Eric Mazur: New general physics textbook

Eric talked with us about the format, design, implementation, and philosophy issues he and his collaborators dealt with when writing the new book. He talked about how conservation theorems are front and center in the book and he shared new approaches to teaching collisions and energy.

Here’s the recording.

There is no meeting this week. Join us next week (3/26) when we host Tom Jordan to talk about QuarkNet.

New initiatives: physics student journal club and student simulations

Physics Student Journal Club
Last week we met to brainstorm what a Physics Student Journal Club might look like. We decided that we’d give this a try:

  • Pick an article
    • Accessible (both logistically and content-wise)
    • By someone we might cajole into joining our conversations
    • Has conclusions that can be critically analyzed (so not just a report about some new cool thing)
  • Have teachers commit to having their students read it and contribute to a wiki of sorts to see how others are struggling/thinking about the article.
  • Commit a Global Physics Department night to a general conversation about the paper

So here’s the plan. We’ve selected a paper entitled “Optimal pacing for running 400m and 800m track races” by James Reardon (that’s the ArXiv link so it’s accessible to everyone), who we will reach out to. We’ll schedule March 12 for our first try of a meeting.

Physics Student Simulations
We’re going to start a new category on our blog site ( to collect student simulations. They’ll provide both artifacts (movies, plots, etc) and a description. For this month the prompt is: True or False: electrons released from rest always follow trajectories that follow electric field lines.

Submissions should be emailed to Andy Rundquist (first name dot last name at gmail).

Here’s the recording of our meeting.

Join us this week as we host Eric Mazur to talk about his new introductory physics text that is centered around conservation theorems.