group Small Group Activity

30 min.

Grey space capsule
Contemporary Challenges 2022 (4 years)

blackbody Stefan-Boltzmann Law

In this small group activity, students work out the steady state temperature of an object absorbing and emitting blackbody radiation.

group Small Group Activity

5 min.

Acting Out Flux
Static Fields 2022 (3 years)

flux electrostatics vector fields

Students hold rulers and meter sticks to represent a vector field. The instructor holds a hula hoop to represent a small area element. Students are asked to describe the flux of the vector field through the area element.

assignment Homework

Undo Formulas for Reduced Mass (Geometry)
Central Forces 2023 (3 years)

The figure below shows the position vector \(\vec r\) and the orbit of a “fictitious” reduced mass \(\mu\).

  1. Suppose \(m_1=m_2\), Sketch the position vectors and orbits for \(m_1\) and \(m_2\) corresponding to \(\vec{r}\). Describe a common physics example of central force motion for which \(m_1=m_2\).
  2. Repeat, for \(m_2>m_1\).

accessibility_new Kinesthetic

10 min.

Using Arms to Visualize Complex Numbers (MathBits)
Quantum Fundamentals 2022 (2 years)

arms complex numbers Argand diagram complex plane rectangular form exponential form complex conjugate math

Arms Sequence for Complex Numbers and Quantum States

Students move their left arm in a circle to trace out the complex plane (Argand diagram). They then explore the rectangular and exponential representations of complex numbers by using their left arm to show given complex numbers on the complex plane. Finally they enact multiplication of complex numbers in exponential form and complex conjugation.

assignment Homework

Heat of vaporization of ice
Vaporization Heat Thermal and Statistical Physics 2020 The pressure of water vapor over ice is 518 Pa at \(-2^\circ\text{C}\). The vapor pressure of water at its triple point is 611 Pa, at 0.01\(^\circ\text{C}\) (see Estimate in \(\text{J mol}^{-1}\) the heat of vaporization of ice just under freezing. How does this compare with the heat of vaporization of water?

accessibility_new Kinesthetic

30 min.

Using Arms to Visualize Transformations of Complex Two-Component Vectors (MathBits)
Quantum Fundamentals 2021

arms complex numbers phase rotation reflection math

Arms Sequence for Complex Numbers and Quantum States

Students, working in pairs, represent two component complex vectors with their left arms. Through a short series of instructor led prompts, students move their left arms to show how various linear transformations affect each complex component.

assignment Homework

Magnetic susceptibility
Paramagnet Magnetic susceptibility Thermal and Statistical Physics 2020

Consider a paramagnet, which is a material with \(n\) spins per unit volume each of which may each be either “up” or “down”. The spins have energy \(\pm mB\) where \(m\) is the magnetic dipole moment of a single spin, and there is no interaction between spins. The magnetization \(M\) is defined as the total magnetic moment divided by the total volume. Hint: each individual spin may be treated as a two-state system, which you have already worked with above.

Plot of magnetization vs. B field

  1. Find the Helmholtz free energy of a paramagnetic system (assume \(N\) total spins) and show that \(\frac{F}{NkT}\) is a function of only the ratio \(x\equiv \frac{mB}{kT}\).

  2. Use the canonical ensemble (i.e. partition function and probabilities) to find an exact expression for the total magentization \(M\) (which is the total dipole moment per unit volume) and the susceptibility \begin{align} \chi\equiv\left(\frac{\partial M}{\partial B}\right)_T \end{align} as a function of temperature and magnetic field for the model system of magnetic moments in a magnetic field. The result for the magnetization is \begin{align} M=nm\tanh\left(\frac{mB}{kT}\right) \end{align} where \(n\) is the number of spins per unit volume. The figure shows what this magnetization looks like.

  3. Show that the susceptibility is \(\chi=\frac{nm^2}{kT}\) in the limit \(mB\ll kT\).

face Lecture

30 min.

Energy and heat and entropy
Energy and Entropy 2021 (2 years)

latent heat heat capacity internal energy entropy

This short lecture introduces the ideas required for Ice Calorimetry Lab or Microwave oven Ice Calorimetry Lab.

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

Heat and Temperature of Water Vapor

Thermo Heat Capacity Partial Derivatives

In this introduction to heat capacity, students determine a derivative that indicates how much the internal energy changes as the temperature changes when volume is held constant.

group Small Group Activity

30 min.

Operators & Functions
Quantum Fundamentals 2022 (3 years) Students are asked to:
  • Test to see if one of the given functions is an eigenfunction of the given operator
  • See if they can write the functions that are found not to be eigenfunctions as a linear combination of eigenfunctions.

group Small Group Activity

60 min.

Electrostatic Potential Due to a Pair of Charges (with Series)
Static Fields 2022 (5 years)

electrostatic potential multipole charge symmetry scalar field superposition coulomb's Law

Power Series Sequence (E&M)

Ring Cycle Sequence

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.

face Lecture

120 min.

Phase transformations
Thermal and Statistical Physics 2020

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.