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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 fun ction 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 high ly 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.