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2011 AAPT Summer Meeting
July 30-August 3, 2011
Omaha, Nebraska

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The Physics of Rube Goldberg
  Location: HC 3028
  Date: Wednesday, Aug.3
  Time: 9:00 AM -9:10 AM
  Author: Joseph Nothnagel, McHenry County College
  Co-Author(s): None
  Abstract: The popular 1963 board game "Mouse Trap" provided the inspiration for a creative assessment of the first two semesters of a three-semester calculus-based physics course. The game was fashioned from the cartoon images created by Rube Goldberg. The Merriam-Webster dictionary adopted the word "Rube Goldberg" as an adjective defined as accomplishing something simple through complex means. Physics is laden with "complex means" exemplified in the myriad of equations introduced in the first two semesters of classic physics. The lab involves the construction on paper of a "Mouse Trap." Twenty independent steps are to be constructed leading to the dropping of a net on the mouse. Each step must be one of the many equations studied in classic physics. The utility of the equation demonstrated in the action within each step along with complete calculations will be used to validate sufficient input force to output force to move from one step to the next of the mouse trap.
  Footnotes: None
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