aapt_program_final_sm13 - page 47

July 13–17, 2013
Monday morning
Kindle Drawing
Kindle/ Gift Card
Monday, July 15
10:15 a.m. and 3:45 p.m.
Tuesday, July 16
10:15 a.m. and 3:45 p.m.
(Must be present to win)
Purchase tickets ($1) in
advance at Registration
Session AD: Introductory Physics for
Life Science Majors
Location: Salon Ballroom II/III
Date: Monday, July 15
Time: 8–9:30 a.m.
Presider: Gary White
8-8:10 a.m. Lab Activities for Pre-health Majors
Contributed – Grace R. Van Ness, Portland State University, Portland, OR
Ralf Widenhorn, Portland State University
The majority of students taking algebra-based physics in the college class-
room are pre-health and life science majors. Pre-health and life science ma-
jors would greatly benefit from effective teaching methods which connect
physics to their future careers as health-care providers and life scientists.
One way to address this issue is the development of hands-on physics
exercises that engage students. With this in mind, we present hands-on
exercises as part of our Physics in Biomedicine course at Portland State
University. These labs are easily constructed using materials readily avail-
able in many colleges or high schools. Hard copies of lab descriptions will
be available.
8:10-8:20 a.m. Randomness and Structure 1:
Introductory-level Conceptual Framework for Biological
Contributed – Edit Yerushalmi, Weizmann Institute of Science, 234 Herzl St.,
Rehovot, 76100 Israel;
Elon Langbeheim, Shelly Livne, Samuel Safran, Weizmann Institute of
Explaining the spontaneous formation of molecules into mesoscopic
(nanometric) or even micron-sized structures that are important in
biological materials (i.e. membranes, polymers, colloids), requires an un-
derstanding of cooperative behavior in interacting multi-particle systems.
We present a conceptual framework for treating these phenomena with
introductory-level students, which was tested in a pilot interdisciplinary
course entitled “Soft and messy matter.” We first discuss the competition
of configurational entropy (that promotes randomness) and interparticle
interactions (that promote order) in terms of a lattice model in the context
of binary mixtures. The lattice model, allowing for concrete visualization,
is later used to model the phase behavior of fluid mixtures, wetting, and
self-assembly of surfactants via free-energy minimization. This approach
can be incorporated into restructured introductory physics courses for life
sciences, allowing students to understand how the competition between
interactions and entropy is resolved to determine how molecules self-
organize to form mesoscopic structures.
8:20-8:30 a.m. Randomness and Structure 2: Computa-
tional Modeling of Interacting Multiparticle Systems
Contributed – Ruth Chabay, NC State University, 515 E. Coronado Road,
Santa Fe, NM 87505;
Nava Schulman, Edit Yerushalmi, Weizmann Institute of Science
The concepts of entropy and equilibrium are central to the understand-
ing of the spontaneous formation of structure in soft matter systems such
as membranes. We are developing a suite of computational modeling
tools with a strong visual component to support the development of these
concepts by students in an introductory-level course on soft matter. In the
context of the lattice gas model, which is commonly used in the analyti-
cal treatment of such systems, students can explore the consequences of
random motion, observe the dynamics of the approach to equilibrium,
monitor bulk properties of the system, and observe that interparticle
interactions are required for the spontaneous formation of mesoscale
structures. These tools can be extended to allow students to do significant
computational modeling projects by the end of the course. They provide, as
well, a stimulus for discussion about the nature of scientific models.
8:30-8:40 a.m. Randomness and Structure 3:
Explicating Nature’s Choices with Computational Tools
Contributed – Nava Schulmann, Weizmann Institute of Science, 234 Herzl
St., Rehovot, 76100 Israel;
Ruth Chabay, North Carolina State University
Edit Yerushalmi, Weizmann Institute of Science
Understanding the balance between randomness and structure in multi-
particle systems via statistical thermodynamics methods requires construc-
tion of a concrete mental model for the process of weighing between
configurations. We present two computational tools intended to support
introductory-level students in constructing such a representation. One tool
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