TPT 50th Anniversity book - page 11

furnace plays the role of an emf generator. This
was followed with related contributions by
Bartlett and others in a series of informative
letters to the editor, resulting in much good
physics in an interesting social context.
Bartlett also began a remarkable series in
1976 featuring photos of thermal patterns in
the snow. He milked a good deal of physics out
of relatively straightforward, well-described
photos. Reading the more than one dozen
contributions can provide appreciation for
nuances of thermodynamics.
Jill and Jay Huebner showed that visual
thermal patterns also provide clues to
the sublimation of tungsten filaments in
incandescent light bulbs (1981). A simple
examination of such a bulb that has been
used for a while can reveal whether its
operating configuration had the threaded base
downward, upward, or sideways. This was one
of the fascinating phenomena that piqued my
own interest in incandescent lamps (1990).
Others have been similarly inspired to write
about the physics of light bulbs.
Richard Bartels and Fred Loxsom addressed
the question of whether one can get a sunburn
through glass (1995). Subsequently, they
published a related article on how much
sun protection one gets from wet and dry
t-shirts (1998). Earlier, Russell and Bartels
had studied the energy absorption of roofing
shingles of different colors (1989). While
color gives information on absorption of
visible frequencies, absorption in the invisible
infrared is more important for heating. I
presented their interesting results to students
in courses on energy and the environment
and thermodynamics. Along related lines,
I recommend the work by Vollmer et al. on
aspects of infrared physics (2001).
Applications of thermal physics and global
energy usage are discussed nicely by Sean
Cordry (2010). This goes well with an earlier
article by Herman Erlichson on Robert Julius
Mayer’s study of energy processes in living
systems (2007). Mayer’s accomplishments
with the first law of thermodynamics are
discussed by the late Ronald Newburgh and
me (2011), and led to an educational exchange
with Andersen (2012).
Finally, I mention my five-part series on
thermodynamic entropy, which emphasizes
that for real thermodynamic processes, a
of entropy change is the
redistribution of internal energy by heat and/
or work and/or diffusion processes. I call
this the spreading of energy (2012). I believe
this metaphor can ease the path toward a
qualitative understanding of the seemingly
mysterious entropy. In the spirit of Zemansky’s
jingle, spreading can be summarized in rhyme:
S stands for spreading
It’s easy as can be
This mnemonic
Sheds light on entropy
There are many more excellent articles in
the treasure trove of
’s online archive.
Physics Teacher
has been an important part
of my teaching career and, though retired,
I still read it monthly, submit manuscripts,
and continue to review article submissions, as
asked. Why should physics teachers read
Succinctly, there are three main reasons: it is
fun, it is highly educational, and it is likely to
help teachers improve their teaching.
I am grateful to Karl Mamola, who has
tirelessly edited
for the last 13 years. He
took a good periodical and made it even better,
by exercising excellent editorial judgment
to maintain scientific integrity while adding
some frills and achieving a modern, attractive
look. I wish Karl well in his retirement, and
will continue to help physics
teachers improve their craft.
I...,1,2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10 12,13,14,15,16,17,18,19,20,21,...30
Powered by FlippingBook