TPT WebSights column draft for September, 2007:
WebSights features announcements and reviews of select sites of interest to physics teachers. All sites are copyright by their authors. This column is available as a web page at <http://PhysicsEd.BuffaloState.Edu/pubs/WebSights/>.
If you have successfully used a physics website that you feel is outstanding and appropriate for WebSights, please email me the URL and describe how you use it to teach or learn physics. The best site monthly will receive a T-shirt. <email@example.com>.
Conceptual Learning Approach to Waves (Project CLAW) website: <http://electron.physics.buffalo.edu/claw/>. This website contains a large number of Flash simulations on waves, their behavior and interactions. Each section of the website also has questions that relate to the simulations that are meant to check for understanding of the important concepts. Nominated by the author Frank Nappo of Lockport HS Physics <firstname.lastname@example.org>, who solicits reader input.
Jearl Walker's Flying Circus of Physics website and blog: <http://www.flyingcircusofphysics.com>. The Flying Circus of Physics (earlier versions with and without answers) was a well-known book in the physics world that just went through a new edition. Walker is famous for popularizing the leidenfrost effect demos (with molten lead, liquid nitrogen and hot coals) and the bed of nails demo, and his website contains many pictures of these (readers are strongly cautioned not to try these without guidance and Walker can be contacted via the website). An entertaining physics website nominated by John Hubisz, editor of the MicroReviews column.
Brant Hinrich's collection of web resources used for teaching modern physics topics:
Relativity: These two links are for college level materials. The University of Washington Physics Education Research Group has researched and developed Tutorials in Introductory Physics: <http://www.phys.washington.edu/groups/peg/tut.html>. There are relevant paper and pencil tutorials and homework on 1-D Relative Motion, Wave Properties of Matter, and the Photoelectric Effect. The instructors guide contains pre-tests and sample exam questions. Rachel ScherrŐs dissertation <http://www.compadre.org/per/items/detail.cfm?ID=4773&S=5> contains her research on many topics in special relativity and the appendices include pre-tests, tutorials, and homework for the concepts of Events and Reference Frames, Measurement, Simultaneity, and Synchronization and Causality.
Conceptual Quantum Mechanics: The first URL points to materials that were developed for high school students, but are appropriate for introductory college students as well. The other two links are for college level material. The Kansas State Physics Education Group has researched and developed a wide suite of simulation-based tutorials called Visual Quantum Mechanics: <http://phys.educ.ksu.edu/>. Topics include Solids & Light, Waves of Matter, Potential Energy Diagrams, Luminescence, and Exploring the Very Small. The University of Maryland Physics Education Research Group has researched and developed A New Model Course in Quantum Mechanics: <http://www.physics.umd.edu/perg/qm/qmcourse/welcome.htm>. Materials, which are paper and pencil or computer-based include Tutorials, Applied Homework, Essay Questions, and Software. There is also an Instructors Guide, and a section on Understanding How Students Learn. The University of Colorado Physics Education Research Group has developed a vast array of on-line simulations through their Physics Education Technology (PhET) initiative that include seventeen on Quantum Phenomena: < http://phet.colorado.edu/web-pages/index.html>. Besides the standard topics they also cover Double Wells and Covalent Bonds, Nuclear Physics, Conductivity, Semiconductors, Band Structure, Stern-Gernlach, etc.
Advanced (Mathematical) Quantum Mechanics: The University of Pittsburgh is research and developing Quantum Interactive Learning Tutorials (QuILT): < http://www.phyast.pitt.edu/~cls/quantum/>. Topics include Time Evolution of Wave Functions, Product Spaces, Quantum Measurement, Expectation Values, etc.
Resources for Teaching: Dan Styer at Oberlin College has an extensive page of information and links on teaching Quantum Mechanics at both the conceptual and advanced levels: <http://www.oberlin.edu/physics/dstyer/TeachQM/>, and the Quantum Exchange at Compadre <http://www.compadre.org/quantum/index.cfm> bills itself as a collection of information and resources for teachers of quantum physics. Materials cover both conceptual and advanced, but lean toward the latter and are grouped into five categories: pedagogy, applications, background, activities and tutorials. In addition to classroom materials, there are a number of physics education research papers on relevant topics posted.
Submitted by Brant Hinrichs, Associate Professor of Physics at Drury University <email@example.com>.
Humorous Physics and Spoof Scientific Journals: The Journal of Irreproducible Results <http://www.jir.com/>, The Null Hypothesis <http://www.null-hypothesis.co.uk/> and the Annals of Improbable Research <http://www.improb.com/> have all been suggested for physics humor. All present amusing spoof articles, descriptions, jokes and cartoons from physics and science.
The Wolfram Demonstrations Project at <http://demonstrations.wolfram.com> is "...a web collection of freely available, interactive demonstrations in math, science and many in physics." These compiled Mathematics 6 demonstrations are somewhat akin to physlets. Running these demonstrations requires the download and installation of a free Mathematica player (registration is suggested but not required). I enjoyed playing with the astronomical simulations particularly, although the modern physics, mechanics and optics simulations also looked nice.
I am a fan of other Wolfram sites, particularly the Integrator: <http://www.integrator.com/>. The QuickMath website <http://www.quickmath.com> is another student favorite site powered by Mathematica, though sometimes it seems overwhelmed with users.