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

email: cbakken2001@yahoo.com


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
pauld@exploratorium.edu and donr@exploratorium.edu

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 (lweinmann@pausd.org) 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, ayars@mailaps.org

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, dleadenh@fre.devry.edu

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, p_gash@hotmail.com

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, tim@eeps.com

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, chbks@earthlink.net

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, p_gash@hotmail.com

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

www.motel6.com (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

dkjansen@yahoo.com 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 www.zdnet.com

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

Media on throat singing:

Scientific American article: http://www.sciam.com 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) http://www.genghisblues.com/ 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. http://www.exo.net/~pauld/

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. http://www.scientainment.com/pchant.html

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
wellsb@arc.losrios.edu http://jnaudin.free.fr/

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, fischer@astro.berkeley.edu

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, Albert.Bartlett@colorado.edu

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 fizziker.com.

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: materials@universe.sonoma.edu
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 www.aapt.org
  • Spring Meeting, NCNAAPT, Sonoma State University, April 4-5th, 2003 www.ncnaapt.org
  • Summer Meeting, AAPT, August 2-6, 2003, Madison, Wisconsin www.aapt.org
  • Fall Meeting, NCNAAPT, Lawrence Berkeley Labs, Berkeley, November 14-15, 2003 (Joint meeting with APS) www.ncnaapt.org
  • Winter Meeting, AAPT, January 24-28, 2004, Miami Beach, Florida www.aapt.org
  • Summer Meeting, AAPT, July 31-Aug 3, 2004, Sacramento, CA www.aapt.org


Updated 11/10/02

Fall 2001 Meeting

Friday, October 26, 2001
Saturday, October 27, 2001
[Note: This page is a quickly copied version of our original post, some formatting may be disrupted in the process]
Naval Postgraduate School
Monterey, California

Local Host:Bruce Denardo
(831) 656-2952

Very Important Announcement
Due to the national state of emergency, the Naval Postgraduate School is currently allowing entrance only to employees or to people whose names are on a list at the guard gate. Each person must present a photo ID, which is checked with the person’s face. The guards are armed, and vehicles are randomly searched (this only requires a few minutes).As you show the guard your photo ID, tell him or her that you are here for “the physics teachers conference.”

We plan to have the name of every current and recent past member of the Northern California/Nevada section of AAPT on the list. If you plan to attend the meeting and are not or have not recently been a member of our section, please email your name and the name of your institution to Bruce Denardo (denardo@physics.nps.navy.mil) by 8:00 am on Thursday, Sept. 25. After that time we can’t guarantee your name will be forwarded to the security post.

Consult the map for parking areas. This is not a problem during the weekends or mid-to-late Friday afternoons. (This is the good news.)

Due to the continually changing state of conflict, NPS may be at a higher threat condition at the time of the meeting. In this case, we plan to hold the meeting at the Monterey Conference Center in downtown Monterey. The demonstration workshop and laboratory tours will have to be canceled. All other activities will occur as scheduled. Please check this web site for the latest information.


Note on Parking
Friday Workshops
Teachers are welcome to contact our President, Dave Wall, for a letter of support to assist them in obtaining funds and release time to attend this conference.

“New Teacher Workshop” (10 am – 3 pm) Spanagel 101A

by: Paul Robinson, Lonnie Grimes, Dean Baird

This popular workshop is a day-long version being offered on Friday (instead of Saturday afternoon) so that participants don’t have to miss out on the contributed papers. It 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. The workshop includes valuable teaching tips, goodie bags, raffles where everyone wins, question and answer panels, popcorn, and more! Interested participants should email Paul Robinson at laserpablo@aol.com to register or for more information. If you wish to attend a NTW but can’t make it Friday, email Paul Robinson anyway&endash;&endash;if there are insufficient signups for Friday an abbreviated 2-hour version on Saturday afternoon may be offered instead. No fee.

