Physics is all around us and the sites listed here do a great job in showing
the relevance of what we are learning in class to other situations.
Still trying to get a feel for metric units? Want to know how to
convert pints into liters? Sounds like you need the table of common
equivalent weights & measures. NIST also has a searchable
of fundamental constants- a very handy reference for the future.
Also, I've collected a few tables of typical values
of mass, speed, etc. expressed in SI units.
wasn't "discovered" until 1897! The history
of the groundbreaking experiments can be found at the American Institute
of Physics. The Institute of Physics also has a nice exhibit on
of the electron and JJ
Millikan was the first to show that electrical charge was quantized.
By balancing the forces (gravity, air drag and electrical) on an oil drop,
he was able to show that drops always carried a charge that was an integral
multiple of 1.6 x 10-19C.
is one of nature's most impressive electrical demonstrations. Here
are a few sites that discuss various aspects of lightning
Stuff Works also has an article on Van
de Graaff generators (including ideas on how to build your own).
Franklin was one of the early pioneers in the field of elctricity. He
conducted many experiments, including one where he tried to kill a turkey
by electrocuting it. Unfortunately, he
nearly killed himself with the large shcock.
& Magnetism related material
where one sees (or at least feels) electrical impulses is in our nerves.
While the process is definitely related to charges, poential and the like,
it is more complicated than an electron moving down a wire. We can imagine
current in a wire as if it was a fluid moving through a pipe. In the nerves
the charges actually move in and out of the cell, rather along the length
of the cell (in the direction of the signal). The better analogy is a
pulse travelling down a string. If you want more details of this facinating
process, look at the discussion
of action potentials given by David Atkins.
are some of the most beautiful examples of magnetic forces acting on charged
particles. Jan Curtis has a fantastic of aurora
photos. Should you be making a trip to Alaska soon, you might want
to check out the aurora
forcast page. The Exploratorium has a nice site explaining the science
Interference can be seen
in many animals, including the peacock
and morpho butterfly.
Einstein is definitely the heavyweight of relativity. Why not read
his 1920 book Relativity: The
Special and General Theory? Both AIP
and NOVA have nice
sites on Albert Einstein. Here's a page that has many Einstein
There is FAQ
out there for everything, so why not relativity?
experiment was an impressive in its simplicity and incredibly precise
results. This really ended the debate ether and the propagation
Subatomic particles give us
some of the best evidence that special relativity is correct.
If you want to tackle the relativity problems graphically, you can print
out the following PDF
files (each is given by the b of the moving
This will allow you to transform
from one coordinate system to another, where one is moving at a speed
v relative to the other (b=
v/c). This isn't as precise as the Lorentz transformation equations, but
it can help to give you a qualitative feel for what is going on.
One of the equations studied in this unit is the incredibly famous E=mc2.
Listen to Einstein
discuss this equation.
is in the process of getting ready to launch a
new satellite this spring which will attempt to measure effects that
Einstein predicted in his Theory of General Relativity. Gravity
Probe B will look for tiny changes in the direction of spin of four
gyroscopes. These changes will give scientisits an idea how space and
time are warped by the presence of the Earth, and, more profoundly, how
the Earth's rotation drags space-time around with it.
researchers were able to reduce
the gravitational energies of a system of neutrons to such a small number
that they became comparable to the quantum energy levels. They looked
at the motion of neutrons with kinetic energies around 5 x 10-26
J (very cold neutrons). The expected, and eventually observed energy
levels/ quantas occured around 10-31 Joules. The
quantization of gravity was clearly seen in the projectile motion of neutrons!
If you're interested in learning
more about the physicists who have helped make great advances in electricity
and magnetism, then you might want to look at Leonard Taylor's history
For some nice ideas
on the role of science
& skepticism, you might want to read the editorial by Jame Trefil
that appeared in a recent APS News.
Department has a few pages that may be of interest to 101 students.
There are pages designed to help
students answer the important questions in life, such as "What I can
do with a physics degree?" Or, "Where can I intern?" Other
pages talk about the latest
in the world of physics (everything from research to limericks).
The Learning Resource Center is
a great place for students to find some tutoring and assistance.
The LRC offers physics, math, and chemistry group tutoring. They
have even prepared a "how
to solve word problems" tip sheet. In addition to course based
tutoring, LRC also offers workshops
on how to study, how to prepare for tests and studying to the MCAT, LSAT
Society of Physics Students! Okay, it's easier to say- SPS!
Come meet other students who enjoy science, hear guest speakers (often
your fellow students), and eat some snacks.