:20 “Application of Video and Online Exercises to the Instruction of Kinematics and the Operation of the Air Table”
Gary Latshaw, Foothill Community College
3:20 “Photoelectric Experiment with Light-Emitting Diodes”
James M. Lockhart, San Francisco State University
3:40 “Research Project as a Final Assessment”
Algis Sodonis, The Urban School of San Francisco
3:40 “Experimental Conic Sections”
Lew Epstein, City College of San Francisco, and Wally Downs
4:00 “CPS Course Response System in Introductory Physics Courses”
Susan Lea, San Francisco State University
4:00 “Simple Physics Uses of the Macintosh Graphing Calculator”
Arnold F. McKinley, The Marin Science and Math Support Center
4:20 “Tuvan Throat Singing and You”
Damon Jansen, Newark Memorial High SchoolNotes from this talk.
4:20 “Is Pressure Really Lower in a Moving Fluid?”
Evan Jones, retired, Sierra College
4:40 “Lowell saw the canals on Mars, why can’t NASA?”
Phil Gash, CA State University, Chico
4:40 “High Voltage Junk”
Dave Wall, City College of San Francisco, and Mike Kan
5:00 “Integrating Modern Topics and Dark Energy”
James Dann, St. Ignatius
5:00 “Taking Data Collection to the Next Level”
Clarence Bakken, retired, Gunn High School

Upcoming Events

  • Winter Meeting, AAPT, January, 11-15, 2003, Austin, Texas
  • Spring Meeting, NCNAAPT, Sonoma State University, April 4-5th, 2003
  • Summer Meeting, AAPT, August 2-6, 2003, Madison, Wisconsin
  • Fall Meeting, NCNAAPT, Lawrence Berkeley Labs, Berkeley, November 14-15, 2003 (Joint meeting with APS)
  • Winter Meeting, AAPT, January 24-28, 2004, Miami Beach, Florida
  • Summer Meeting, AAPT, July 31-Aug 3, 2004, Sacramento, CA


Updated 11/10/02