Students use a pre-written Mathematica notebook or a Geogebra applet to explore how the shape of the effective potential function changes as the various parameters (angular momentum, force constant, reduced mass) are varied.
assignment Homework
The function \(\theta(x)\) (the Heaviside or unit step function) is a defined as: \begin{equation} \theta(x) =\begin{cases} 1 & \textrm{for}\; x>0 \\ 0 & \textrm{for}\; x<0 \end{cases} \end{equation} This function is discontinuous at \(x=0\) and is generally taken to have a value of \(\theta(0)=1/2\).
Make sketches of the following functions, by hand, on axes with the same scale and domain. Briefly describe, using good scientific writing that includes both words and equations, the role that the number two plays in the shape of each graph: \begin{align} y &= \theta (x)\\ y &= 2+\theta (x)\\ y &= \theta(2+x)\\ y &= 2\theta (x)\\ y &= \theta (2x) \end{align}
group Small Group Activity
120 min.
assignment Homework
In a solid, a free electron doesn't see” a bare nuclear charge since the nucleus is surrounded by a cloud of other electrons. The nucleus will look like the Coulomb potential close-up, but be screened” from far away. A common model for such problems is described by the Yukawa or screened potential: \begin{equation} U(r)= -\frac{k}{r} e^{-\frac{r}{\alpha}} \end{equation}
face Lecture
120 min.
phase transformation Clausius-Clapeyron mean field theory thermodynamics
These lecture notes from the ninth week of Thermal and Statistical Physics cover phase transformations, the Clausius-Clapeyron relation, mean field theory and more. They include a number of small group activities.assignment Homework
Using your favorite graphing package, make a plot of the reduced mass \(\mu\) as a function of \(m_1\) and \(m_2\). What about the shape of this graph tells you something about the physical world that you would like to remember. You should be able to find at least three things.
assignment Homework
Consider the frictionless motion of a hockey puck of mass \(m\) on a perfectly circular bowl-shaped ice rink with radius \(a\). The central region of the bowl (\(r < 0.8a\)) is perfectly flat and the sides of the ice bowl smoothly rise to a height \(h\) at \(r = a\).
computer Computer Simulation
30 min.
Taylor series power series approximation
Students use prepared Sage code or a prepared Mathematica notebook to plot \(\sin\theta\) simultaneously with several terms of a power series expansion to judge how well the approximation fits. Students can alter the worksheet to change the number of terms in the expansion and even to change the function that is being considered. Students should have already calculated the coefficients for the power series expansion in a previous activity, Calculating Coefficients for a Power Series.group Small Group Activity
30 min.
group Small Group Activity
60 min.
electrostatic potential multipole charge symmetry scalar field superposition coulomb's Law
Students work in small groups to use the superposition principle \[V(\vec{r}) = \frac{1}{4\pi\epsilon_0}\sum_i \frac{q_i}{\vert\vec{r}-\vec{r}_i\vert}\] to find the electrostatic potential \(V\) everywhere in space due to a pair of charges (either identical charges or a dipole). Different groups are assigned different arrangements of charges and different regions of space to consider: either on the axis of the charges or in the plane equidistant from the two charges, for either small or large values of the relevant geometric variable. Each group is asked to find a power series expansion for the electrostatic potential, valid in their group's assigned region of space. The whole class wrap-up discussion then compares and contrasts the results and discuss the symmetries of the two cases.format_list_numbered Sequence
Download and run this Mathematica notebook or this Geogebra applet.
You have four different sliders that control the values of four parameters \(k\), \(\ell\), \(\mu\), and \(E\).
Answer the following questions:
- What is the physical/geometric meaning of each parameter \(k\), \(\ell\), \(\mu\), \(E\)?
- How does each parameter \(k\), \(\ell\), \(\mu\), \(E\) affect the plot?
- Which term in the effective potential (\(-k/r\) or \(\ell^2/(2\mu r^2))\) dominates for small values of r? For large values of r? Explain in terms of both the equation and the graph.
- What are the classical turning points? Under what conditions will the particle be bound? Unbound?
- How do your answers for the last question change (if at all) if you consider a repulsive potential? Hint: Figure out what you must change in this notebook and investigate.