“Dramatic Physics Lecture Demonstrations” (2:30 – 4:30 pm) Spanagel 117 and 135

by: Bruce Denardo, Scott Davis, Daphne Kapolka,
Gamani Karunasiri, Kevin Smith, and Don Walters

Dramatic and unusual demonstrations will be performed, explained, and discussed. A handout is planned to be distributed. The demonstrations will tentatively include the following. Mechanics: circular/harmonic motion, Coriolis force, Foucault model, giant spool-and-rope, parametric instability, parallel axis theorem. Fluid mechanics: giant vortex bottle, toroidal bubbles, giant hydrostatic balance. Acoustics: acoustic levitation, multipole radiation source, jetting from resonator, shock tube, slappers and clappers, acoustic radiometer, spinning cup, baffled loudspeaker, phase locking. Thermodynamics: liquid nitrogen-water canon. Electricity and magnetism: electromagnetic can crusher, electrostatic screening, terminal velocity due to magnetic damping, giant Tesla coil, electromagnetically coupled oscillators. Optics: infrared camera, balloon microphone, acousto-optic transduction and lightwave transmission, night vision scope. Modern physics:model of fermion antisymmetry for 360o rotation.

Please sign up for the workshop by emailing Bruce Denardo at denardo@physics.nps.navy.mil. There is no fee.

Friday Laboratory Tours
5:10&endash;5:30 pm, Lab Tour, Spanagel 017

“Acoustophoresis and Time-Reversal Acoustics”

Ed Tucholski, Naval Postgraduate School

The Advanced Acoustics Research Laboratory is home to these two research areas. One is on acoustophoresis which is the separation of objects using high intensity sound. Experiments in progress are studying the effect of loud sounds on gas bubbles in water and aerogels in both air and water. An oil-water separation column using bubbles, which are segregated in size using sound, is under construction. The second research area, time&endash;reversal acoustics, takes place in a long water tank, where the technique is used for communications and active submarine detection.


Friday Evening Social
6:30 PM La Novia Room, Herrmann Hall

Libations, munchies, and other delicious treats!


7:10 PM “Quantum Mechanics of Nanotechnology”

James Luscombe, Naval Postgraduate School

Following the historic trend in miniaturizing electronic components, minimum device sizes will reach 100 nanometers in the near future. This size is significant for two reasons. First, as will be explained, in the sub-100 nanometer regime the physical principles upon which conventional electron devices are based will no longer be suitable for device operation. At the same time, quantum effects will come to predominate as device sizes become comparable with electron wavelengths in semiconductors. I will describe progress in developing nanometer-scale quantum-effect electron devices and explain how they can be understood using standard undergraduate quantum physics.

Saturday Schedule
Saturday, Oct 27 (in Mechanical Engineering Auditorium, except for lab tours)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 100 copies. Time limit is 5 minutes per person.

10:00 Invited Talk

“Time-Reversal Acoustics”

Andrés Larraza, Department of Physics, Naval Postgraduate School

Until recently, focusing of acoustic pulses through media with complex propagation properties had been a very difficult problem. As analog-to-digital converters have become faster, a novel technique called time-reversal acoustics has been able to overcome this difficulty. In a common realization, the time-reversal acoustic technique consists of transmitting an acoustic signal from a point-like source, digitizing the analog signal received by a microphone or a hydrophone, time reversing the signal, and retransmitting it from a nearby source. Applications of time-reversal acoustics are numerous and include medical applications (imaging and lithotripsy), nondestructive testing, underwater acoustic communications and sonar, and counter-mine warfare.

11:00 Invited Talk

“Free Electron Lasers of Today”

W. B. Colson, Naval Postgraduate School

Imagine a laser that is continuously tunable over a wide range of frequencies and that can be designed to operate where conventional lasers do not exist. This new kind of laser has already operated at microwave, far infrared, visible, ultraviolet, and even down to X-ray wavelengths. In addition, it can run reliably and efficiently for hours, days, or even weeks with only minor maintenance, producing CW laser light or short sub-picosecond pulses. This is the FREE ELECTRON LASER which contains only the essential ingredients for light amplification by stimulated emission: an external field, the laser light, and free electrons. FELs use a beam of relativistic electrons passing through a periodic, transverse magnetic field to amplify the co-propagating laser light.

