UNIVERSITY OF WISCONSIN River Falls
"Sunset, early Fall colors and several willing pilots provided an excellent background and platform for capturing first person footage for use in the Physics Department's Digital Dome. The aircraft are SNJs, WWII era Navy advanced trainers. The Air Force version is known a Texan or AT-6, both versions are sometimes called Pilot-Makers and are powered by Pratt and Whitney R1340 radial engines. The passenger in the open cockpit is Physics instructor, Arriety Lowell. Photograph by Max Haynes"
to the UWRF Physics Department, part of the University of Wisconsin System's Center of Excellence for Undergraduate Physics and Chemistry.
We are dedicated to helping students learn physics by providing a rigorous curriculum within a supportive environment.
Our mission includes excellent teaching, individualized advising, quality scholarship and public outreach.
UW-River Falls Physics alumna Yvette Richardson published in Physics Today - "What we know and don't know about tornado formation"
UW-River Falls named in American Physical Society list of Highest Numbers of Undergraduate Physics Degree Institutions 2010-2012
National Science Teachers Association Reports "The Evolution of Upward Bound". UW-River Falls Physic department Chair, Jim Madsen and Steve Stevenoski are featured under "Sophisticated STEM"
Presentations are given in the UW-River Falls Planetarium the first Monday of the month at 7:00 PM. The presentations are free, open to the public and suitable for all ages. Seating is limited to 50 people.
Monday, November 3 - Planets
Monday, December 1 - Constellations: Circumpolar and Zodiac
UWRF's Direct Measurement Videos make a Splash
Matt Vonk (UWRF Physics) and Peter Bohacek (Henry Sibley High School in Mendota Heights, MN) have teamed up to make what they call Direct Measurement Videos, or DMV's, which are short videos of real events that are shot in such a way (high resolution, good lighting, fast frame-rates, uncluttered backgrounds, appropriate camera angles, etc.) so that students can make measurements from them.
Dr. Vonk describes it this way, "Instead of handing students a word problem that describes a car skidding on the ice, we actually take a car out and slide it on the ice." From rocket launches, to water jetpacks, to rollercoaster loop-the-loops, the DMV video collection has steadily grown since the project received a National Science Foundation grant in the fall of 2013.
The DMV's were featured in MIT's free online Mechanics Review MOOC (Massively Open Online Course) led by Nobel Laureate Dave Pritchard.
The project was recently featured on National Public Radio's Marketplace.
DMV's are also available on the course management platform WebAssign, one of the leaders in the industry.
"I'm really excited about how quickly the project has taken off" said Vonk, "and it provides such a nice complement to the transition to active learning that is happening in the introductory mechanics classes at UWRF."
In the future, Vonk hopes to make the videos even more interactive by allowing students to change important parameters (mass, radius, etc) and to branch off into other disciplines like geology and biology. "Physics is everywhere" he adds, "we just have to make it visible."
Undergraduate Astrophysics Research Blog - Summer 2014
UWRF will host the Science Olympiad Border Battle, January 25, 2015.
Check the Astronomy Talks and Observatory Schedule for our next stargazing session.
Scholarship opportunities exist to help support your studies.
Check out the incredibly diverse careers using physics.