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##### Reduced Mass

(Simple graphing) Purpose: Discover some of the properties of reduced mass by exploring the graph.

Using your favorite graphing package, make a plot of the reduced mass $$\mu=\frac{m_1\, m_2}{m_1+m_2}$$ 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. Hint: Think limiting cases.

• Found in: Central Forces course(s)

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

##### Electric Field Due to a Ring of Charge

Students work in small groups to use Coulomb's Law $\vec{E}(\vec{r}) =\frac{1}{4\pi\epsilon_0}\int\frac{\rho(\vec{r}^{\,\prime})\left(\vec{r}-\vec{r}^{\,\prime}\right)}{\vert \vec{r}-\vec{r}^{\,\prime}\vert^3} \, d\tau^{\prime}$ to find an integral expression for the electric field, $\vec{E}(\vec{r})$, everywhere in space, due to a ring of charge.

In an optional extension, students find a series expansion for $\vec{E}(\vec{r})$ either on the axis or in the plane of the ring, for either small or large values of the relevant geometric variable. Add an extra half hour or more to the time estimate for the optional extension.

• Found in: Static Fields, AIMS Maxwell, Problem-Solving course(s) Found in: Power Series Sequence (E&M), E&M Ring Cycle Sequence sequence(s)

group Small Group Activity

120 min.

##### Box Sliding Down Frictionless Wedge
Students solve for the equations of motion of a box sliding down (frictionlessly) a wedge, which itself slides on a horizontal surface, in order to answer the question "how much time does it take for the box to slide a distance $d$ down the wedge?". This activities highlights finding kinetic energies when the coordinate system is not orthonormal and checking special cases, functional behavior, and dimensions.

• Found in: Theoretical Mechanics course(s)

group Small Group Activity

120 min.

##### Projectile with Linear Drag
Students consider projectile motion of an object that experiences drag force that in linear with the velocity. Students consider the horizontal motion and the vertical motion separately. Students solve Newton's 2nd law as a differential equation.

• Found in: Theoretical Mechanics course(s)

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

##### Magnetic Field Due to a Spinning Ring of Charge

Students work in small groups to use the Biot-Savart law $\vec{B}(\vec{r}) =\frac{\mu_0}{4\pi}\int\frac{\vec{J}(\vec{r}^{\,\prime})\times \left(\vec{r}-\vec{r}^{\,\prime}\right)}{\vert \vec{r}-\vec{r}^{\,\prime}\vert^3} \, d\tau^{\prime}$ to find an integral expression for the magnetic field, $\vec{B}(\vec{r})$, due to a spinning ring of charge.

In an optional extension, students find a series expansion for $\vec{B}(\vec{r})$ either on the axis or in the plane of the ring, for either small or large values of the relevant geometric variable. Add an extra half hour or more to the time estimate for the optional extension.

• Found in: Static Fields, AIMS Maxwell, Problem-Solving course(s) Found in: Power Series Sequence (E&M), E&M Ring Cycle Sequence sequence(s)

None

##### Gravitational Field and Mass

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: $$\vec g = \begin{cases} 0&\textrm{for } r<a\\ -G \,\frac{M}{b^3-a^3}\, \left( r-\frac{a^3}{r^2}\right)\, \hat r & \textrm{for } a<r<b\\ -G\,\frac{M}{r^2}\, \hat r & \textrm{for } r>b \\ \end{cases}$$

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.

• Found in: Static Fields, AIMS Maxwell, Problem-Solving course(s)

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

##### Magnetic Vector Potential Due to a Spinning Charged Ring

Students work in small groups to use the superposition principle $\vec{A}(\vec{r}) =\frac{\mu_0}{4\pi}\int\frac{\vec{J}(\vec{r}^{\,\prime})}{\vert \vec{r}-\vec{r}^{\,\prime}\vert}\, d\tau^{\prime}$ to find an integral expression for the magnetic vector potential, $\vec{A}(\vec{r})$, due to a spinning ring of charge.

In an optional extension, students find a series expansion for $\vec{A}(\vec{r})$ either on the axis or in the plane of the ring, for either small or large values of the relevant geometric variable. Add an extra half hour or more to the time estimate for the optional extension.

• Found in: Static Fields, AIMS Maxwell, Problem-Solving course(s) Found in: Power Series Sequence (E&M), E&M Ring Cycle Sequence sequence(s)

computer Mathematica Activity

30 min.

##### Effective Potentials
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.

• Found in: Central Forces course(s)

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

##### Electrostatic Potential Due to a Ring of Charge

Students work in small groups to use the superposition principle $V(\vec{r}) =\frac{1}{4\pi\epsilon_0}\int\frac{\rho(\vec{r}^{\,\prime})}{\vert \vec{r}-\vec{r}^{\,\prime}\vert} \, d\tau^{\prime}$ to find an integral expression for the electrostatic potential, $V(\vec{r})$, everywhere in space, due to a ring of charge.

