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. ----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- 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 firstname.lastname@example.org “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 email@example.com “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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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 email@example.com “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 firstname.lastname@example.org “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 email@example.com “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.