These brief summaries are designed to help readers easily see which articles will be most valuable to them. The online version contains links to the articles.
A physical model for intuiting linear regression
Phillip Cervantes, Patricia Purdue, and Jeff Steele
A simple physical model is introduced to facilitate understanding of fitting a straight line to data. Data points are envisioned as beads applying torques on a massless, rigid, horizontal rod. The model is appropriate for beginning students, requiring only knowledge of torques and moments of inertia.
Captain Einstein: A VR experience of relativity
Karel Van Acoleyen and Jos Van Doorsselaere
A virtual reality movie lets students experience a world with a slow speed of light.
Radial velocity of a sound source in circular motion for illustrating the detection of an exoplanet
The detection of an exoplanet using the Doppler effect is illustrated with a Bluetooth speaker and a microphone, taking advantage of an analogy with the Doppler effect for sound. Appropriate for undergraduate courses.
Generalizing the thermal resistance and a general thermal engine
Mark F. Roll
The usefulness of an engine cycle depends not only on its thermodynamic efficiency, but on its rate of heat transfer, which here is discussed in terms of a thermal resistance. Appropriate for undergraduate courses in thermal physics.
A step forward in kinesthetic activities for teaching kinematics in introductory physics
Zachary Dale, Paul R. DeStefano, Lori Shaaban, Cora Seibert, and Ralf Widenhorn
A local positioning system allows students to learn kinesthetically by acting out motions and seeing the graphs in real time.
Connecting field and intensity correlations: The Siegert relation and how to test it
Dilleys Ferreira, Romain Bachelard, William Guerin, Robin Kaiser, and Mathilde Fouché
An experimental setup is discussed that can be used to test the Siegert relation, which relates electric field and intensity correlations of light. Appropriate for an upper-level optics class.
Lessons from transforming second-year honors physics lab
Danny Doucette, Brian D'Urso, and Chandralekha Singh
Experiences are reported on a new approach to introductory physics lab with two purposes: to replace “black boxes” with interactive equipment, and to try to foster more of a “think like a physicist” attitude among students.
The quantum character of buckling instabilities in thin rods
T. A. Engstrom
The problem of how an inextensible rod buckles under the influence of axial body forces can be mapped to one-dimensional, non-relativistic, time-independent quantum mechanics. Simple examples for rods confined to two dimensions are discussed, and an exercise is suggested concerning a rod in three dimensions. Accessible to undergraduate students.
A perfectly inelastic collision: Bulk prey engulfment by baleen whales and dynamical implications for the world's largest cetaceans
Jean Potvin, David E. Cade, Alexander J. Werth, Robert E. Shadwick, and Jeremy A. Goldbogen
The feeding behavior of whales is analyzed as a collision between the whale and krill-containing seawater, and is compared to data from whale tracking. Instructors can use the kinematic data as an example in an introductory course, and can also present this analysis in a biophysics class as an example of how basic physics affects animal behavior and evolution.
Adventures with Historical Physics Apparatus
Thomas B. Greenslade, Jr.
This article presents a user's guide to identifying historical apparatus in your department's collection, as well as a brief memoire of the physicist whose work has graced the pages of AJP for almost twenty years.
A simplified treatment of neutron slowing by elastic collisions
Bruce Cameron Reed
Neutrons in mixtures of U-235 and U-238 must be brought down to thermal energy if a chain reaction is to be sustained, and thermalization depends on the number of neutron scatterings. This number of scatterings can be calculated in an introductory course to show how basic mechanics bears on a technological issue of current importance.
Comment on “The equivalence principle in the Schwarzschild geometry” [Am. J. Phys. 62, 1037 (1994)]
Rafael P. Bernar, Luís C. B. Crispino, Atsushi Higuchi, and Haroldo C. D. Lima Junior
An error in the computation of the Riemann tensor is pointed out and corrected.
Visualizing topological transport
Mariya A. Lizunova, Samuel Kuypers, Bernet Meijer, Ana Silva, and Jasper van Wezel
The topological constraint on edge-to-edge conductance in the quantum Hall effect is explained with a simple picture of the weakly related electronic wavefunctions at the two edges. Although the picture is intuitively appealing, the theoretical development makes this paper best suited to graduate students.
Structure of numerical algorithms and advanced mechanics
Siu A. Chin
The nature and, in particular, the stability of numerical algorithms for differential equations are explained by showing how stable algorithms can be viewed as embodying the Liouville theorem for phase space. This paper, best suited for graduate students, helps to clarify both advanced mechanics (Hamilton's equations, Poisson brackets,…) and computational schemes.
Review of Lectures on Astrophysics by Steven Weinberg
Milan M. Ćirković
A strong endorsement of a brief book on astrophysics for advanced undergraduates and graduate students.