In an optional extension, students find a series expansion for $V(\vec{r})$ either on the axis or in the plane of the ring, for either small or large values of the relevant geometric variable. Add an extra half hour or more to the time estimate for the optional extension.

• Found in: Static Fields, AIMS Maxwell, Problem-Solving course(s) Found in: Power Series Sequence (E&M), Warm-Up, E&M Ring Cycle Sequence sequence(s)

None

##### Helix

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?

• Found in: Integration Sequence sequence(s) Found in: Static Fields, AIMS Maxwell, Surfaces/Bridge Workshop, Problem-Solving course(s)

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

##### Change of Variables
• Found in: Vector Calculus II course(s)

None

##### Divergence through a Prism

Consider the vector field $\vec F=(x+2)\hat{x} +(z+2)\hat{z}$.

1. Calculate the divergence of $\vec F$.
2. In which direction does the vector field $\vec F$ point on the plane $z=x$? What is the value of $\vec F\cdot \hat n$ on this plane where $\hat n$ is the unit normal to the plane?
3. Verify the divergence theorem for this vector field where the volume involved is drawn below. (“Verify” means calculate both sides of the divergence theorem, separately, for this example and show that they are the same.)

• Found in: Static Fields, AIMS Maxwell, Problem-Solving course(s)

group Small Group Activity

60 min.

##### Systems of Equations Compare and Contrast

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

##### Visualization of Curl
Students predict from graphs of simple 2-d vector fields whether the curl is positive, negative, or zero in various regions of the domain using the definition of the curl of a vector field at a point as the maximum circulation per unit area through an infinitesimal box surrounding that point. Optionally, students can use computer algebra to verify their predictions.
• Found in: Static Fields, AIMS Maxwell, Vector Calculus II, Surfaces/Bridge Workshop, Problem-Solving course(s)

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

##### Conic Sections
Students are asked to explore the parameters that affect orbit shape using the supplied Maple worksheet or Mathematica notebook.
• Found in: Central Forces course(s)

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

##### Visualization of Divergence
Students predict from graphs of simple 2-d vector fields whether the divergence is positive, negative, or zero in various regions of the domain using the geometric definition of the divergence of a vector field at a point as flux per unit volume (here: area) through an infinitesimal box surrounding that point. Optionally, students can use computer algebra to verify their predictions.
• Found in: Static Fields, AIMS Maxwell, Vector Calculus II, Surfaces/Bridge Workshop, Problem-Solving course(s)

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

##### Covariation in Thermal Systems
Students consider how changing the volume of a system changes the internal energy of the system. Students use plastic graph models to explore these functions.

face Lecture

30 min.

##### Review of Thermal Physics
These are notes, essentially the equation sheet, from the final review session for Thermal and Statistical Physics.

• Found in: Thermal and Statistical Physics course(s)

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

##### Total Charge
In this small group activity, students integrate over non-uniform charge densities in cylindrical and spherical coordinates to calculate total charge.

• Found in: Static Fields, AIMS Maxwell, Problem-Solving course(s) Found in: Integration Sequence sequence(s)

None

##### Eigen Spin Challenge
Consider the arbitrary Pauli matrix $\sigma_n=\hat n\cdot\vec \sigma$ where $\hat n$ is the unit vector pointing in an arbitrary direction.
1. Find the eigenvalues and normalized eigenvectors for $\sigma_n$. The answer is: $\begin{pmatrix} \cos\frac{\theta}{2}e^{-i\phi/2}\\{} \sin\frac{\theta}{2}e^{i\phi/2}\\ \end{pmatrix} \begin{pmatrix} -\sin\frac{\theta}{2}e^{-i\phi/2}\\{} \cos\frac{\theta}{2}e^{i\phi/2}\\ \end{pmatrix}$ It is not sufficient to show that this answer is correct by plugging into the eigenvalue equation. Rather, you should do all the steps of finding the eigenvalues and eigenvectors as if you don't know the answer. Hint: $\sin\theta=\sqrt{1-\cos^2\theta}$.
2. Show that the eigenvectors from part (a) above are orthogonal.
3. Simplify your results from part (a) above by considering the three separate special cases: $\hat n=\hat\imath$, $\hat n=\hat\jmath$, $\hat n=\hat k$. In this way, find the eigenvectors and eigenvalues of $\sigma_x$, $\sigma_y$, and $\sigma_z$.
• Found in: Quantum Fundamentals course(s)