Toward Understanding Gravitation by Andrew Jackson, Harrisonburg City Schools. This chapter addresses our changing understanding of gravitation and in doing so, introduces the student to a few interesting areas of astronomy and cosmology including dark matter and dark energy. It should be an appropriate extension to a study of Newton’s universal law of gravitation, but deals with gravitation from a purely conceptual approach. The appropriate high school level mathematical treatment would pertain to Newton’s universal law of gravitation and it is assumed that students will study this from traditional text or with their teachers. The chapter is set up in a dialogue style that has a wonderful heritage in physics going back to Galileo’s Dialogue Concerning the Two Chief World Systems, published in 1632.
Nuclear Energy by David Stern, Greenbelt, Maryland, is a short non-mathematical course introducing high school physics students and interested non-scientists to the physics of the atomic nucleus and to phenomena associated with nuclear fission. The commercial release of nuclear energy is discussed, including problems of controlling the reactor and the waste it produces.
The Standard Model by Michael Fetsko, Henrico County Schools. The first part of this chapter helps explain a couple of the remaining fundamental questions of physics: What are the building blocks of matter and what are the forces that hold these particles together? The current theory involves six quarks, six leptons, and four force carriers. All of these particles are organized into a table called the Standard Model of Particle Physics. Is the Standard Model complete or are there changes coming in the future?
Beyond the Standard Model by Tony Wayne, Albemarle County Schools. This chapter explains a number of current experiments in particle physics, the large particle colliders, and other equipment and instrumentation used in attempts to tease data that validates or rejects several emerging theories on the fundamental building blocks of matter.
Modern Physics by Angela Cutshaw, Newport News City Schools. This chapter has been cast into a series of 11 major questions in an effort to lead the student through an understanding of how modern physics came about, some of its components, some of the still lingering problems in its theories, and some of its implications. Examples of some of the questions are: What is quantum mechanics and why did it develop? What part of physics was not complete? What is relativity and why did it develop? What are quarks and what role do they play inside the atom?
Nanoscience by Tapas Kar, Utah State University. Nanoscience is the discovery and study of novel phenomena at the molecular scale (between 10 and 100nm) and the creation of new concepts to describe them. New discoveries in science have enabled us to create more application-oriented products, new devices and electronic gadgets. Nanotechnology is the fabrication, production and application of man-made devices and systems by controlled manipulation of size and shape at that small scale.
Biophysics (Medical Imaging) by David Slykhuis, James Madison University; Mark Mattson, James Madison University; and Tom O’Neill, Shenandoah Valley Governor’s School. Today we have access to incredibly advanced non-invasive imaging technology for the analysis of our health. However, to most students, methods such as x−rays, MRI, and ultrasound are just black boxes that give the doctor a “magic” result. This chapter addresses these three major medical imaging technologies and their foundations in physics. Ultrasound is available in the first FlexBook release (v1.0), followed by sections on MRI and x−ray in later releases.
Kinematics by John Ochab, J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College. Understanding how things move is fundamental to our understanding of the physical universe. Critical to this understanding is the ability to portray motion in a manner that is clear, accurate, precise, efficient, and reproducible. In the first part of the chapter, “Motion and How to Describe It,” we identify the terms used to characterize motion and illustrate the graphical methods used to represent motion visually. In the second part of the chapter, we study the work done by one or more forces on one or more bodies, determine the types of energy involved, and draw connections between the work done on the bodies and the energy changes in the bodies. Information is presented in tutorial format and includes an introduction to using motion sensors with a computer.
Laboratory Activities by Bruce Davidson, Newport News City Schools. This chapter presents 15 physics experiments that utilize 21st century technology to conduct investigations that can be used in the high school classroom. The PASCO Xplorer GLX handheld interface is highlighted with downloadable labs on linear motion, Newton’s laws of motion, friction, momentum, conservation of energy, kinetic energy, energy transfer, and sound waves.
Modeling and Simulation by Mark Clemente, Virginia Beach City Schools/National Institute of Aerospace. Modeling and simulation have been used for design, test, evaluation, and training in the industry for several decades. With the advances in technology and computer capabilities in recent years, modeling and simulation are now tools for instruction that are accessible to most classroom teachers. This chapter presents several examples of how physics content can be taught using modeling and simulation.
Modeling and Simulating NASA's Launch Abort System by Randall Caton, Bigfork, Minnesota. Complex systems abound in our world and it is valuable to model and simulate them to better understand how they work and improve their design. Student learners will modify a model based on Newton's Laws and simplifying assumptions that can be applied in a computer environment (Etoys) to simulate the motion of NASA’s Launch Abort System. The concepts of position, velocity, acceleration, force, and mass are introduced in the context of Newton's Laws. Students will learn by doing by starting with a simple model using constant acceleration and modify the model to simulate air drag, the varying force of gravity, the "real rocket", the 2 dimensional case and a two-stage rocket.