2012 BFY Abstract Detail Page
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||Two Advanced-Lab Experiments for the Thrifty Physicist
||Over the past two years, four AJP papers have resulted from innovations in Emory's Advanced Lab. I highlight the two experiments that can be done at almost no cost: a simple optical probe of transient heat conduction, and oscillations of a water column beneath trapped air. The heat-conduction experiment requires only a laser, a stopwatch, ice water, and any transparent liquid or solid; the laser beam's deflection increases and then mysteriously decreases as the transparent material is chilled from below. The water-column experiment requires only a clear tube, a bucket of water, and a digital camera; the water column's oscillations mysteriously reach their lowest frequency when the tube is about half full of water; higher frequencies are observed when a smaller or larger fraction of the tube contains water. Both experiments use simple equipment to illustrate mathematically complicated behavior--mysterious behavior that defies intuition and motivates inquiry.
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