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Physics 208 – Modern Physics Winter Quarter 2010
Lake Tahoe Community College
Robert Dickerson Ph.D.
Bob, Robert, Dr. D
Office: 601 Hwy 50, Zephyr Cove NV
Office hours: almost any time, almost anywhere, always by appointment.
I attended Compton Junior College for two years, graduating with an AA in June 1960. Worked for the summer at Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. in Southgate CA. Transferred to USC with a Nat’l Defense Student Loan to help pay the $450/semester tuition and other expenses, then I received a TLARGI scholarship which paid the tuition. I graduated with a BS, CHE, from USC Magna Cum Laude in 1962. Started work at Rocketdyne, Research Division, July 1962. My supervisor advised me that, as part of my job, I should continue my education, and Rocketdyne at that time paid full tuition. USC had a great evening program, so I typically took 6 units per semester and graduated with MS, CHE in 1965. Because I was working in a research organization, and had already published a couple of technical papers, I was excused from writing an MS thesis. While working on my MS, I had opportunity to teach an upper division course titled Combustion. I really enjoyed that even though it was a lot of work. Because of that enjoyment, I am here today.
After my MS, I started work on my PhD (what else was there to do?). I graduated with my PhD from USC in February, 1970. My thesis subject was “Electrochemistry of Dental Enamel Decay,” relating dental enamel damage to the electrochemical processes common in pitting corrosion. This was an excellent choice of subject because nothing had ever been done in this area, making it very easy to perform original research. The research was done Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays, while still working at Rocketdyne, but with a company scholarship that allowed me to work only 32 hours per week.
While at Rocketdyne, I started out studying single droplet combustion at high pressures with emphasis on the effects of pressure perturbations. The purpose was to uncover causes of combustion instability in the F-1 rocket engine. I performed research on single droplet breakup by severe shock wave effects, liquid atomization using a frozen wax technique, and then the 1970’s came along with severe cutbacks in the aerospace budgets. In the early 1970’s we found funds wherever we could, and I ended up developing an air deployable ocean buoy that anchored itself at 700 ft. depth in waters much deeper. We also developed underwater gas generators for sono-buoy applications, using reactions of seawater with lithium hydride and electrolysis of seawater.
Times were looking a little tough in the early 1970’s. Our company of 25,000 employees dropped to 2500, but I managed to stay on in the research areas. As a backup, I started a part time TV repair business that flourished for about four years. Then I became so busy at Rocketdyne I had to decide to dedicate myself to my engineering career.
As time moved on, in the early 1970’s, we desperately procured an EPA contract to reduce emissions in residential oil burners. At the same time Rocketdyne was looking for new avenues, and they started a group directed toward laser weapon research. One day, in 1975, a member of the laser group dropped by my cubicle and asked if I would like to design a supersonic nozzle for a chemical laser. The nozzle needed to mix gases at very low pressure and high speed to accommodate the combustion kinetics fluorine atom reactions with hydrogen to produce excited HF. I have worked in lasers ever since, working on laser cavity mixing, chemical kinetics, and optical quality issues, as other aspects of the laser design. The HF/DF lasers gave way to COIL (Chemical Oxygen Iodine Laser) lasers in the late 1980’s. I enjoyed this work immensely and had the opportunity to interact with many highly educated scientists in the fields of optics and spectroscopy. I retired from Rocketdyne in 1996, and continued to work full time for them as a Consultant/Job Shopper until the present. During this busy career, I had the opportunity to publish many papers on the subjects we studied. More recently, I spent a half year in 2007 working for the Air Force to develop chemical methods for preparation of laser reactants.
Not to let real work interfere with hobbies, I started a side effort in real estate. I earned my California broker’s license in the early 1980’s. My ex-wife and I opened a real estate office in 1988, for which I was the responsible broker. We had 10 agents, and peaked out at 105 active escrows in 1990. At the same time we opened a restaurant with 25 employees. Still working full time at Rocketdyne, I was a very busy little guy. My office is still open today, but under the stewardship of a new broker since 1996. The restaurant was sold and has been re-sold several times over by other owners.
