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Monday afternoon
Session CH: Panel – Confessions of
a First Year Faculty Member
Location: Tate Lab 170
Sponsor: Committee on Graduate Education in Physics
Co-Sponsor: Committee on Professional Concerns
Date: Monday, July 28
Time: 4–6 p.m.
Presider: Andrew Mason
Being a first-year physics faculty poses many challenges for which
applicants are frequently not prepared when applying for a fac-
ulty position. We present a panel of recently hired junior faculty
for discussion of this topic for the benefit of current graduate
students, postdoctoral researchers, and early-career faculty. The
panelists will discuss their respective hiring processes, as well as
items they wished in retrospect they had been more informed on
and/or better prepared. A diverse range of academic institutions
and backgrounds are represented on the panel, with the intent to
address a wide range of academic career plans. Faculty members
who anticipate being involved in upcoming hiring searches are
also encouraged to attend.
Jack Dostal, Wake Forest University
Danny Caballero, Michigan State University
Mary Bridget Kustusch, DePaul University
Brandon Lunk, Elon University
Session CI: Upper Division and
Graduate Courses and Labs
Location: Tate Lab 131
Sponsor: AAPT
Date: Monday, July 28
Time: 4–5:40 p.m.
Presider: TBA
4-4:10 p.m. Flipped Upper-Division Physics at the
Colorado School of Mines
Contributed – Patrick B. Kohl, Colorado School of Mines, Golden, CO 80401;
Eric S. Toberer, Colorado School of Mines
The flipped classroom is gaining popularity as a way of blending the best
of online and in-person education, but efforts so far have been mostly
(though not exclusively) focused on introductory classes. At CSM, we have
developed and implemented two upper-division physics courses that use
full or partial flips. Students are asked to watch one or more videos before
class as preparation, with the actual class period occupied by Q&A, clicker
questions, and various other activities. One of these two courses, PHGN
440, is a senior-level elective on solid-state physics. The other, PHGN 462,
is a core course on electrodynamics. In this talk we’ll report on methods,
motivations, impressions, and early data, including but not limited to You-
tube analytics, a qualitative survey, course evaluations, and a PER-based
content inventory.
4:10-4:20 p.m. Dynamics of Masses Subject to Counter
Moving Flows
Contributed – Joseph O. West, Indiana State University, Department of
Chemistry and Physics, Terre Haute, IN 47809;
Maarij Syed ,Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology
The dynamics of objects accreting mass from a uniform background
“mist” of small particles are a staple of the “changing mass” component of
advanced undergraduate mechanics courses. Such courses typically enroll
high ability sophomores and juniors, and challenge students’ abilities to
model continuous processes. A short review of known accretion models
that are particularly useful as they permit analytic solutions is given. In
addition, another class of object-mist interaction models involving the
motion of symmetric objects (prism, disk, and sphere) in counter flowing
mists is introduced. These allow analytic solution for inelastic, non-
accreting inelastic, and elastic object-mist interactions. Relative velocity
and “sound barrier” effects are investigated and connections to a similar
relativistic system are emphasized. Students are challenged to build in-
creasingly complex simulations suitable for numerical modeling. We hope
to test this topic in the next iteration of an advanced mechanics courses
with web-enabled content.
4:20-4:30 p.m. Students’ Approaches to Vector Calculus
in Electrodynamics
Contributed – Paul van Kampen, CASTeL & School of Physical Sciences,
Dublin City University, Collins Avenue Dublin, - 9 Ireland; Paul.van.Kampen@
Laurens Bollen, Mieke De Coc,k Department of Physics and Astronomy, KU
Leuven, Belgium
Vector calculus plays an important role in post-introductory electromagne-
tism courses, but little research has been done on students’ understanding
of “divergence” and “curl” in an electrodynamics context. In this study we
investigate second year students’ conceptions of “divergence” and “curl”.
These students already completed an introductory electromagnetism
course that leads up to Maxwell’s equations in integral form plus at least
two calculus courses including a chapter on vector calculus that focuses on
proofs and evaluation. We report on the results from pre-tests and post-
tests taken at the start and at the end of the 13-week semester. Both include
open-ended questions that examine students’ approaches to calculations,
graphical interpretations and conceptual understanding. Analysis focuses
on the solution methods and thinking processes rather than the answers.
This work is the onset to a reformation of the tutorials in this matter.
4:30-4:40 p.m. Teaching Quantum Mechanics, and
Quantum Statistical Mechanics to Sophomores
Contributed – Deepthi Amarasuriya, Northwest College, Powell, WY 82435-
Most students are introduced to topics in quantum mechanics as sopho-
mores, in Modern Physics. This material relies heavily on concepts and
techniques covered in Differential Equations I, and Linear Algebra, which
students may be taking concurrently, as well as on partial differential equa-
tions, special functions, and probability distributions, which are commonly
taught at the junior level. I present some strategies I have successfully
implemented in Modern Physics that help me teach the material effectively
while helping students build the requisite mathematical foundation.
4:40-4:50 p.m. Student Understanding of the Physics of
Contributed – Jill A. Marshall, University of Texas at Austin, 1 University Sta-
tion D5705, Austin, TX 78712-0382;
Adam Castillo, Meinhard B Cardenas, University of Texas
For a full understanding physical hydrology, students must master conser-
vation of mass, Newton’s laws of motion, the second in particular, laws of
thermodynamics (conservation of energy), and the relationship between
flux, resistance, and gradient (analogous to Ohm’s Law). Hydrology
students do not always relate the specialized laws of hydrology to the fun-
damentals they learned in their physics class, and mathematical treatments
do not always develop a conceptual understanding that promotes transfer.
I will report on an extended study of student understanding in an upper
division and graduate physical hydrology course, with and without the
addition of COMSOL Multiphysics modeling activities in the curriculum.
Student understanding was measured with a pre-/pos-t assessment and
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