Week of March 31, 2014

We enter the fourth quarter this week. Congratulations to the seniors! You’re almost there! (But you’re not there yet, so keep working hard. 🙂 )

This Week in AP Physics
On Monday we will begin unit 11 on electric circuits and will also spend a little time practicing some FRQs on electrostatics as a warm-up to Tuesday’s unit 10 test. Also for Tuesday please complete your unit 10 lab report. Throughout the remainder of the week we will continue through unit 11 and will do homework as assigned. *** Review workshops over spring break: Please email me if you’d like to meet either Tuesday morning or Wednesday morning from 9:00-11:00. I will be happy to come in if enough people can attend. (Michelle.Burgess@avonlakecityschools.org)

This Week in Physics
We will continue to work on the material from Podcast 1 – Introduction to Charge and Podcast 2 – Conductors, Insulators, and Charging on Monday and will conduct some informal experiments to investigate methods of charging. Next we will reinforce these concepts by doing assignment 1 in class. Our next topic will be electric force. Please take notes on Podcast 3 – Electric Force when assigned. We will follow this by doing assignment 2 together in class. If there is time, we will start to work on electric fields, so please take notes on Podcast 4 – Electric Fields part 1 and Podcast 5 – Electric Fields part 2 if announced.

This Week in Astronomy
At long last, after many snow (and…ahem…”senior skip”) days, we will complete our examination of our day star in unit 2 by doing an activity linking solar radiation to climate. The unit 2 test will be on Tuesday. To help you prepare, please do the Unit 2 – Homework Questions, which is due before the test. It is also time to begin our second outdoor lab, the Unit 2 – Outdoor Lab. This takes many days to complete, so it will be due in three weeks on Monday, April 21. (Do not delay starting, because you need to take multiple measurements spaced days apart.) After the test we will examine the Big Bang and the big news announcement this week from researchers at the South Pole. (See “Cool Science of the Week,” below.) This will prepare us for Thursday’s guest Skype speaker. Physics students are welcome to join this Skype conference during 2nd period on Tuesday with permission from your teachers.

Cool Science of the Week*
Well, this one is a doozy! Scientists from one of two telescopes at the South Pole announced this week clear evidence of what occurred in the first 0.000000000000000000000000000001 second of our universe’s existence. Think about that. Do you have trouble remembering what you did yesterday? Well, we’re talking about the very, very beginning of everything…and it happened 13.8 billion years ago! The evidence was detection of a specific type of radiation that confirmed that the universe underwent tremendous inflation in an incredibly short amount of time. This mechanism for formation of the universe set the stage for everything that followed, giving us the galaxies, stars, planets, critters, and smart phones that we know today. We will learn more about this in class as we prepare for our guest speaker, University of Chicago software engineer Ken Aird, whose work at the South Pole Telescope is linked to the ground-breaking research. There has been a lot written this week about the inflationary theory and the discovery. Try these two articles for starters: Gravitational Waves from Big Bang Detected and Primordial Gravitational Waves Provide a Test of Cosmological Theories. Also be sure to read up on the South Pole Telescope to be prepared for our guest speaker. (P.S. This data may suggest a Multiverse exists!)

*As always, remember my disclaimer that since this is a science class, we explore the universe by offering the perspective of science. All world views are respected.