As part of PhysicsCon 2020 - Celebration of Physics, James Lincoln (AAPTFilms) will portray Richard Feynman, accent and all, and give a 1 hour lecture on physics – with questions. The lecture will take place in the same Caltech lecture hall that Richard Feynman delivered his famous lectures in 1962-63. Richard Feynman (1918-1988) is often regarded as the greatest teacher of physics and brought colorful stories and eccentricities along with his enthusiastic instruction. In this lecture, Lincoln celebrates the mannerisms, energy, charisma, and gusto of the Nobel-Prize-winning professor as he might have been when he stood in the same place all those years ago.
Where did you get the
idea to do this?
“I didn’t set out to set out to impersonate Richard
Feynman, but I have been studying his work for a long time,” says Lincoln. “As
I became a teacher myself, I learned more about Feynman the man, and I was
intrigued by his work on the Challenger Investigation; an event I remember. But
my favorite aspect has always been these lectures, and I wanted to actually
watch one to know more about how they were made.”
How did you prepare for
“I already had listened to all of the original audio
recordings of The Feynman Lectures on Physics, which are available on
CDs, and I got at my local library. These helped me understand what it was like
to attend these lectures, but also I became very familiar with the teaching
style of Richard Feynman. I was always impressed by Feynman’s enthusiasm for
physics and in the recordings, there are a lot of ‘Feynmanisms’ – quirks, tricks,
and untold stories - that didn’t make it into the three red books. I shared
some of these at a national AAPT meeting [American Association of Physics
What makes you think you
can pull this impersonation?
during my presentation I would often have to quote him [Feynman] and I found I
was able to imitate his voice and word choice quite easily. I have always done
voices and impressions, and I also did plays in high school, and of course I
make films. But Richard Feynman is a unique character to play because he was
also a great physicist. I think it might take a physicist to get this part
right. Hopefully, people will learn some physics as well as get a chance to
experience one of these historic lectures. I suppose that I am mostly doing
this for the fun of it, which is very much in the spirit of Feynman, and
probably the only reason he might approve of such a performance.”
PhysicsCon 2020 is set to
take place in the Feynman Lecture Hall of Caltech and features demo shows,
workshops, and other talks on physics.
There are many demonstrations on how and why the sky is blue. But this one might be the simplest. In this video, Anna Spitz shows how to create a blue sky effect with just a glass of water and a drop of milk. It is called Rayleigh Scattering.
human eye is not without its flaws. Some
of these include the blind spot, poor peripheral vision, and the fact that our
retina is covered by blood vessels!
Normally, these arteries are invisible to us, but they can be made
visible with only a cell phone flashlight.
In this video Anna Spitz explains how to use a
flashlight to see your own retina.
The experimental set up – only a gently closed eyelid
and flashlight are needed.
human skin is partially transparent to light, especially red light, and we can
use this to see through our own eyelids.
(This experiment works, no matter what skin color you have!).
perform the experiment, turn a flashlight on and hold it DIRECTLY UPON your
gently closed eyelid. Then wiggle the
light as you look around with your eyes closed.
It seems to work best when the light is near the nose.
image similar of what you will see on the surface of your retina.
you succeed you will see several arteries emerging from a single location. This is the optic nerve. You might also notice a dark or grainy spot
in the center of the retina that has very few arteries near it. This spot is called the Fovea, the most
sensitive part of your eye.
A view of the author’s retina from a recent visit to
the eye doctor. Notice there are very
few arteries on the fovea, thereby not interfering with this most-sensitive
part of the eye.
optic nerve obstructs a small part of the retina from seeing. This location is known as the blind
spot. Our brains hallucinate a patch
over this blind spot so that we generally do not notice it.
fovea is darker because it absorbs more light, being the most sensitive part of
the eye. It is also the part you use to
read and see color. Generally, light
that is not landing on the fovea is quite blurry and the color vision is poor
peripherally. You can notice this by
looking at the wall and trying to read what is on the computer screen. YOU CAN’T DO IT! Even though you know there are words, they
aren’t legible. Also, at night, your
color vision is very poor so the fovea isn’t much help and your peripheral
vision is just as good as your central vision.
a final note, everyone’s retinas are different as you will easily see by
comparing these pictures, or any picture of a retina to your own. Thus, you can use retinal scans as an
alternative to finger print identification.
you are surprised that you have arteries in your eye and have been looking at
them your whole life but haven’t noticed, then consider this test. Are you wearing a shirt? You didn’t notice until you were asked
because you are used to it. Similarly,
we don’t notice we have arteries on our retina until a light hits them at an
angle to which we are unaccustomed.
HOW TO HEAR YOUR
Another experiment you can do with almost
no equipment is to hear your muscles. By
simply putting your fingers in your ears.
Anna Spitz demonstrates that by putting your fingers
in your ears, you can hear your own muscles.
low frequency rumbling about 30 Hz is the twitching of the muscle fibers in
your arms. Muscle cells are fibrous
bundles that grow and contract. They are
all over the body, but they only do one thing.
PULL. Muscles pull on tendons. They are even pulling when you think you are
at rest. They are pulling repeatedly
just to hold you in place.
A microscopic view of muscle cells. All they ever do is pull.
Flexing will increase the loudness of the muscle
people mistakenly believe that this sound is the flowing of blood, but this is
not the case. The twitching sound is not
timed with the heartbeat, and if you flex the muscle cells get louder.
is when two or more muscle groups pull against each other. For example, biceps and triceps can pull
against each other and the arm will stay in place even through the muscle
fibers are pulling and pulling. The
repeated pulling action of muscles we call twitching. The frequency of this action must be between
20 and 40 Hz because that is the frequency we hear.
Anna Spitz attempts to listen to other peoples’
as long as I have been a Physics Teacher, I have been interested in making the
Electric Field visible to my students.
This is IMPOSSIBLE because it is literally imaginary. Despite this challenge, I have researched and
demonstrated the best ways to display it.
What follows is a collection of videos I have created to demonstrate and
describe the Electric Field.
the best way to demonstrate it is with Potassium Permanganate crystals which
dissolve slowly on a damp saline cloth.
is not enough that we simply show the effects of the electric field, but we
must also know the rules of how it behaves.
Here are two videos I made for UCLA Physics on the Rules of Drawing
Electric Field Lines and Rules regarding the behavior of Conductors:
my research, I did create an original contribution to these demonstrations that
I think makes a classic work much better.
In this video, I have some more of my lettuce seed demonstrations. I have written an article about making this
yourself from a coat hanger and Styrofoam cups: