Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

High school teacher looking for data students can work with

  1. Dec 22, 2015 #1
    I will be working with a group of high school students on introductory modern physics. They've studied classical physics, chemistry and differential calculus. Some will be taking integral calculus concurrently. We work from Weidner and Sells Elementary Modern Physics. I do not see much I can do to collect data with them, and so am looking for sources of data they can work with. They will be able to do basic calculations with relativistic momentum and energy (as well as the Lorentz transformations).

    Any suggestions would be very welcome.
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 23, 2015 #2


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Can you say more about what data you are looking for? And you've posted this in the Quantum forum -- will the students be working with Quantum Mechanics?
  4. Dec 23, 2015 #3
    there are some reasonably priced slit experiment setups. photoelectric effect work function experiments are also reasonable to set up. maybe some kind of squid experiment (superconductor), or hall effect (not super quantum, but can talk about holes and positrons, which is modern). also, i think a band gap experiment would be cool, control the energy of the source to see if how much potential is needed to overcome the band gap (so you can demonstrate the potential well excersices typical of intro QM). even a simple demonstration of a laser pointer on cd vs. dvd vs. blu-ray would demonstrate reciprocal lattice stuff and k-space. maybe a field trip to a linear accelerator (if you have one), or xrd/sem machine (compton/braggs).

    there are apps that can detect muons and stuff now: http://wipac.wisc.edu/deco . muon decay is a typical relativity demonstration (time dilation). but deco doesnt seem to be able to get the counts needed for this demonstration.

    some of the experiments here seem doable: https://physics.ucsd.edu/students/courses/spring2010/physics2dl/labmanual.pdf . there are pleanty of modern physics lab manuals you can look at for ideas.
    diffraction grating of sodium bulb, you might be able to set up an interferometer for a reasonable price. modern physics has so many tie-ins that you have a great scope to work with.
  5. Dec 23, 2015 #4
    The students start with relativistic dynamics and kinematics, then move into quantum theory. The text introduces that through the photoelectric effect and then builds on the theory through explaining x-ray production, Bremsstrahlung, the Compton effect, photon-electron interactions and photon absorption. Then it takes up duality through x-ray and electron diffraction. I am not, though, wed to that presentation or sequence.

    I was thinking there might be data sets we could access and analyze. I have found, for example, posted measurements from a photoelectric effect experiment, although it was only a handful of trials. Something like authentic data that could be understood in terms of the Compton effect, for example, would be helpful.
  6. Dec 23, 2015 #5


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Education Advisor

    For photoelectric effect, the standard or common experiment is to measure the stopping potential for each frequency or wavelength of light used.


    The analysis done for such data is to calculate Planck constant and the work function of the material.

Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook