AAPT Abstract Archive

Abstract Information

  Session: The Role and Implementation of Upper-level E&M
  Paper Type: Contributed
  Title: Integration in Electrostatics with a Computational Perspective
  Meeting: 2014 Summer Meeting: Minneapolis, Minnesota
  Location: N/A
  Time: 2:10PM
  Author: David Roundy, Oregon State University
5412500137, roundyd@physics.oregonstate.edu
  Co-Author(s): Eric J. Krebs, Jeff B. Schulte
  Abstract: Many students struggle to understand and use the principles of "chopping and adding" when integrating over a charge distribution to find the electrostatic potential or electric field. I will introduce a sequence of computational lab activities that help students to better grasp these concepts by writing python programs to compute these quantities numerically. Thus the students are literally adding up the potential (or field) due to small chunks of charge, which provides a perspective on integration in three dimensions that is complementary to the perspective students bring from their calculus courses. Theses activities have been developed as part of a laboratory course that runs parallel to the Paradigms in Physics sequence, and teaches the same physics content. However, the activities and the course should require little modification to work alongside a traditional course in electromagnetism. This work is funded by the NSF grant DUE-1141330.
  Footnotes: None
  Presentation: Roundy-electrostatics.pdf

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