The Physics Teacher, February 2021


The Physics Teacher

Volume 59 Issue 2

February 2021

Cloudy with a chance of alpha particles

This month's cover is a time-lapse photo showing numerous condensation trails formed from radioactive particles emitted from a chip from a ’50s-era dinner plate. This fascinating look inside a cloud chamber, “Cloudy with a chance of alpha particles,” won third place in the AAPT High School Physics Photo Contest in 2019 and was submitted by Alia Yiskis of West Boca Raton Community High School in Florida; her teacher was Elizabeth Wenk. To see more fantastic physics photos from the past, see

Authors should submit their article and cover letter at this website:   



And the Survey Says..., Astronotes, Figuring Physics, iPhysicsLabs, Little Gems, Physics Challenge for Teachers and Students, Fermi Questions, Talkin' Physics, Technology In The Classroom, Tricks of the Trade, Visual Physics,  and Websights.


Simple physics with a surprise! by Terrence Toepker. DOI: 10.1119/10.0003453.

The addition of relativistic velocities from the k-calculus by Paul Secular. DOI: 10.1119/10.0003454


Surface Currents on the Plates of a Charging Capacitor by Carl E. Mungan. DOI: 10.1119/10.0003456

Energy Cubes by Lane Seeley, Kara Gray and Amy D. Robertson. DOI: 10.1119/10.0003457

The Central Scientific Company and its Apparatus by Thomas B. Greenslade Jr. DOI: 10.1119/10.0003459

One Hundred Years Later, Introductory Labs Are Poised for Change by Ashley R. Carter. DOI: 10.1119/10.0003460

Revisiting Standing Waves on a Circular Path by Peter Riggs. DOI: 10.1119/10.0003461

From Pressure Maps and Wind Velocity to Northern Lights and Other Fascinating Phenomena on the Rotating Earth by Andrea Gróf. DOI: 10.1119/10.0003462

A Semester-Long Study of Magnetic Fields Using Smartphones to Engage Non-Physics Majors by Stacy A. Hootman and Cory Pickett. DOI: 10.1119/10.0003463

Hands-on Experiment for Modeling the Baumgartner Jump Using Free-Fall Kinematics with Drag by Alexander Gössling, Sebastian Becker and Jochen Kuhn. DOI: 10.1119/10.0003464

Selective Assessment in Introductory Physics Labatorials by Mandana Sobhanzadeh and Peter Zizler. DOI: 10.1119/10.0003465

Sliding on an Arbitrarily Shaped Incline with Friction by Alexandre Gainer and Michael Waxman. DOI: 10.1119/10.0003466

Conservation of Momentum with Dual Technologies by Alan Bates. DOI: 10.1119/10.0003467

Systematic Problem Authoring: Constant Acceleration and Projectile Motion by Edward Forringer. DOI: 10.1119/10.0003468

Archimedes’ Balance Approach Applied to Buoyant Force by Sungki Kim and Seoung-Hey Paik. DOI: 10.1119/10.0003469

The Rematch of the Tortoise and the Hare: A Story of Speed and Velocity by Landon Bellavia. DOI: 10.1119/10.0003470

Kepler Made Me Do It by John Dumar. DOI: 10.1119/10.0003471

Implementing Raspberry Pi 3 and Python in the Physics Laboratory by Alexuan Martínez, Christian Nieves and Armando Rúa. DOI: 10.1119/10.0003472


Race and Physics Teaching Collection Resource

DNA Science TPT Element

DNA Science Lesson & Digi-Kit

Inspired by an article from The Physics Teacher, this multidisciplinary lesson and digital resource collection is based on How Rosalind Franklin Discovered the Helical Structure of DNA: Experiments in Diffraction (Braun, Tierney, & Schmitzer, 2011). Click the image to access this resource.