A star is set to be born in southern France. A humongous effort costing over $ 20 billion is being made to construct a nuclear reactor like never before, a special steel cauldron where fusion energy could be tapped; it is called the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER).
Counter culture, anti-establishment stance and apathy towards bureaucracy marked the decade of the 1960s – not only in the US or the European first world but also in the other relatively damped out countries as well. This apparent lack of interest in the commune at large probably had its measures somewhere else.
One of the most fascinating things we see and experience as children is watching sparrows and eagles flying up in the sky, often in formation, and sometimes all by themselves. Which child, or adult, does not fantasize about flying on their own, soaring and gliding up and down the sky and experiencing the beauty and the panoramic view of the world below while doing so?
You say that to find the potential at a point in the vicinity of a charge, I must find out how much work I have to do to bring a one coulomb charge from very far away to that point?” the student asked. “Yes!” I replied, relieved that I had finally been able to get the point across, “and this is exactly the work that is stored in the unit charge as potential energy”.
I am an astrophysicist by training and at graduate school I specialized in just one star, the sun. In my research career I expanded this specialization to include the study of the sun’s effects on the earth. And today I am a science manager of a program called “Living with a Star” (LWS), our sun, at NASA.
What if you realize that some of your students have the potential to become great physicists? What if you know that if you nurture their interest in science and help them develop knowledge and skills, they will extend human knowledge in the future? They may work with the finest of universities and research labs and come up with breakthroughs for the problems that we are facing today. What can you do as their physics teacher to help them succeed as physicists?
More often than not, the Nobel Prize is awarded to inventions and discoveries which are extremely hard for the common man to understand. Ranging from the invention of the cyclotron to the discovery of the Cherenkov Effect, even students of science find it hard to make sense of the details of the subject of the prize winners. However, this year a seemingly simple invention was conferred the Nobel Prize for Physics: the blue LED light.