In 2002 my lovely wife and I moved to Lake Tahoe. My Consulting job with Rocketdyne took me to Albuquerque every week, so I reasoned that I could do that just as well from Lake Tahoe. I still did not want to give up real estate so I earned my Nevada broker’s license in 2003. I worked part time in real estate at C21 and Prudential for several years. At Prudential, I ended up being the only person at the Nevada office, so I had plenty of time on my hands. While flying back and forth to New Mexico for laser work, I thought about the physics of dice throwing and ended up writing a book on craps while at the real estate office.
The craps became a little mundane, so more recently I did some personal study of hurricanes based on an idea I had about the genesis of these violent expressions of nature. The thought was that clouds are electrically charged and they are moving in the earth magnetic field. I found, as I expected, that electro-dynamic forces generated by charged cloud motion generates a right hand turn in the northern hemisphere and a left hand turn in the southern hemisphere. This is complementary to the Coriolis Effect that is generally believed to be the underlying cause of circular motion in hurricanes. Electro-dynamic effects may even be a prime driver, but the extensive models used by meteorologists do not include them. There are methods to counteract the electro-dynamic effects, which makes this line of study very interesting. While at the real estate office, I worked on the physics of hurricanes, especially as related to charged clouds, and I wrote a paper on the subject. I presented the paper on the subject at the American Meteorological Society in 2007. I am still involved in the hurricane subject matter and had a small research study planned for last summer, but I was interrupted by the purchase of a 1990 corvette convertible (for $3500) which needed a lot of work. I am almost done with that corvette, but have since purchased 3 additional vintage corvettes. One was slightly crunched in a rear end accident, and I am currently repairing that vehicle. My Grand Cherokee was a basket case, needing a new crankshaft which I dutifully installed (about 40 hours work). Looking for new snow tire rims, I came across another Grand Cherokee with the same problem, and purchased it just for the rims/snow tires. I will probably put a new crankshaft in that vehicle after the final exam.
Most recently, my efforts to explain physics to students led me to work on a new model for the physics of mass and gravity. This model is still in its embryonic stage, but it seems to explain physical configurations of galaxies, solar systems, moons and Saturn's rings. I am very excited about this model.
I am very enthused about teaching this class. It gives me the opportunity to review physics and interact with students interested in the subject. My hope is to be able to pass on fundamental understanding and feel for the subject. I do not expect students to memorize equations or details, but I do expect them to know where to find the equations and details, and to know how to apply the same to real problems. As in industry, we will at all times have an open book policy during study or examinations (except for daily quizzes)
You have already been through ¾ of this course, and by now you surely realize that this is one of the most comprehensive lines of study that you will ever undertake in the sciences. Some of the material we will study this quarter is difficult to prove, and such proof is beyond the scope of this class. Much will at first seem counter-intuitive. So you will, to some extent, be “brainwashed” by examples that show the approach makes sense in the physical world. The goal is to make you believe in those approaches, and perhaps to someday be able to yourself contribute to the world understanding of physics. In the last half century, progress in physics has not seen such dramatic leaps as it did in the previous 5 or 6 decades. Perhaps you can change that.
Physics for Scientists and Engineers with Modern Physics, Seventh Edition, Serway and Jewett, Thompson Brooks/Cole. ISBN: 0-495-11245-3
In addition, each student needs a quad-ruled laboratory notebook (available in the bookstore).
Course time and location:
Lecture: Tue & Thur, 1:00pm – 2:50pm, room D108
Lab 1: Fri 8:00 a.m. – 10:50 p.m., room D103
Final Exam: Thur, Mar 22, 1:00pm -2:50pm . room D108
PHY 207 with a grade of "C" or better or equivalent.
