Friday, November 3
Saturday, November 4


California State University, Chico
Chico, California

Local Host: Chris Gaffney
(530) 898-6724


By popular demand, there will be a special workshop Saturday afternoon for teachers new to physics teaching and/or AAPT. Experienced teachers eager to share tricks of the trade will host the workshop. Although, pre-registration is not required, please email Paul Robinson at laserpablo@aol.com today!



Do you have anything you would like to share with a new physics teacher? Bring duplicate books, working items of demonstration or lab equipment; teaching ideas, worksheets, or tests (20 copies if possible) or anything else you wish you knew about when you started teaching. Trade your donated items for raffle tickets when you register.



Registration fee for this meeting will be $10. Registration is waived for first-time attendees and students.

 FRIDAY November 3, 2000

~ Friday Workshops ~

"STELLA" Workshop (12 to 4 pm)

Saturday's Keynote speaker Randy Miller will conduct a workshop using the STELLA software program. Participants will learn how high school and college students can use STELLA to easily create "SimEarth" style numerical models that can be used to investigate phenomena complex phenomena like global warming. The workshop is free but space is limited. Email Chris Gaffney at cgaffney@csuchico.edu for more information or to register for this workshop.


The New Teacher Workshop originally scheduled for Friday afternoon has been re-scheduled for Saturday afternoon. The consistent feedback from previous workshops is that it should be longer and not conflict with the contributed papers&endash;a veritable vexing dilemma for the program chairman! Therefore, the officers decided to try to schedule the workshop the Friday afternoon before the regular Saturday meeting. However, they anticipated it might be difficult for "new teachers" (or any teacher, for that matter!) to get a release day to attend&endash;and it turns out we were right. However, the New Teacher Workshop will be scheduled on Friday afternoon at the Spring Meeting in Berkeley, so please spread the word and make plans now! Letters of support, if helpful in getting released, will be sent to principals/administrators upon request.

~ Friday Evening Social ~

Sierra Nevada Tap Room, 1075 E. 20th, Street, Chico
Dinner Reservations: (530) 345-2739
Brewery Tour: 4:30 pm Talk: ~7 pm

"Making the Leap from Microbrewing to Nanobrewing"

Michael McGie, California State University, Chico

Methods of nanobrewing, also known as home brewing, will be discussed. Topics will include malting, selection of commercial malts, selection and treatment of hops, and equipment needed. Preliminary results on searching for the quantum limit in brewing will also be presented.

Directions to the Brewery:

Exit Hwy. 99 at 20th Street Follow E. 20th St. westward for ~1/4 mile; The Sierra Nevada Tap Room is on left. We have scheduled the tour from 4:30- 5:30 on Friday. The restaurant is popular, so reservations for a sit-down dinner are advised (530) 345-2739. The beer talk will commence at ~7:00 pm.

SATURDAY, November 4


Morning Session, Ayres 120

7:45 Registration, Coffee, Donuts, and other culinary delights. PS 108

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 100 copies. Time limit is 5 minutes per person.

10:00 Invited Talk

"Spectra-Physics and Telecommunications"

Steve Browning, Spectra-Physics, sbrowning@splasers.com

The ease of finding information has spawned an explosion in the use of the Internet. Optical fiber communications represents the enabling technology that can prevent the web from choking on the traffic demand. This presentation will give a brief look at some aspects of the technology and how Spectra-Physics uses it to participate in this exciting market.

10:45 - 11:00 Break

11:00 Invited Talk

"Global Warming as a Context for Introducing Dynamic Modeling and Fundamental Concepts in Physics and Chemistry"

Randy M. Miller, California State University, Chico rmmiller@csuchico.edu

Global warming provides the backdrop for the introduction of dynamic modeling and some fundamental principles in physics and chemistry. Several lab activities have been designed in which students verify the Stefan-Boltzmann Law and measure the reflectivity (albedo), density and specific heat capacity of water and other materials like sand or soil that make up the surface of the earth. The results of these measurements are incorporated into a dynamic model of the temperature of the earth's surface developed using STELLA. The model is extremely simple, but does enable students to simulate the influence of the absorption of solar radiation and the composition of the earth's surface on surface temperature. The activity is designed so that students see the importance of some of the physical properties of substances on a bigger and perhaps more interesting problem like global warming.

11:45 - 1:30 LUNCH: On Your Own

12:00 - 12:30 Planetarium Show

Roth Planetarium (a 5-minute walk)

Lynda Klein, California State University, Chico lynda@cosmogon.net

The Roth planetarium will be open during the lunch hour on Saturday. Your host, Lynda Klein, will provide a guided tour through the seasonal constellations with an introduction to celestial coordinates, and a unique visit to exotic places in the solar system including Saturn's atmosphere and Jupiter's magnetosphere.

1:30 Raffle/Business Meeting PS 108

2:00 New Teacher/New to AAPT Workshop PS 105

This workshop is intended for teachers who are either new to teaching physics and/or those who have been at it for a while but still feel like they’re new! All new teachers will be networked with experienced teachers with either phone and/or email addresses. Valuable teaching tips goodie bags raffles where everyone wins question and answer panel, popcorn, and more!

Contributed Papers - Session A

Contributed Papers - Session B

SESSION A, Ayers 120

2:00 "Advanced Undergraduate Laboratory Videos and CD’s"

Sumner Davis, Bruce Birkett, Don Orlando,UC Berkeley, spdavis@physics.berkeley.edu

Our advanced undergraduate laboratory is a bridge between lower division "show and tell" laboratory exercises and graduate research. Few undergraduates are prepared to do extra reading and correlation of classroom work with laboratory research. We aim to teach these skills. We have 20 experiments from which to choose, ranging from the Balmer series to the Josephson effect. In preparation the student must watch a half-hour video, read some of the references given, and then consult an instructor for a discussion of preliminary questions posed on the laboratory handouts. We also have a more general lecture series, covering such topics as Energy Levels, Light Sources and Detectors, Radiation Safety, and Error


2:30 "Using the Doppler Shift to Measure Speed"

Tom Bensky, California State University, Hayward tbensky@bay.csuhayward.edu

The speed of a moving object can be measured using the Doppler effect. This particular apparatus employs a Windows-based computer and sound card capable of measuring the Doppler shift of reflected sound from a moving source. This approach allows the direct acquisition of Doppler shifted sound intensity as a function of time. The data can then be analyzed in a variety of ways that are pedagogically effective. Additionally data can be used to study not only for a constant velocity sound source, but for accelerated sources as well.


3:00 "When Does a Trapped Air Bubble Act like a Massless/Incompressible Fluid?"

Chris Gaffney, California State University, Chico cgaffney@csuchico.edu

At the Stanford regional AAPT meeting it was demonstrated that a trapped air bubble would cause the surfaces at the ends of a water-filled hose to reach different heights. In this talk I present two aspects of this situation: 1) a method of "constructing" the bubble so that the resulting height difference can be immediately predicted and, 2) an analysis of the situation when either water is added to a hose end or one tube end is raised with respect to the other. This simple experiment and analysis is quite suitable for both high school and college students. It provides a simple example of the utility of natural length scales for separating regimes of behavior, including one in which the bubble acts like a massless/incompressible fluid.


3:30 "Hot Air"

Lewis Epstein, City College of San Francisco (retired) (415) 826-3488

Physics teachers can almost see the individual molecules of air bouncing around inside of a room. Some of the molecules are hotter than the average {hotter = faster} and some are cooler {cooler = slower} than the average. The hot molecules tend to migrate towards the top of the room, TRUE or FALSE?


4:00 "Pop Gun&emdash;&emdash;A Study of the Ideal Gas Law"

Cheuk Chau, California State University, Chico ckchau@csuchico.edu

The pop gun is an interesting toy, which may be used effectively in physics demonstrations. We use it to illustrate principles of sound waves and the ideal gas law in thermodynamics. In this presentation, we will show pressure and volume measurements of air inside a pop gun and the analysis of these data based on the ideal gas law.

SESSION B, Ayers 106

2:00 "Developing and Using Experiment-Problems"

Xueli Zou (xzou@csuchico.edu ) and Greg Johnson (gregjohnson@pobox.com), California State University, Chico

At Chico we are developing experiment problems for our calculus-based introductory mechanics lab.* An experiment problem consists of a set of apparatus or toys that can be used to perform some task that is stated as a problem. It is intended to help engineering and science students develop problem-solving skills needed in the workplace. For example, these skills include planning a solution, defining a poorly-defined problem, dividing a complex problem into smaller and simple parts and then reassembling the parts to get the solution, and estimating and evaluating approximations. This talk will illustrate some experiment problems in detail and discuss preliminary assessment results.

