• group de Broglie wavelength after freefall

      group Small Group Activity

      30 min.

      de Broglie wavelength after freefall
      Contemporary Challenges 2022 (3 years)

      de Broglie wavelength gravity

      In this activity students combine energy conservation with the relationship between the de Broglie wavelength and momentum to find the wavelength of atoms that have been dropped a given distance.
    • assignment Potential vs. Potential Energy

      assignment Homework

      Potential vs. Potential Energy
      Static Fields 2022 (4 years)

      In this course, two of the primary examples we will be using are the potential due to gravity and the potential due to an electric charge. Both of these forces vary like \(\frac{1}{r}\), so they will have many, many similarities. Most of the calculations we do for the one case will be true for the other. But there are some extremely important differences:

      1. Find the value of the electrostatic potential energy of a system consisting of a hydrogen nucleus and an electron separated by the Bohr radius. Find the value of the gravitational potential energy of the same two particles at the same radius. Use the same system of units in both cases. Compare and the contrast the two answers.
      2. Find the value of the electrostatic potential due to the nucleus of a hydrogen atom at the Bohr radius. Find the gravitational potential due to the nucleus at the same radius. Use the same system of units in both cases. Compare and contrast the two answers.
      3. Briefly discuss at least one other fundamental difference between electromagnetic and gravitational systems. Hint: Why are we bound to the earth gravitationally, but not electromagnetically?

    • assignment Cone Surface

      assignment Homework

      Cone Surface
      Static Fields 2022 (4 years)

      • Find \(dA\) on the surface of an (open) cone in both cylindrical and spherical coordinates. Hint: Be smart about how you coordinatize the cone.
      • Using integration, find the surface area of an (open) cone with height \(H\) and radius \(R\). Do this problem in both cylindrical and spherical coordinates.

    • assignment Gravitational Field and Mass

      assignment Homework

      Gravitational Field and Mass
      Static Fields 2022 (3 years)

      The gravitational field due to a spherical shell of matter (or equivalently, the electric field due to a spherical shell of charge) is given by: \begin{equation} \vec g = \begin{cases} 0&\textrm{for } r<a\\ -G \,\frac{M}{b^3-a^3}\, \left( r-\frac{a^3}{r^2}\right)\, \hat r & \textrm{for } a<r<b\\ -G\,\frac{M}{r^2}\, \hat r & \textrm{for } r>b \\ \end{cases} \end{equation}

      This problem explores the consequences of the divergence theorem for this shell.

      1. Using the given description of the gravitational field, find the divergence of the gravitational field everywhere in space. You will need to divide this question up into three parts: \(r<a\), \(a<r<b\), and \(r>b\).
      2. Briefly discuss the physical meaning of the divergence in this particular example.
      3. For this gravitational field, verify the divergence theorem on a sphere, concentric with the shell, with radius \(Q\), where \(a<Q<b\). ("Verify" the divergence theorem means calculate the integrals from both sides of the divergence theorem and show that they give the same answer.)
      4. Briefly discuss how this example would change if you were discussing the electric field of a uniformly charged spherical shell.

    • assignment Differential Form of Gauss's Law

      assignment Homework

      Differential Form of Gauss's Law
      Static Fields 2022 (4 years)

      For an infinitesimally thin cylindrical shell of radius \(b\) with uniform surface charge density \(\sigma\), the electric field is zero for \(s<b\) and \(\vec{E}= \frac{\sigma b}{\epsilon_0 s}\, \hat s\) for \(s > b\). Use the differential form of Gauss' Law to find the charge density everywhere in space.

    • assignment Spin Fermi Estimate

      assignment Homework

      Spin Fermi Estimate
      Quantum Fundamentals 2022 The following two problems ask you to make Fermi estimates. In a good Fermi estimate, you start from basic scientific facts you already know or quantities that you can reasonably estimate based on your life experiences and then reason your way to estimate a quantity that you would not be able guess. You may look up useful conversion factors or constants. Use words, pictures, and equations to explain your reasoning:
      1. Imagine that you send a pea-sized bead of silver through a Stern-Gerlach device oriented to measure the z-component of intrinsic spin. Estimate the total z-component of the intrinsic spin of the ball you would measure in the HIGHLY improbable case that every atom is spin up.
      2. Protons, neutrons, and electrons are all spin-1/2 particles. Give a (very crude) order of magnitude estimate of the number of these particles in your body.
    • assignment Scattering

      assignment Homework

      Central Forces 2022 (2 years)

      Consider a very light particle of mass \(\mu\) scattering from a very heavy, stationary particle of mass \(M\). The force between the two particles is a repulsive Coulomb force \(\frac{k}{r^2}\). The impact parameter \(b\) in a scattering problem is defined to be the distance which would be the closest approach if there were no interaction (See Figure). The initial velocity (far from the scattering event) of the mass \(\mu\) is \(\vec v_0\). Answer the following questions about this situation in terms of \(k\), \(M\), \(\mu\), \(\vec v_0\), and \(b\). ()It is not necessarily wise to answer these questions in order.)

      1. What is the initial angular momentum of the system?
      2. What is the initial total energy of the system?
      3. What is the distance of closest approach \(r_{\rm{min}}\) with the interaction?
      4. Sketch the effective potential.
      5. What is the angular momentum at \(r_{\rm{min}}\)?
      6. What is the total energy of the system at \(r_{\rm{min}}\)?
      7. What is the radial component of the velocity at \(r_{\rm{min}}\)?
      8. What is the tangential component of the velocity at \(r_{\rm{min}}\)?
      9. What is the value of the effective potential at \(r_{\rm{min}}\)?
      10. For what values of the initial total energy are there bound orbits?
      11. Using your results above, write a short essay describing this type of scattering problem, at a level appropriate to share with another Paradigm student.

    • group Heat capacity of N$_2$

      group Small Group Activity

      30 min.

      Heat capacity of N2
      Contemporary Challenges 2022 (3 years)

      equipartition quantum energy levels

      Students sketch the temperature-dependent heat capacity of molecular nitrogen. They apply the equipartition theorem and compute the temperatures at which degrees of freedom “freeze out.”
    • assignment Directional Derivative

      assignment Homework

      Directional Derivative
      Static Fields 2022 (4 years)

      You are on a hike. The altitude nearby is described by the function \(f(x, y)= k x^{2}y\), where \(k=20 \mathrm{\frac{m}{km^3}}\) is a constant, \(x\) and \(y\) are east and north coordinates, respectively, with units of kilometers. You're standing at the spot \((3~\mathrm{km},2~\mathrm{km})\) and there is a cottage located at \((1~\mathrm{km}, 2~\mathrm{km})\). You drop your water bottle and the water spills out.

      1. Plot the function \(f(x, y)\) and also its level curves in your favorite plotting software. Include images of these graphs. Special note: If you use a computer program written by someone else, you must reference that appropriately.
      2. In which direction in space does the water flow?
      3. At the spot you're standing, what is the slope of the ground in the direction of the cottage?
      4. Does your result to part (c) make sense from the graph?

    • assignment Theta Parameters

      assignment Homework

      Theta Parameters
      Static Fields 2022 (4 years)

      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}

  • Static Fields 2022 (4 years)

    A helix with 17 turns has height \(H\) and radius \(R\). Charge is distributed on the helix so that the charge density increases like (i.e. proportional to) the square of the distance up the helix. At the bottom of the helix the linear charge density is \(0~\frac{\textrm{C}}{\textrm{m}}\). At the top of the helix, the linear charge density is \(13~\frac{\textrm{C}}{\textrm{m}}\). What is the total charge on the helix?