Category Archives: physics

Ampère’s law

Tomorrow I’m covering we’re working on Ampere’s law in my calc-based general physics course. In preparation I was looking around at different ways to present it, and I realized that I was getting crabby about most of the presentations I … Continue reading

Posted in physics, syllabus creation | 3 Comments

I hate Kirchhoff’s loop law

Sorry for the incendiary title, but it does express my feelings pretty well. When analyzing DC circuits, students are often encouraged to use the two Kirchhoff’s laws: [sometimes called the node law] all current flowing into a node must flow … Continue reading

Posted in physics, teaching | 11 Comments

String resonance

My friend Will posted a cool animation today: GIF of the forced fixed string envelope showing nodes/antinodes for different k values. Driver on left. — Will Slaton (@wslaton) October 4, 2014 It got me thinking about the lab we … Continue reading

Posted in mathematica, physics, twitter | 6 Comments

Wave equation first

This semester I kick off my general physics 2 course with waves. I really want the early focus to be on what waves are, and, more specifically, what the wave equation means. The reason I want to do this is … Continue reading

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Finding normal modes

Normal mode analysis is a typical topic in junior/senior mechanics courses. Ours suffers from a lack of linear algebra as a prerequisite so I’ve worked to find ways to engage students with this material without that background. My typical approach … Continue reading

Posted in mathematica, physics, teaching | 8 Comments

Relativistic explosions

Earlier this week I got an email from a friend who has been working with his students modeling how momentum works in a situation where two carts start connected and then explode apart. I’m not sure, but I think that … Continue reading

Posted in physics, teaching | 1 Comment

Taking it up a notch: nail beds

About a month ago, I had an extraordinary experience: It was Bill Nye standing on me while I laid on a nail bed. Lots of fun, for sure, and I pointed out to the audience that it was the one … Continue reading

Posted in fun, physics, teaching | 6 Comments