*A. Van Heuvelen, "Experiment Problems for Mechanics," Physics Teacher. 33, 176-180 (1995).


2:30 "Two Vision Correction Problems You Won’t Find in Most Textbooks"

Paul Peter Urone, California State University, Sacramento, ppu@csus.edu

One of the more difficult tasks for an optometrist is to correct the vision of a person whose eyes differ significantly in the dioptic power each eye requires to be corrected. The eye-brain system cannot adapt to significantly different magnifications for each eye. Simple classroom exercises can illustrate this problem as well as show that it is less severe for contact lenses compared to eyeglasses. A second problem that can be treated simply is the effect of the tear layer beneath a contact lens acting as a lens itself. Contacts are often fitted with a curvature different from that of the cornea for comfort purposes. In such cases the dioptic power of the tear layer must be taken into account for good vision correction.


3:00 "Simulating the not-so-Simple Pendulum"

Dick Kidd, Diablo Valley College

A computer program will be described that produces accurate real-time data for pendulum motion at any amplitude. It will also be shown that although the small-angle regime is small, it is quite observable.


3:30 "Cartooning Around with Vector Thingies"

Brian Willard, Bishop Quinn High School, schwerkraft@yahoo.com

When the students first encounter vectors, it may not be obvious which quantities have both magnitude and direction. The students take a scene from the popular media or of their own device, and render it as a comic book story board, labeling vectors as they go. Connections will be made to Gardner's MI theory, and to Bloom's Taxonomy.


4:00 "Measuring Earth's Radius the Old Fashioned Way"

Lynda Klein, California State University, Chico lynda@cosmogon.net

Fashioned after the famous experiment performed by Eratosthenes over 2000 years ago, two classrooms and students located at the same latitude and 3400 km apart were able to use sundials and little trigonometry to find the radius of the Earth.


Directions to the Meeting
A map page from the CSU Chico web site which has general directions and driving directions.

From the South: Take Hwy. 99 to E. 1st Ave. Turn left on E. 1st Ave. to the Esplanade. Esplanade will turn into Broadway. Turn right onto W. 2nd Ave. Go 2 or 3 blocks parking will be on the left.

From the North: Take Hwy. 99 to E. 1st Ave. Turn right on E. 1st Ave. to the Esplanade. Esplanade will turn into Broadway. Turn right onto W. 2nd Ave. Go 2-3 blocks parking will be on the left.

From the West: Take Hwy 32 to W. 2nd St. Turn left on W. 2nd St. and go 6 or 7 blocks. Parking will be on right.

Parking: Parking on Friday and Saturday available on the two lots facing 2nd Street between Chestnut and Salem as well as in a parking structure downtown at the corner of 3rd Street and Salem. On Saturday, you can park for free anywhere downtown (which is close to campus).

~ Accommodations ~


The following motels have set aside a limited number of rooms for the meeting. Ask for a "AAPT" discount by stating the appropriate Group Code #.

Oxford Suites

2035 Business Lane
Chico, CA 95928
(530) 899-9090

Group #708
Studio Suite $69/night + tax
Executive Suite $79/night + tax

All rooms include full breakfast and evening reception. Hotel is close to Sierra Nevada Brewery, just off Hwy. 99. Need to book room by October 20, 2000.

Directions: Exit Hwy. 99 at 20th St. Travel east on 20th St. a few hundred yards to Business Lane. Turn right and follow to Oxford Suites.

Heritage Inn Express (Best Western)

725 Broadway
Chico, CA 95928
(530) 343-4527

Group #1134BAP
2 Queen/2 person room $59.50/night + tax
2 person suite $80/night + tax

Walking distance to campus (7 blocks). Need to book room by October 24, 2000. One advantage of the Heritage Inn Express is that it’s a 5-block walk to campus.

Directions: Exit Hwy. 99 at the Hwy. 32 exit. Travel west on 32 (8th St.) into downtown Chico until you reach Broadway. The Inn will be on your right just before Broadway.

~ Upcoming Events ~
SCIPP Workshop (UCSC)

October 28, 2000
Santa Cruz

2001 Winter Meeting AAPT, Joint with AAS

January 6-11, 2001
San Diego, CA

2001 Spring Meeting, NCN AAPT

March 30-31, 2001
Lawrence Berkeley Labs

2001 Summer Meeting AAPT

July 21-25, 2001
Rochester, NY

Updated 10/16/2000
Maps to follow soon