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					                                                   MAAPT
                                             SPRING MEETING 2004
                                APRIL 24, COLLEGE OF ST. BENEDICT, ST. JOSEPH

 This MAAPT meeting will be held in Room 142 Ardolf Science Center, College of St. Benedict, St. Joseph
Minnesota. The campus is about 5 miles east of St. John’s University, where the Minnesota Academy of Sciences
meeting will be held. The Ardolf Science Center is building AA on the Campus map. Lunch will be available in the
Haehn Campus Center, building T on the Campus map. Parking lot #5 will place visitors halfway between the
science building and the Haehn Campus Center. Please see Directions to CSB for directions.

There is a Super 8 Motel in St. Joseph on County Hwy 75 east of College Avenue:
320-363-7711.
Other accommodations are available in St. Cloud near Division Street. See Link to Central MN area for a more
complete listing.
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                                                          MAAPT PROGRAM

8:00 am - 8:30 am:             Coffee and Registration

8:30 am – 9:00 am:             On the Constancy of the Gravitational Constant
                               Steven T. Ratliff, Northwestern College

9:00 – 9:30 am:                Physics as a Second Language
                               Miranda C. Pihlaja, Bethel College
                               Sponsored by Richard Peterson

9:30 am – 10:00 am:            Using computers as interactive problem-solving coaches
                               Leon Hsu and Ken Heller, University of Minnesota

10:00 – 10:30 am:              Fluid-structure interactions for a flapping filament in a steadily flowing soap
                               film
                               Keith R. Stein, Christopher J. Stelter, and Erik M. Leigh, Bethel College

10: 30 – 11:30 am :            Coffee Break and Poster Session

                               Characterization of SiO Maser Features Using an Autocorrelation Function
                               William Cox, University of Minnesota Morris
                               Sponsored by Gordon McIntosh

                               Magmatic Resurfacing on Venus
                               C. P. Orth and C. C. Reese, University of Minnesota Morris
                               Sponsored by Gordon McIntosh

11:30 – 12:00 pm:              Light Scattering Optical Demonstration Chamber
                               Ryan Johnson, Minnesota State University, Moorhead
                               Sponsored by Matthew Craig

12:00 – 12:30 pm:              An Animated Version on the Two-Tracks Demonstration
                               Thomas C. Thaden-Koch, University of Minnesota

12:30 – 12:40 pm:              An Update on Efforts to Build a New Minnesota Planetarium
                               Parke W. Kunkle, President, Minnesota Planetarium Society

12:45 – 1:45 pm:               Lunch and Business Meeting/Election of MAAPT Officers
                                     MAAPT PROGRAM ABSTRACTS
                                         SPRING MEETING 2004
                            APRIL 24, COLLEGE OF ST. BENEDICT, ST. JOSEPH

Steven T. Ratliff, Northwestern College
STRatliff@nwc.edu
“On the Constancy of the Gravitational Constant”
         Paul Dirac (1937) was one of the first to suggest that the Gravitational constant (G) might be a function of
         time. At present, the possibility of a G that changes very slowly in time has not yet been ruled out. If
         General Relativity is correct, then G must be constant in time, but there are alternative theories of gravity
         that actually require a time-varying G. In this talk I discuss how G is measured, the implications of a G that
         changes in time, and experiments designed to detect changes in G.

Miranda C. Pihlaja, Bethel College
pihmir@bethel.edu
“Physics as a Second Language”*
         This paper explores the preliminary and retrospective attitudes towards physics of preservice elementary
         education teachers while taking NAS104D, an intensive 7-week physics component of a required science
                                                                                                                    (a)
         sequence for future elementary teachers. The motivation for this study comes largely from previous work
         that attempted to understand the attitude of preservice teachers towards physics and their willingness to
         teach it in their future classrooms. The survey designed for this work probes into the reactions of a class of
         preservice teachers and attempts to measure how their attitudes changed during this hands-on, activity-based
         physics class geared for elementary teachers. The results showed that 70% of those surveyed had a
         significant change in attitude, with 58% of the changes being very substantial. Both the negative initial
         attitude towards physics and the very positive response after the class leads us to conclude that a significant
         fear of physics can be largely overcome by the methods of such a highly interactive class that directly
         engages each future teacher.
         (a)
            Private correspondence from course instructors Jack Netland and Jon Barber, Bethel College. See course
         text, SETUP, Strengthening Elementary Teacher’s Understanding of Physics, by Jack Netland, Jon Barber,
         and Hank Ryan,
         *Sponsored by Richard W. Peterson, Professor of Physics, Bethel College


Leon Hsu and Ken Heller, University of Minnesota
lhsu@umn.edu
“Using computers as interactive problem-solving coaches”
        Computers can play an important role in physics instruction by coaching
        students to develop good problem-solving skills. Building on previous
        research on the teaching of problem solving and on computer-student
        interactions, we are designing computer tutorials that provide students
        with guided practice in solving problems. We will present a prototype of
        such a tutorial along with students reactions to it and discuss some of
        the design issues identified.

