NS 544/SC 544 Concepts in Physics V: Waves and Geometrical Optics

Physics content: Harmonic motion, mechanical waves, and introduction to geometrical optics.

Philosophy and History of Physics: Introduction to the structure of scientific revolutions and examination of the case study of the pendulum.

Physics Education Research: Misconceptions on waves and optics.

Course Schedule (.pdf)

Course Link

NS 544 Concepts in Physics V: Waves and Geometric Optics

In-Class: Session 1: Harmonic Motion.

Readings from Cutnell & Johnson: 10.1 – 10.3, 10.9
Laboratory experiment: Simple Harmonic Motion
Waves and optics pre-tests

Online: Session 2: Springs; Pendulums.

Readings from Cutnell & Johnson: 10.4 – 10.6
Web assignment 1

Reading assignment for session 3:

  • Matthews, M. (1994). History and philosophy in the classroom: the case of the pendulum motion. Chapter 6 in Science teaching. The role of history and philosophy of science. New York: Routledge.

In-Class: Session 3: Waves on Strings.

Readings from Cutnell & Johnson: 16.1 – 16.3

Online: Session 4: Transverse and Longitudinal Waves

Readings from Cutnell & Johnson: 16.4 – 16.6
Web assignment 2 
Philosophy/History/Education Research: Galileo on pendula.

Reading assignment for session 5:

  • Galileo, G. (1954). Dialogues concerning two new sciences. (pp. 83 – 135). Crew and De Savio translation. New York: Dover Pub. Read sections 128 – 130, and then sections 139 – 150.

In-Class: Session 5: Waves in Air Columns  -- Sound

Readings from Cutnell & Johnson: 17.1 – 17.8
Laboratory experiment: Sound
Philosophy/History/Education Research: A critical appraisal of Galileo’s account of pendulum motion.

Home Project Due: A resonant device with which to measure time.

Online Session 6: Doppler effect

Readings from Cutnell & Johnson: 16.7 – 16.10
Web assignment 3

Reading assignment for session 7:

  • Wittmann, M.C. (2002). The object coordination class applied to wavepulses: analyzing student reasoning in wave physics. In. Int. J. of Sci. Ed.  (24) 1, 97 –118.

  • Wittmann, M.C., Steinberg, R.N., and Redish, E.F (1999). Making sense of how students make sense of mechanical waves. Physics Teacher. 37, 15 – 21.

In-Class: Session 7: Midterm Test; Reflection of Light

Midterm test on Harmonic Motion and Waves
Philosophy/History/Education Research: Discussion in groups of assigned readings

Online Session 8: Reflection, spherical mirrors, ray diagrams.

Readings from Cutnell & Johnson: Chapter 25
Web assignment 4
Computer-Based Activities: Virtual optical bench.

Reading assignment for session 9:

  • Goldberg, F.M., McDermott, L.C. (1986). Student difficulties in understanding image formation by a plane mirror. Physics Teacher, 24, 472 – 480.

  • Goldberg, F.M., McDermott, L.C. (1987). An investigation of student understanding of the real image formed by a converging lens or concave mirror. Am. J. Phys. 55 (2) 108 – 119.

In-Class: Session 9: Lenses and ray diagrams.

Readings from Cutnell & Johnson: 26.6 – 26.9
Laboratory experiment: Geometrical optics.
Philosophy/History/Education Research: Discussion of the papers

Online Session 10: Refraction and total internal reflection.

Readings from Cutnell & Johnson: 26.1 – 26.5
Web assignment 5

Reading assignment for session 11:

  • Kuhn, T. (1996). II. The route to normal science. In  The structure of scientific revolutions. Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press.

In-Class: Session 11: Optical instruments.

Readings from Cutnell & Johnson: 26.9 – 26.10, 26.15
Take home exam handed out
Applications: The human eye and the camera.
Philosophy/History/Education Research: On Kuhn’s account of normal science and scientific revolutions.

Home Project Due: Home-made telescope or microscope.

Online Session 12: Light, color, and shadows.

Readings from Cutnell & Johnson: 26.11 – 26.14
Applications: Rods and cones in the human eye.

In-Class: Session 13: Wrap-up

Waves and optics post-tests
Student presentations
Take home exam due

Bibliography 

Selections from primary sources

Galileo, G. (1954). Dialogues concerning two new sciences. (Sections 127 – 150). Translation Crew and De Savio. New York: Dover Pub.
This text is now available Online from http://books.google.com/books?q=Galileo+Two+New+Sciences&btnG=Search+Books

 Selections from secondary sources

Matthews, M. (1994).  History and philosophy in the classroom: the case of the pendulum motion. In. Science teaching. The role of history and philosophy of science. New York: Routledge.

Selections from Education Research Literature

Goldberg, F.M., McDermott, L.C. (1986, November). Student difficulties in understanding image formation by a plane mirror. Physics Teacher, 24, 472-480.

Goldberg, F.M., McDermott, L.C. (1987). An investigation of student understanding of the real image formed by a converging lens or concave mirror. Am. J. Phys. 55 (2) 108 – 119.

Wittmann, M.C. (2002). The object coordination class applied to wavepulses: analyzing student reasoning in wave physics. Int. J. of  Sci. Ed. 24, 97 –118.

Wittmann, M.C., Steinberg, R.N., and Redish, E.F (1999). Making sense of how student’s make sense of mechanical waves. Physics Teacher. 37, 15-21.

Chi, M.T.H. and Slotta, J.D. (1993). The Ontological Coherence of Intuitive Physics. Cognition and Instruction, 10, 249-260.

Chi, M.T.H. (1997) Creativity: Shifting Across Ontological Categories Flexibly. In T.B. Ward, S.M. Smith and J. Vaid (eds.), Creative Thought: An Investigation of Conceptual Structures and Processes. Washington, D.C.: American Psychological Association. pp. 209 – 234.