Associate professor of physics at Hamline.

## Creating supplemental texts

I’m nearing the end of a semester where, for one class, there was no official text. That’s going decently well, though I’ll likely have more to say about that in another post. What I want to talk about here are … Continue reading

Posted in mathematica, syllabus creation, teaching | 17 Comments

## Rigid body outline

I’m about to teach the dynamics of rigid bodies in my theoretical mechanics class, and I wanted to get down my plan. I developed and used this first a couple years ago, and I think I’m not going to change … Continue reading

## Planck challenge

I was giving an oral exam today in Modern Physics, and I was inspired to write this post. A student was up front doing this standard: “I can compare and contrast the Rayleigh Jeans and Planck approaches to Blackbody radiation.” … Continue reading

Posted in physics, teaching | 2 Comments

## Wait! It’s still interesting

A lot of the standards I have in my standards-based grading classes start with “I can do an interesting problem involving . . .” As a class we define “interesting” to mean lots of things, including that it hasn’t been … Continue reading

Posted in physics, sbar, sbg, teaching | 6 Comments

## Imaginary quantum physics

A couple of years ago I wrote about some things I was thinking about regarding the use of complex numbers in quantum mechanics. This past week I got to refer to that post to my Modern Physics students, and this … Continue reading

Posted in physics, teaching | 1 Comment

## Lagrange multipliers

This is a post that builds on my previous notes about the calculus of variations. This week I’m going to teach about modeling constraint forces using the Lagrangian approach, and I wanted to put these notes down for my current … Continue reading

## Rubik’s cube test development

This week I was inspired by this intriguing post by my friend Ian Beatty. He talks about what it might be like to use a test-driven development process for teaching. Here’s the short version of what I got from that: … Continue reading

Posted in fun, physics, physics problem db, teaching | 8 Comments

## Good week

I really enjoyed teaching this past week, and I thought I should get down what happened to cheer me up for those weeks to come that might not go as well. Brachistochrone The calculus of variations stuff that I did … Continue reading

Posted in physics, teaching | 1 Comment

## Brachistochrone approach

Brachistochrone: The shape of the fastest slide between two points. The Brachistochrone problem is one of the first and most important examples of the calculus of variations. It’s nearly required in any Theoretical or Classical Mechanics class for physics majors. … Continue reading

Posted in physics, teaching, Uncategorized | 7 Comments

## Snails on a triangle

This post got its spark when I read this These challenging physics problems found by @MrHonner are awesome. mrhonner.com/2013/01/24/cha…— John Burk (@occam98) January 30, 2013 John had also mentioned the list in last week’s Global Physics Department meeting, and I … Continue reading

Posted in math, mathematica, teaching | 3 Comments