Northern California/Nevada Section

Fall Meeting 2000 - CSU Chico
November 3-4, 2000

The Fall Meeting of the Northern California and Nevada Section was held at the California State University campus at Chico. Our host, Chris Gaffney, with the help of David Kagan, ensured that all attending members had an enjoyable and productive meeting. On Friday afternoon a workshop was held in a state-of-the-art wireless iMac lab. Randy Miller helped participants learn how to create models of clogged sinks and bungee jumpers using the software program STELLA. About two dozen members arrived early for the Friday evening gathering at the brand new Sierra Nevada Brewery. A tour of this impressive facility was followed by dinner and brews in the adjacent restaurant.

To prepare for a full schedule on Saturday, about 70 members filled up on bagels and coffee before the start of the popular Show and Tell session. Highlights included a film of Joe Manildi encountering a towering Tesla Coil dressed in a tin man suit and Scott Perry demonstrating a 15 pendulum Mach's Wellung (sic) Machine that appeared to have a life of its own. During the remainder of the morning, members were treated to fascinating invited talks. Steve Browning of Spectra Physics described his company's efforts to capture a share of the burgeoning fiber optics communication industry. Randy Miller followed with an in depth look at Chico State's elective science classes using the modeling software STELLA. Participants were directed to the company's web site to download a STELLA player that could run the numerous models found at

Participants filed out to nearby restaurants for lunch and still had time to tour the Chico planetarium courtesy of Lynda Klein. After a brief business meeting valuable prizes including a virtually indestructible dynamics cart from PASCO and generous gift certificates from Vernier were raffled off to lucky attendees. In the afternoon two concurrent paper sessions were held along with Paul Robinson's popular New Teacher Workshop. Highlights included Lew Epstein's Hot Air (his title, not mine), and Brian Willard describing his introductory physics activity, "Cartooning Around with Vector Thingies". CSU Chico's own Cheuk Chau explained his use of home made popguns to study gas laws.

The next section meeting will be held at Lawrence Berkeley Labs on 3/30 and 3/31/2001. For more information about the next meeting or candid photos from this one, visit our main web site at


Uploaded 12/8/2000