Fall 2010

Thursday 9/16/10

We built mini-spud guns!



Due to other commitments, some of the officers had to step down.  The officers for this year are:

We voted for next year's officers.  They are

President - Rachel

Vice President - Andrew

Secretary - Sydne

Treasurer - ?



Thursday 8/26/10

The first meeting of the semester.


We discussed activities for the semester, which will include:


astronomy camping night

astronomy night at UMKC

journal club


Professor Kruger gave Fresnel lenses to everyone and we went outside to see them work.



Spring 2010

Friday 4/9/10

We voted for next year's officers.  They are

President - Rachel

Vice President - Joe

Secretary - Heather

Treasurer - Andrew

Congratulations to the officers, and thank you for agreeing to serve.


We discussed preparations for the SPS picnic. 



SPS/Physics Picnic

Thursday, August 29th at 4 pm

Loose Park (near the children's playground)

Friends and family are welcome.




We also reviewed dimensional analysis and how GI Taylor used it to determine the energy of the first atomic bomb blast and by looking at photos like this one.



We then moved on to using dimensional analysis to determine the equation (to within a dimensionless proportionality constant) governing the periods of  simple and physical pendulums.


Friday 4/9/10

We discussed the SPS picnic, the astro trip that didn't happen and the need for officers for next year.


We made an order of magnitude calculation to determine how the jumping height of animals depends upon the animals mass (it doesn't), and also discussed how much money an armored car carries and if it's worthwhile to convert $20 bills into gold in order to save on weight.


We built speakers using a design found on the web:






Friday, 3/19/10

We learned another math trick, how to multiply 2 digit numbers by 11.  We also opened hard disks and salvaged the magnets.  There was at least one blood blister from skin getting caught between two magnets.


Saturday, 2/6/10

Webelos on Wheels (WoW) was a success; it was fun, educational and we had around 150 scouts attend.  This brings our 7 year total to almost 1000 scouts. Thanks to David Wieliczka for organizing it and all of the UMKC students who helped make it happen.  Here are a few photos.









We received a few thank you notes which are reproduced below (with names deleted).  Although they're addressed to Professor Kruger, they are really intended for all who participated.










Friday, 2/5/10

We discussed:

a) Webelos on Wheels which will be held on Saturday, February 6 (tomorrow).


b) Math tricks


c) We built simple electric motors.  


Friday, 1/22/10

We discussed:

a) Webelos on Wheels which will be held on Saturday, February 6.   So far 8 people have signed up.  If you'd like to help too, please send an email to: wieliczkad@umkc.edu


b) trip to Fermilab


c) trip to the UM Columbia reactor


d) camping star gazing


e) need to vote for officers for 2010-2011


f) the new telescope (called the Galileoscope) that we received from SPS.  To find out more about the Galileoscope go to: https://www.galileoscope.org/gs/


We also built cloud chambers.  Thanks go to Paul Rulis for figuring out a very inexpensive way to build one.  Here's what they looked like.  The white 'rock' on the top is a bit of KCl.  There's enough of the radioactive isotope of K in the KCl for it to act as a radioactive emitter and make viewing more interesting.





Paul brought in his cloud chamber (below) and we took video of it which you can see here.





1/21/10  Announcement

Meetings for this semester will be at noon in the Physics Conference room (rm 256 Flarsheim) on the following Fridays:


1/22 (make cloud chambers, plan Webelos on Wheels, discuss this semester's activities)














SPS members and physics students will receive email reminders as well as updates if there is a change in the schedule.




Fall 2009


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

At today's meeting, Professor Leibsle gave us pointers for how to improve our chances of getting into the graduate school of our choice. (and pizza)


Thursday, November 12, 2009

We presented some demos at the Olathe North Science Night.  Thanks to Bob, Burla, Dao and Sarah for helping out.





Wednesday, November 3, 2009


a) Olathe Science Night on November 12.  It's not too late to sign up.


b) Bridge building - The competition will be held on Friday, January 22 at 1 pm.  We'll meet in room 246 (Physics Introductory Lab) of Flarsheim Hall.  See Professor Kruger if you need a copy of the rules, graph paper, wood or any help.  You can also watch the model building video.  The competition rules are here, and graph paper is here.


c) Professor McIntosh hosted, "Q&A with an Astronomer."  This was very interesting and today's meeting went overtime due to the interest.


d) Pizza!



Thursday, October 22, 2009

Burla took an SEM of an optical fiber that he cut with a razor.  He's looking to cut one with something that is specifically designed to cut fibers and compare the quality of the cuts.




Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Thursday, October 19, 2009

Our SPS advisor, Professor Kruger, was a finalist for the Outstanding Chapter Advisor Award.  Here's the email that was sent by Gary White, the Director of the Society of Physics Students:


After reading through dozens of these letters in awe, Awards Committee 2 of SPS has identified 18 finalists in the Outstanding Chapter Advisor Award; I wanted to share their names with SPS members and with you, the SPS leadership. In reverse alphabetical order by school here they are:

Jerome Wilson
  Univ. of Wiconsin-Platteville

Alina Gearba
  Univ. of Southern Mississippi

Michael Kruger
  Univ. of Missouri-Kansas City

Anatoliy Glushchenko
 Univ. of Colorado at Colorada Springs

Richard Cardenas
 St. Marys University

Peter Sheldon
  Randolph College

Daniela Buna
  Ramapo College

Robert Kaye
  Ohio Wesleyan University

Dan Miller
  Millikin University

Michael Rogers
  Ithaca College

Steve Shropshire
 Idaho State University

Charles Niederriter
 Gustavus Adolphus College

Diane Jacobs
  Eastern Michigan University

Charles Stone
  Colorado School of Mines

John Lindner
  College of Wooster

Sharon Rosell
  Central Washington Univ.

Cecilia Vogel
  Augustana College

Toni Sauncy
  Angelo State University


Wednesday, October 7, 2009

In addition to eating pizza, at today's meeting (which had 17 in attendance) we:

t-shirt 2009-2010




Wednesday, September 23, 2009

High speed (1,000 frames per second) video of a water drop landing on a pool of water.  As a freshman, Professor Kruger and his roommate had wondered about this.


We've burned steel wool and made fire pistons so it was only a matter of time before we put steel wool into a fire piston to see what would happen.  Here it is in real time and with high speed video.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

We took some video of the vacuum cannon that we built last semester.  Here it is with regular video and here with high speed video.



Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Some new people showed today, so we began by going around the room and introducing ourselves.   Announcements:

a)     forms for free AIP memberships

b)     MMA Club meets Tuesday mornings at 9:30 in room 304 of Swinney


We discussed the 4 or 5 t-shirt designs that Andrew and Jennifer showed.  They were asked to improve upon the rough sketches of 3 of the designs and bring them to our next meeting.


We spent some time discussing which observatory to go to and when.  Since we didn’t know many of the details, Jenny said she’d get them and we’d continue this discussion next week.


Today’s ‘make and take’ stayed with the fire starting theme begun at the last meeting.  We went ‘high tech’ and used a battery and steel wool.  When a bit of steel wool closes the circuit, current flows and there’s substantial Joule heating.  The steel wool gets hot enough to burn, (see video).






Wednesday, September 3, 2009

Fire pistonWe had our first SPS meeting of the academic year where we introduced the officers and discussed plans for this semester.  We’re would like to make t-shirts, visit two local observatories, and have ‘make and takes’ at every meeting.


This week we made fire pistons. Under adiabatic compression, the temperature of a gas increases.  If the temperature gets high enough, fuel placed in the fire piston will combust.   See photo at left of the demonstration fire piston.


Here's video of the transparent fire piston, captured at 1,000 fps, so you can better see what's going on.













Below is the finished "make and take" product as well as the individual parts needed to make the fire piston.  We followed designs that we saw in the internet, using an aluminum nipple as the cylinder and cutting aluminum rod for the piston.  You’ll notice a groove that was machined in order to hold the O-ring in place.  One place we differ from designs that we saw is that we used a set screw to cap the cylinder.  We put a bit of epoxy on the threads in order to prevent air escaping.  By using the set screw we avoid the need for filling the end cap with epoxy (in order to reduce dead volume).With our design the large end cap is just a handle.    We wish to thank Les Porter for doing the machining.  Here's a video of one of them in action.


fire pistons


Here's a bit of what wiki has to say about the origins of fire pistons.

"Fire pistons have been used by native peoples of South East Asia and the Pacific Islands as a means of kindling fire since prehistory. They are found in cultures where the blow pipe is used as a weapon and this suggests they may have developed out of blow pipe construction. Their use has been reported from Burma, the Malay Peninsula, Indo-China, Borneo, Sumatra, Java, Kalimantan, Sulawesi, the Philippines, Madagascar and South India."




2007-2009 News



HOME          Contacts: Jennifer Nielsen, JLNielsen@umkc.edu, Michael Kruger, KrugerM_at_umkc.edu