Help with odd lab equipment

I co-facilitated a physics teacher professional development week here at Hamline a few weeks ago. It was really great talking and working with so many physics teachers! One of the things that came up was the need to help identify weird/old/crazy lab equipment that the teachers tended to inherit when they started new jobs. I thought of how my friend Rhett Allain had a few posts asking people to identify such objects and I realized that we could make a web site where anyone could upload a picture and rough description and hope that others could help them out.

Well, tonight, I have that web page working! I realized that the Physics Problem Database that a few of us connected with the Global Physics Department are building had exactly the infrastructure we needed:

  • Ability to upload pictures – check
  • Ability to add descriptions – check
  • Ability to seek comments/questions – check
  • Ability for others to provide solutions – check

So even though the web site was originally designed (and works!) to let teachers share and collaborate on physics problem sets that they can give their students, it also works quite well for this problem.

I hope people find it useful. Unfortunately I don’t have any pics in there yet, but, hopefully, it’ll take off. I ran out of time tonight to add an rss feed for it, but I’ll get that done in the next week or so.

Enjoy! And please let me know if you think of a way to improve it.

Some minor details: You can view that page without logging in. However, to provide comments or solutions, you’ll need to log in. Anyone is welcome and you’re logged in as soon as you fill out the form (no waiting for approval). One of the details we haven’t fixed yet is to redirect you back to the page you were looking for. Instead, after logging in (or registering), you’re taken to the home page. To find the equipment page again, just reload the link above, or hit the “equipment” icon in the left navigation bar.

P.S. Here’s a link to a video of the physics teachers tossing bowling balls in slow motion.

About Andy Rundquist

Professor of physics at Hamline University in St. Paul, MN
This entry was posted in glodal physics department, lab, physics, physics problem db. Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Help with odd lab equipment

  1. LabGuy says:

    This is an interesting idea, and concept, but I think it has already been adapted into a fully functional social community/network for lab professionals called LabWrench.

    See for yourself here:

    • Andy "SuperFly" Rundquist says:

      Cool, though it’s too bad you can’t upload pictures. Also, Pasco and Vernier are not in the list of manufacturers, which is weird for physics teachers. On the other hand, it seems to be well maintained and comprehensive. Thanks for the link!

  2. BMI Surplus says:

    Labwrench does seem to be the same concept. However, i think your site is better because it’s simple and there are pictures. I did check out the website you did and I thought I would mention the pictures are really slow to load. You might want to consider making them a little smaller so they load faster. The site looks good tho!

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