12:00-1:00 pm Lunch (on-your-own)

1:00-2:00 Lab Tours

Rail guns lab tour (Adamy and Snyder, Spanagel 011)Acoustic detection of buried mines (Muir, Spanagel 025)

Thermoacoustic heat engines (Hofler, Spanagel 036)

2:00 Raffle/Business Meeting

Contributed Papers
Mechanical EngineeringAuditorium

2:20 “Fusion Technology at Low Temperatures”, Charles Jordan, Foothill College, egonjoe@home.com

There are now refereed papers from SRI and LANL confirming nuclear reactions at low temperatures and I have new results in cavitation driven nuclear fusion processes producing helium in large quantities and 75 watts of extra energy in a light bulb size reactor. I will review the present state of affairs in the investment community and the present understanding of the mechanism.

2:40 “Teaching Physics with Micro Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS)”, Cindy Krysac, Department of Physics, University of the Pacific, krysac@artemis.cop.uop.edu

A small but developing collection of classroom examples and problems using MEMS will be presented as illustrations of the application of thermal, electrical, mechanical, optical and acoustical physics to an advanced, modern technology. Use of these classroom examples engages students in learning about the emerging technology, emphasizing the importance of a fundamental physics education to the development of such technology.

3:00 “Where Does the Plutonium Come From?”

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

238Pu is used as an energy source in deep space probes. While the technique for the manufacture of 239Pu is commonly known, that for 238Pu is not. There are a number of interesting classroom and homework problems as well as student projects related to 238Pu. Among these are the production techniques themselves, the characteristics and uses of 238Pu, and its biological hazards. I will discuss a few of these in some detail and make suggestions for others.

3:20 “The String Machine”, Cheuk K. Chau California State University, Chico, CKCHAU@csuchico.edu

During the Spring 2001 NCNAAPT meeting at Berkeley, Don Rathjen of Exploratorium Teacher Institute demonstrated his amazing string machine. With a motor at each end of a string he generated a one-loop standing like pattern. By pinching the string at certain locations, a two-loop, three-loop and four-loop pattern appeared. Did the string change from one resonance frequency to another instantaneously? In this talk we will demonstrate and present an analysis on the string machine.

3:40 “Putting: The Prequel”, Scott K. Perry, American River College, skparc@home.com

Before golfers can even begin to worry about the Holmesian capture cross-section of the cup in the middle of a putting green, they must first get the ball to the hole. “Reading the break” on a sloping green can be very tricky making the selection of the proper velocity vector difficult. A computer putting simulation will be discussed along with the results of experiments conducted on local practice greens. A discussion of the apparent paradoxical nature of rolling friction will also be presented.

4:00 “Colliding Magnetic Pendula: When is a collision not collision-like?”, David Kagan and Chris Gaffney, California State University, Chico, dkagan@csuchico.edu, cgaffney@csuchico.edu

This talk will review the subtle physics of the Newtonian Demonstrator (five colliding balls suspended from strings) and illustrate the key issues by introducing the MagnaSwing which is a Newtonian Demonstrator made with repeling magnets instead of steel balls.

4:20 “QuarkNet”, Fred Oswald (retired) Napa, NSOH@aol.com

Next summer QuarkNet will be offering a three-week shortened course for twelve new teachers at each site.Generous stipends and $250 equipment funds for the next two years are provided for selected participants. AAPT members are excellent candidates for the program. This “paper” is designed to make physics teachers aware of the program, hopefully recruit new participants for next summer’s classes, and provide an opportunity for last summer’s participating teachers to describe the affect the training has had on their classes.

4:40 “The Anatomy of a Homer”, Paul Robinson, San Mateo High School, laserpablo@aol

Many high schools do a “Bull’s Eye” lab activity in which students predict the horizontal range of a projectile launched from a ramp. I have developed a follow-up activity in which home runs are analyzed as a bull’s eye with a mirror image. Since our study of projectiles is about the same time as the playoffs and World Series, it is easy to capitalize on student interest in baseball. It is an excellent way to discuss trajectories, estimated distances of home runs, air friction, components, maximum heights, etc. in a fun and engaging manner. An analysis of Barry Bonds 73rd homer will be presented as an example.

