Tuesday, February 8, 2011

University of Maryland Physics Visits TMA

A special report by Thurgood Marshall Academy Physics teacher Kena Allison:

On Friday, February 4, University of Maryland physicists Luis Orozco and Jeff Grover spoke to TMA physics students about waves, light, and the application of light to historical and modern technology. Dr. Orozco shared his work with lasers to slow atoms and explained how applying this to fields like telecommunication helps our cell phones and iPods become smaller and faster.

Additionally, students were provided with demonstration kits that allowed them to explore lenses and the polarization of light. Students were engaged and impressed to learn how polarization applies to sunglasses and transition lenses. They were equally intrigued by their use of magnified lenses to create a telescope that allowed them to read a sign with small print on the far end of the basketball court from the stage.

Students were impressed, calling the presentation “awesome.” They were also wowed by the physicists themselves; “Luis’s explanation of how light travels in waves was very detailed and comprehensive.” Another student added, “I appreciate the speakers speaking to us like we were young adults or college students,” and “they showed us how physics applied to everyday life…I loved the interactive kits.”

Luis and Jeff not only generously donated their time and expertise, but also gave the kits to each student and a Galileoscope (model of Galileo’s telescope) to the school. Luis ended the event by reminding students that science is changing the world. He encouraged them to always stay informed about science, even if they pursue careers in other areas.

TMA hopes to work with the duo again during the electricity unit.

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