- Rod Cross has an article in the October 2011 issue of The Physics Teacher concerning what happens to a car when it drives off the end of a ramp. After the front wheels lose contact but the rear wheels have not, the car will begin to rotate downward about its center of mass.This has real-life implications, as a vehicle that drove off the top of a sand dune in Australia landed nose down and then rolled onto its roof, seriously injuring a passenger. Also the September 2011 article about the "magic trick" of a ring falling and getting knotted in a chain reminded me of the demonstration show at the Summer AAPT meeting about the physics of magic.
- A pair of physicists ask “Is the electrostatic force between a point charge and a neutral metallic object always attractive?” in the August 2011 issue of the American Journal of Physics. Of course, they would not ask unless the answer were no, but you will have to read the article yourself for a specific worked-out example.
- I teach at the U.S. Naval Academy. It’s amazing how much the midshipmen love shooting stuff. Read about some video measurements that a student and a military instructor made of a potato bazooka on page 607 of the September 2011 issue of Physics Education. The journal can be accessed at http://iopscience.iop.org/journals.
- The same webpage also gives a link to the European Journal of Physics. The September 2011 issue has lots of interesting articles: how a reverse sprinkler is related to a putt-putt boat and an unclamped garden hose wildly spraying around on page 1213; video evidence on page 1245 that a piece of paper placed on top of a book and dropped with it is not in free fall; a discussion on page 1293 of why it is difficult to ride a real bicycle on top of rollers; and on page 1367, measurements of axle friction for a rotating disk.
- The June 2011 issue of the Latin-American Journal of Physics Education has a paper comparing series and parallel networks of Atwood machines to familiar resistor circuits.
- The July 2011 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education has several interesting pieces: some thermodynamic measurements of cups of water using an infrared camera on page 881; examples of using computer software to calculate propagated errors on page 916; and use of atomic units on page 921.
- The Fall 2010 issue of the International Commission on Physics Education Newsletters leads off with an overview of ComPADRE by Bruce Mason at http://web.phys.ksu.edu/icpe/Newsletters/news.htm.
- Finally, APS’s Spotlight recently highlighted an article entitled “Strongly Modified Spontaneous Emission Rates in Diamond-Structured Photonic Crystals” in Physical Review Letters that succeeds in demonstrating a greater than one order of magnitude reduction in spontaneous emission of quantum dots embedded in a three-dimensional photonic bandgap structure.
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.