related links

             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.

Electricity Unit
Current and Magnetism Unit
Optics Unit Modern Physics Unit


Electricity related material
           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 table 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.

       The electron 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 the history of the electron and JJ Thomson's experiments.
       Robert 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.

          Lightning is one of nature's most impressive electrical demonstrations.  Here are a few sites that discuss various aspects of lightning

        How Stuff Works also has an article on Van de Graaff generators (including ideas on how to build your own).
         Ben 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.


Current & Magnetism related material
       One place 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.
        Auroras 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 of auroras.
Optics material
        Interference can be seen in many animals, including the peacock and morpho butterfly.

Modern Physics material
         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 links.
          There is FAQ out there for everything, so why not relativity?

         The Michelson-Morley experiment was an impressive in its simplicity and incredibly precise results.  This really ended the debate ether and the propagation of light.

         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 frame):


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.
       NASA 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.

        Recently, 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!  


Other material
        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 of EM

         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.
        The Physics 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 or GRE.

           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.