Keith R. Stein, Christopher J. Stelter, and Erik M. Leigh, Bethel College
k-stein@bethel.edu
        An experimental apparatus was built to study the periodic
        fluid-structure interaction (FSI) behavior of a light-weight filament in a
        steadily flowing soap film. A piece of thread was inserted in the soap film
        and allowed to interact with the flow. The film flows under the influence of
        gravity, reaching speeds of approximately 3.5 m/s at the thread. Typical
        frequencies for the flapping thread ranged from 20-25 Hz. Detailed
        visualizations of the flow surrounding the flapping filament were obtained along with
         measurements comparing filament length to flapping frequency, and film width
         to frequency. In addition to providing a better understanding on the FSI
         behavior for the flapping filament, these results provide data that can be
         used for validation purposes in ongoing FSI modeling efforts.
         Acknowledgement: This work was supported in part by the MN NASA Space Grant.

William Cox, University of Minnesota Morris
coxx0148@umn.edu
“Characterization of SiO Maser Features Using an Autocorrelation Function”*
        We have been collecting spectra of the SiO maser emission of the stars Mira
        and R Cassiopeia. We intend to examine the line widths of the maser
        features that make up these spectra. Each feature should be described by a
        Gaussian distribution. However, in our spectra individual maser features
        are blended together. This makes it impossible to fit a Gaussian
        distribution to each feature. Thus, we will be using an autocorrelation
        function to characterize the line widths. An autocorrelation function
        provides a measure of how the intensity at one velocity affects the
        intensity at another velocity. This autocorrelation function, being
        derived from a set of Gaussian distributions, should itself be described by
        a Gaussian distribution. Therefore, we will be using the width of these
        autocorrelation functions to characterize the width of the maser features
        found in the spectra.
        *Sponsored by Gordon McIntosh

C. P. Orth and C. C. Reese, University of Minnesota Morris
orth0031@mrs.umn.edu
“Magmatic Resurfacing on Venus”*
        The Venusian impact crater distribution revealed by Magellan radar imaging
        suggests that the surface is approximately uniform in age. Estimates of the
        resurfacing time range from 300 to 1000 million years. One possible
        mechanism for resurfacing is widespread volcanism due to late onset of
        mantle convection beneath an immobile surface. This hypothesis is explored
        using physical models with constraints from observational data to calculate
        thermal evolution scenarios for Venus.
        *Sponsored by Gordon McIntosh

Ryan Johnson, Minnesota State University Moorhead
“Light Scattering Optical Demonstration Chamber”*
         This apparatus is a plexi-glass chamber in which magnetic optical
         mounts can be set up. Laser light shines through the optical elements
         and is scattered with water mist from a humidifier. With traditional
         optics benches, students set up their optics, project an image, and then
         must imagine what is taking place between the optical elements they are
         using. The LSODC shows students exactly what light does when it
         interacts with various optics, making refraction and diffraction
         experiments easier to understand conceptually.
         *Sponsored by Matthew Craig

Thomas C. Thaden-Koch, University of Minnesota
ttkoch@physics.umn.edu
“An Animated Variation on the Two-Tracks Demonstration”
       In the classic two-tracks demonstration, balls race along tracks that begin
       and end at the same heights but differ along the way. Most introductory
       physics students (and many physics faculty!) predict an incorrect race
       outcome. I will present an animated variation (see
        http://groups.physics.umn.edu/physed/People/Tom%20Koch/2_tracks) that seems
        to pit perceptual cues against physical intuition. In this variation,
        students try to identify the animation depicting realistic motion rather
        than predicting the race outcome.

Parke W. Kunkle, President Minnesota Planetarium Society
Parke.Kunkle@minneapolis.edu
“An Update on Efforts to Build a New Minnesota Planetarium”
        The Minneapolis Planetarium is now torn down with no money to build a
        new one. The Minnesota Planetarium Society has formed to help build and
        operate a new Planetarium and Space Discovery Center both at the State
        level and privately. This presentation will briefly describe the vision
        for this facility and update you on current efforts to make this a
        reality.

				
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