Sunday, January 31, 2010

Artist generates shocking images in current work

Japanese artist Hiroshi Sugimoto uses a Van de Graaff generator to create "images of electricity." Film photographers worry about static electricity; it can scar negatives. Sugimoto shocks film on purpose! He uses a Van de Graaff generator as his static charge source.

Physics teachers derive much fun and pedagogical grooviness out of the VDG. And it is a powerful research instrument in its own right (that was Robert Van de Graaff's intention). Nice to see a visual artist bending the device to his own purposes. Sugimoto shows great potential!

Source: Wired, via Huffington Post.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Check 1: No new RTQs

Given the recent history of RTQ updates coming later and later each year, I didn't necessarily expect to see them updated just yet. But since the RTQ selection process was unencumbered by the recently-dissolved ARP, I nourished a hope that the lack of oversight might result in a streamlined process.

For purposes of speculation, recall the RTQ update post dates over the past four years:
January 9, 2006
February 1, 2007
February 8, 2008
February 25, 2009

Should the trend continue, there's really no hope of seeing updated RTQs until March. I'll maintain my optimism for a winter release. By 2011, even that might constitute starry-eyedness.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Coke-powered cell phone

Not another spin on the old lemon battery. But I'm unfamiliar with what's actually going on here. According to the article, "the Eco-Friendly cellphone runs on an innovative battery which makes use of enzymes to generate electricity from carbohydrates."

I'm sure I should know how that works. But I don't. Or maybe I do and I just don't know that I do. Feel free to enlighten me in the comments.

It does remind me of the clever T-shirt I saw at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium recently: "Burn Carbohydrates, Not Hydrocarbons".

Saturday, January 09, 2010

PTSOS Sacramento: Give Physics a Whirl 1/30/10

The next Physics Teacher SOS (PTSOS) Sacramento workshop will be held at Rio Americano High School on Saturday, January 30.

The focus will be heat, waves, and sound. Topics will include temperature, kinetic theory, heat transfer, phases, the Leidenfrost Effect, mechanical wave characteristics and properties, Doppler Effect, shock waves and sonic booms, interference and beats.

We will address these topics via demonstrations, computer sensors, simulations, and a make-n-take. And we'll discuss how these topics are assessed on the state's Physics CST. In any case, there will be flames!

The goodies are robust and worthwhile. Attendees will leave with treasures of knowledge and the high-quality materials needed to "work the magic" in their own classrooms on Monday (or any time thereafter).

Steve Keith will be leading the workshop with me. And our attendees bring the wisdom, insights, and curiosity that make PTSOS workshops work as well as they do.

We'd love to have all area physics teachers, new and old, along with us for a day of physics fun. If you attended the October workshop, you know the joy of PTSOS. If you missed our October session, you don't want to miss this one!

Register with Stephanie Finander: If you're in the San Juan Unified School District, the ERO SRN for this workshop is 1040215072.