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Greenslade, Thomas B., Jr. – Physics Teacher, 2021
The Leaning Tower is a long-time staple of the demonstration room. It can be traced as far back as apparatus catalogues from the 1850s. Some years ago, while teaching himself how to use a new wood lathe, Thomas B. Greenslade, Jr. made a replica of the original design. With the top removed, the tower is stable, but once the top is added, the line…
Descriptors: Demonstrations (Educational), Science Instruction, Physics, Scientific Concepts
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Greenslade, Thomas B., Jr. – Physics Teacher, 2021
In the museum wing of the Greenslade house is a clock with a two-second pendulum about one meter long. This ticks once per second, and every time it passes through dead center it completes an electrical circuit. When I came to Kenyon in 1964, this system was used to send signals to a series of telegraph relays, which ticked once per second.…
Descriptors: Scientific Concepts, Motion, Science Instruction, Physics
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Greenslade, Thomas B., Jr. – Physics Teacher, 2021
About 30 years ago I taught a series of summer enrichment programs for high school physics teachers, using funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institutes. I deliberately chose teachers from smaller cities and towns who were unlikely to have contact with other physics teachers. One of my more interesting teachers came from a rural area in a far…
Descriptors: Physics, Science Instruction, Mechanics (Physics), Secondary School Science
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Greenslade, Thomas B., Jr. – Physics Teacher, 2021
Look along the shelves holding your laboratory apparatus and into the demo-prep room, and you will find apparatus by "Cenco" and "The Central Scientific Company" sharing space with your new PASCO equipment. At the 1989 AAPT meeting in San Luis Obispo I was asked to talk about Cenco in honor of one of its long-term employers and…
Descriptors: Universities, Physics, Science Instruction, Science Laboratories
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Greenslade, Thomas B., Jr. – Physics Teacher, 2021
Apparatus catalogues of the first half of the 20th century contain a number of clever and simple devices for measuring the index of refraction of a liquid. In some cases students can put together one of these pieces of apparatus and then make their own measurements. The Gilley board was one of the devices that caught my eye, and I would like to…
Descriptors: Physics, Science Instruction, Introductory Courses, Teaching Methods
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Greenslade, Thomas B., Jr. – Physics Teacher, 2020
One of the memories of my freshman year at Amherst was a lecture in the required physics/calculus course in which Arnold Arons quoted Isaac Newton on standing on the shoulders of giants. Now that I have spent my physics career, I still use the same quote, but now apply it to the eponymous apparatus that has been designed by the giants in our field.
Descriptors: College Science, Science Education, Required Courses, Physics
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Greenslade, Thomas B., Jr. – Physics Teacher, 2020
This note is about 1000 words in length. We have been taught that this much information is contained in a single picture. But, Fig. 1 is so rich that four separate ideas can be obtained from it! The figure appears in "The Boy's Playbook of Science" by John Henry Pepper. Pepper tells us that this shows an "assistant standing on the…
Descriptors: Physics, Science Instruction, Teaching Methods, Books
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Greenslade, Thomas B., Jr. – Physics Teacher, 2020
In a familiar demonstration, a hoop and a solid disk of the same diameter and mass are started from rest at the top of an inclined plane and race to the bottom. The disk reaches the bottom with a larger speed than the hoop and arrives first. Why?
Descriptors: Science Instruction, Scientific Concepts, Physics, Motion
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Greenslade, Thomas B., Jr. – Physics Teacher, 2020
A good paradox has the viewer confused, but the best paradoxes lead the viewer to try to understand what is happening. One of the author's favorites is the hydrostatic paradox, in which a short and slender column of water supports a relatively enormous weight. He describes the paradox using an illustration of a student who weighs 60 points stands…
Descriptors: Logical Thinking, Philosophy, Physics, Water
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Greenslade, Thomas B., Jr. – Physics Teacher, 2019
The Phantom Bouquet is a venerable lecture demonstration that does a fine job of showing how a concave spherical mirror can form a real, inverted image. In the original demonstration, a brightly illuminated artificial rose is hung by its stem in front of a concave spherical mirror. The distance from the reflecting surface to the rose is somewhat…
Descriptors: Science Instruction, Physics, Scientific Concepts, Demonstrations (Educational)
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Greenslade, Thomas B., Jr. – Physics Teacher, 2019
Ask a physics person what the name of Robert A. Millikan brings to mind, and most would immediately think of the eponymous experiments that he did with the charge on the electron in the years 1908 to 1913. A few might remember his work, starting in 1914, with the experimental determination of Planck's constant using the photoelectric effect. Few…
Descriptors: College Science, Scientists, Biographies, Physics
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Greenslade, Thomas B., Jr. – Physics Teacher, 2018
Some of you may remember the 1979 television series "Connections" that was written and narrated by James Burke, a British science writer. Burke's technique was to choose a number of seemingly unrelated ideas and show how they led to developments in science and technology. This is an enjoyable business, even if some of the connections…
Descriptors: Science History, Physics, Scientific Concepts, Energy
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Greenslade, Thomas B., Jr. – Physics Teacher, 2018
Recently I have been investigating the frequency response of galvanometers. These are direct-current devices used to measure small currents. By using a low-frequency function generator to supply the alternating-current signal and a stopwatch smartphone app to measure the period, I was able to take data to allow a resonance curve to be drawn. This…
Descriptors: Physics, Scientific Concepts, Measurement Equipment, Handheld Devices
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Greenslade, Thomas B., Jr. – Physics Teacher, 2017
Charles Wheatstone's name was once familiar to students because they used his eponymous bridge to measure resistances. That usage seems to be disappearing--we all have access to digital ohmmeters--but the techniques that he developed for making electrical measurements can still be used with profit. Also, his work with measuring very short time…
Descriptors: Science Instruction, Measurement Techniques, Music, Acoustics
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Greenslade, Thomas B., Jr. – Physics Teacher, 2016
This article is about a late 19th-century teacher of secondary school physics. I was originally interested in the apparatus that he sold. This led me to the physics books that he wrote, and these took me to his unusual ideas about ways to use laboratory time to introduce students to the phenomena of physics. More than 100 years later educational…
Descriptors: Introductory Courses, Physics, Science Laboratories, Educational Practices
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