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. The registration fee for the Fall meeting is $10, payable at the door. First-timers are free!


Regarding the Fall 2001 meeting of NCNAAPT at the Naval Postgraduate School in Monterey, CA, which is on Friday and Saturday, October 26-27:The following is a message from “A Place to Stay,” which is a free room finder service that may help you locate a room in the Monterey area.

Due to the popularity of the Monterey Peninsula as a vacation, conference, and wedding destination, it is highly advised that you consider now making your plans to attend the upcoming meeting of the NCNAAPT at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS). As a general rule, there is a two night minimum stay when a weekend night is involved. We suggest you call and reserve a room early in order to guarantee a place to stay. Most places have a 3-day cancellation policy prior to the arrival date. Keep in mind the variance in rates depend on number of beds in a room, number of people in the room, and whether or not it is a weekday or weekend night. Again, we strongly suggest you book your room early. You may also call A Place To Stay at (800) 364-1867. Our web site is www.carmel-aplacetostay.com.

The following is a list of some names, phone numbers, and a range of rates for motels that are near NPS. More motels are listed on our web site. Some motels have conference rates, particularly those within walking distance of NPS (marked with an asterisk).


*Monterey Fireside Lodge, $89.00 to $129.00
1131 10th St., Monterey, CA
(800) 722-2624*Stage Coach Lodge, $79.00 to $109.00
1111 10th St., Monterey, CA
www.bestvalue.com (click on Monterey, CA, and then Stage Coach Lodge)
(831) 373-3632

*Monterey Bay Lodge, $49.00 to $109.00
55 Camino Aguajito Rd., Monterey, CA
(831) 372-8057

*Monterey Hilton, $159.00 to $189.00
1000 Aguajito Rd., Monterey, CA
(800) 734-5697*Hyatt Regency Monterey, $175.00 & up
Center 1 Golf Course Dr., Monterey, CA
(800) 233-1234Casa Munras Garden Hotel, $129.00 to $184.00
700 Munras Ave., Monterey, CA
(800) 222-2446

San Carlos Inn, $69.00 to $79.00
850 Abrego St., Monterey, CA
(800) 227-6332

Merritt House Inn, $137.50 to $148.50
386 Pacific St., Monterey, CA
(800) 541-5599


*Within walking distance of the Naval Postgraduate School.

Naval Postgraduate School Map in pdf format

Directions to Meeting
Go south on Hwy 1. Immediately after passing the exit for Hwy 68 east to Salinas, take the main (“Central”) Monterey exit, which is posted as that for Fisherman’s Wharf and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It is the only exit with 2 exit lanes, and expands to several more. Get into the lane on the far right. At the first light, make a hairpin turn (180 degrees) onto 10th St. Follow this several blocks to the stop sign at Sloat Ave. Go straight across Sloat to the main NPS gate. There is almost always no guard at the gate. However, if there is, say that you are here for the AAPT conference, and give my name and phone number (below) as a point of contact if necessary.

After passing through the gate, turn immediately left, cross a road, and then turn left into a parking lot. This is very near the Mechanical Engineering Auditorium, where the Saturday morning activities will be held. All activities are within walking distance from this lot. The Friday evening activities will be held in the La Novia room of Herrmann Hall (the historic Del Monte Hotel). The Saturday afternoon activities will be held on the first and basement floors of Spanagel Hall. There are parking lots that are nearer to each of these buildings.

Note on Parking
Parking will be difficult Friday morning. We have lost many parking spaces due to security requirements. I suggest that people attending the new teacher workshop arrive at least 1/2 hour early, and expect to spend some time finding a parking space. I’m sorry about this, but the world has changed.

Parking during mid-afternoon on Friday will be not be difficult.

Bruce Denardo


Updated 10/24/01

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