- Geoff Dougherty recommends the Fulbright faculty exchange program on page 947 of the November 2012 issue of the American Journal of Physics. Do stars twinkle when viewed from Mars? Find out at the end of the article on page 980 of the same issue. I also appreciated the detailed book review of Mark Levi’s (nb: not Mark Live’s) book “Why Cats Land on Their Feet” on page 1112 of the December 2012 issue of AJP, together with an online link to a further list of comments on the book. I was amused by the explanation of why bubbles sink in stout beer glasses on page 88 of the February 2013 issue. (It has to do with the tilt of the sides of the glass relative to the vertical, but I think it’s just an excuse to go out drinking.) Jeroen Spandaw shows that the principle of least action can be tricky to apply correctly on page 144 of the same issue: one needs to start with boundary values (two different fixed values of y) rather than initial conditions (values of y0 and u0).
- Rod Cross’s measurements of the viscoelastic properties of Silly Putty on page 527 of the December 2012 issue of The Physics Teacher motivated me to summarize the analysis in more detail. I was also intrigued by Göran Grimvall’s brief discussion on page 530 of the same issue about presenting an unlabeled graph and several possible captions to students and asking them to figure out which is the only correct match. Finally, the article by Hester and Burris on page 534 shows that it is possible to derive the rocket thrust equation from Newton’s second law if one is careful about choice of system, and Craig Bohren discusses cooling rates of humans in air and in water on page 560. In the January 2013 issue, you might be interested in the analysis of Baumgartner’s supersonic balloon jump on page 14, the surprising longitudinal momentum imparted to air flow in the near-field of a sinusoidally driven loudspeaker on page 16, the question of whether a thin or a thick fuse connected in parallel across the same potential difference would burn out first on page 38, a lovely brief derivation for maximum range of a projectile fired off a tabletop on page 52 (I recommend having your students unpack some of the missing intermediate steps), and a wonderful Physics Challenge Problem on page 56 involving two Carnot refrigerators running in a tent.
- Two identical balloons are filled, one with air and the other with helium, with their ends held pinched closed and then released together from rest. Which balloon will deflate most quickly? Which balloon will fly higher? How will they sound different as the gases escape? The key is the difference in their average molecular masses, as you can read about on pages 782 and 783 of the November 2012 issue of Physics Education. The journal can be accessed from the IOPScience website.
- Nature has reviewed the year 2012 in science. In particular, don’t miss the interactive guide through key numbers and a summary of the year in review for science.
- Usually I don’t reference myself, but just for fun, you might read what the Chief of Naval Research said in Wired magazine about laser weapons and then read my related brief remarks in the local Annapolis newspaper.
Disclaimer - The articles and opinion pieces found in this issue of the APS Forum on Education Newsletter are not peer refereed and represent solely the views of the authors and not necessarily the views of the APS.