Demonstrations in Physics - Project
The initial motivation for this project was to provide
access to physics demonstrations for online physics students. One of
the authors (Dr. F. Amiri) has developed over one hundred computer
animation experiments that have become a major component of the online
introductory physics course at Weber State University. However, it
was determined that, in addition to computer animated experiments,
the online students should also be exposed to actual physics demonstrations
and see real experiments involving physics equipment.
To address these issues, Farhang Amiri together with Ron Galli, decided
to develop a comprehensive video library of physics demonstrations. Dr.
Galli has been involved with physics demonstrations over many years,
including creating several demonstrations of his own. After agreeing
on the methods of developing and presenting the experiments and demonstrations,
the work of producing the videos began in the summer of 2003. A goal
was established that the demonstrations would be used not only for online
physics courses but also extended to regular on-campus courses. In the
process of producing these movies, it became apparent that they would
also be very useful to faculty and students at other institutions.
The idea was that the demonstrations should be recorded in a classroom
environment and be comparable to actual lecture presentations made to
students in regular physics courses. These movies have been designed
so that they can be used by physics faculty at any institution. The videos
can be used by faculty to supplement their own lectures and demonstrations
through the showing of all or parts of these movies to the students.
Also, the movies have been produced with the goal in mind that faculty
could watch them and then reconstruct their own live demonstrations.
The required equipment and supplies, in most cases, would likely be available
in their own respective departments.
Currently we have produced approximately 200 movies of physics demonstrations.
These movies average about 5 minutes each and encompass almost all topics
which are covered in the standard lower division physics courses. In
the movies, the narrative description and explanations of the principles
are purposefully kept brief to allow for the faculty to provide their
own complete explanations. As each of the demonstrations was produced,
care was taken to ensure the quality of the videos and the accuracy of
the physical principles being portrayed. Each movie is accompanied with
a complete list of the equipment which was used. Also, a brief written
explanation of each movie is included. The videos are compressed in the
popular QuickTime format and then converted to mp4 to facilitate the browser based access. This should
allow students or faculty to use these movies without the need
for any additional software or hardware.