Important 2012 Dates:
Last day for refunds Fri,Jan 13th
Last day to drop with no record Fri,Jan 27th
Last day to drop with a “W” grade Thur Feb16th
Martin Luther King’s Day Holiday Mon Jan 16th
Presidents Holiday Fri-Mon Feb 17th,Feb20th
Exam Dates: (See schedule)
Tue Mar 20 -Fri Mar 23. Physics 208 Final Exam thur Mar 22 1:00pm-2:50pm
This course satisfies the lower-division physics requirement for a major in physics, physical science, chemistry, geology, or engineering. Topics include: relativity, quantum physics, atomic physics. The course will include discussions, demonstrations, problem solving, and group activities. Bring your calculator to class every day, the instructor needs your help. Attendance and participation in class activities is extremely important to your learning
Homework will be assigned frequently, per the schedule. Homework with an honest effort to properly solve the problems will be awarded 100%, while no attempt will be graded 0%. Homework is generally due one week after assigned, but will be accepted somewhat later., Most of the homework I plan to assign will come with the answers, either at the end of the book or supplied by myself. It is the thought process and approach that I would like to see you understand, and I am not sure those elements can be evaluated except by looking at your work. If you do not get the correct answer, you will give the problem more thought and perhaps gain understanding. If you still do not get the correct answer, perhaps I made a mistake. We will discuss the homework in class.
Daily Quizzes, very short and simple in nature, but closed book, will be given at the beginning of each lecture. No makeup quizzes will be given. The daily quizzes will be pass/fail (100%/0%), and are designed solely to verify that you have done the assigned reading. The lowest 5 daily quizzes, or missed quizzes will be omitted from your grade computation.
Section Quizzes will be given four times during the term. The section quizzes will be one hour in length. No makeup quizzes will be given, but The final exam will be the equivalent of two section quizzes. One quiz, or 1/2 of the final exam score will be omitted from your grade computation.
No make-up quizzes will be given. If you have a legitimate, college sanctioned excused absence, and you notify the instructor prior to missing the quiz, the grade for the missed quiz will be determined statistically. Unexcused absences will result in a zero for the missed work. Quizzes carry minimal impact on the final grade, and are intended to prepare students for subsequent exams.
Only in extreme circumstances (such as hospitalization) will students be allowed to take section quizzes at a time other than the scheduled exam time. Arrangements must be made with the instructor prior to the scheduled exam time.
In order to receive full credit for problems (on quizzes and exams), you must show how you attained the solution. Partial credit will be given for solutions that are partially correct. The correct answer with no work to corroborate how the result was attained may result in a zero for that question. See attached grading rubric for more information on grading policies for this course.
The following scale will be used for determining letter grades.
A: (90 – 100%) B: (80 – 89%) C: (70 – 79%) D: (60 – 69%) F: Less than 60%
I genuinely believe that students getting this far in this course of study should be easily able to achieve at least a B in this course. Please do not try to prove me wrong.
Students are expected to perform their own work on all assignments in this course. I strongly encourage you to study with a partner or in study groups; it is fine to work together on homework assignments and in the lab. However, the work you turn in must be your own, and should not be identical to the work of another student. Quizzes and exams are to be completed by your self. Dishonesty on an exam, quiz, homework, or lab report will result in a zero grade for that assignment. See the “Student Rights and Responsibilities” section of the LTCC catalogue for further disciplinary action pertaining to academic dishonesty. Cheating is a very serious offence. Integrity is much more valuable than the result of an assignment. Do your own personal best and the results will take you further than you might imagine.
Tips for Success in Physics:
Student Learning Outcomes:
The successful student will:
1. Analyze problems involving optics, special relativity, quantum mechanics, atomic physics, nuclear physics, and fundamental particles.
2. Describe and discuss the concepts associated with relativity and quantum mechanics.
3. Identify the consequences of Einstein's postulates of relativity.
4. Verify the photon concept of light with experiments on the photo-electric effect.
Students with Disabilities:
Students with disabilities who may need accommodations for this class are encouraged to notify the instructor and contact the Disability Resource Center (DRC) early in the quarter so that reasonable accommodations may be implemented as soon as possible. Students may contact the DRC by visiting the Center (located in room A205) or by phoning (530) 541-4660 ext. 249 (voice) or (530) 542-1870 (TTY for deaf students).
All information will remain confidential.