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March 19, 2020 Physics Olympics

2020 Physics Olympics

Thursday, March 19, 2020

 8:30 AM - 1:00 PM

Lupton Hall at Farmingdale State College


School Name



MacArthur HS

George Donovan


* Bellmore JFK HS

Russell Lella


Mepham HS

William Leacock


Division Avenue HS

Jeff Miller


* Walt Whitman HS

Jaime Rogers


Plainview Old Bethpage JFK HS

Susan Wetzler


Comsewogue HS  

Brett Thompson  


* New Hyde Park Memorial HS  

Matthew Testa  
































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* = Student names submitted; thanks!

 Plan ahead: LIPTA Spring Conference Saturday, 3/7/2020 8:30AM-noon

 Physics Teacher Events & News




Physics Demos by John Johnston


LIPTA FALL 2018 CONFERENCE is now over, BUT you can still get the 'resistor boards'.  Sold in groups of 10 for $100, delivered to your school. Send a PO to the address in the box above.  OR, you can buy them yourself: Send a personal check to the address in the box above



SUNYSB will provide attendance certification for each of the lectures attended during the Spring 2020 semester. NYS teachers who wish to receive CTLE credit for any of these lectures must register HERE  You must register for each lecture you attend and sign-in at the lecture. The Graduate

Thurs 1/23

PHYSICS LECTURE AT BROOKHAVEN NATIONAL LABORATORY   4PM, Building 510, Large Conference Room "Enrico Fermi: Voyage to a New World" by Ed Sierra. Bring a photo ID to show at the guard house.  Coffee and Refreshments will be provided at 3:45PM

Fri 2/7

ASTRONOMY LECTURE AT SUNYSB  ESS 001; 7:30PM James Lattimer, “Gravitational Waves Galore” The LIGO/Virgo gravitational wave detections of the first binary black hole merger, in 2015, and the first binary neutron star merger, in 2017, opened a new dimension in observational astronomy. They not only further confirmed Einstein's General Theory of Relativity but also validated long-standing theories of gamma-ray bursts and of heavy element creation. Furthermore, they are revealing new populations of black holes and important constraints on neutron star structure and the dense matter equation of state. The number of detections has increased astronomically in the last year: to date, over 50 candidates have been observed, including 6 black hole-neutron star mergers. This talk will summarize what has been learned from these discoveries.

Fri 2/14

BIOLOGY LECTURE AT SUNYSB    Wang Center Auditorium; 7:30PM, Darwin Day 2020 Lecture– Note that the lecture is held in the Wang Center Auditorium. Parking is free in the SBU Main Entrance Parking Structure, Jeroen Smaers, “The Evolution of the Brain and Intelligence” One of the enduring questions in Darwin’s theory of evolution is how it explains the evolution of what is arguably the most complex biological system: the brain of higher vertebrates. As the biological substrate of behavior, the brain plays a key role in shaping life on earth. But despite its importance, some of the most fundamental questions about its evolution remain unanswered. For example, how did intelligence evolve multiple times independently in distantly related species? In the last two decades technological advancements in neuroimaging have spurred a genuine data revolution in the neurosciences. This new data is allowing for in-depth studies of an ever increasing variety of species. In this presentation I will use the full array of diversity in brain structure and function across higher vertebrates to describe how the latest research in brain evolution informs on large scale patterns of species evolution, what ‘intelligence’ consists of, and who we are as a species.  

Fri 2/21

PHYSICS LECTURE AT SUNYSB  ESS 001; 7:30PM Cyrus Dreyer, “Understanding solids with supercomputers, many electrons at a time” According to visionary American physicist Richard Feynman:

“If, in some cataclysm, all of scientific knowledge were to be destroyed, and only one sentence passed on to the next generation of creatures, what statement would contain the most information in the fewest words? I believe it is the atomic hypothesis that all things are made of atoms — little particles that move around in perpetual motion, attracting each other when they are a little distance apart, but repelling upon being squeezed into one another.”

The properties of the materials that make up the world around us are governed by how these atoms attract and repel each other. For example, whether a solid is hard and translucent like diamond, or soft and opaque like graphite; whether a material conducts electricity and heat like copper, or prevents the flow of electricity and heat like rubber; whether a material can be used in computer chips, like silicon; or whether a drug like aspirin will mitigate a fever.

The outer “valence” electrons, i.e., those furthest from the atomic nuclei containing the protons and neutrons, play the most important role in these interatomic interactions, and therefore the properties of the materials made of the atoms. All of our technology is based on our ability to design and engineer materials, and thus it is crucial to be able to understand how the valence electrons in a material interact.

This turns out to be a very difficult problem, one that has challenged scientists for a century. For one thing, electrons are small, and thus governed by the weird properties of quantum mechanics. Also, there are a lot of them in a given material: there are more electrons in the atoms that make up a paper clip than there are stars in the universe.

In this talk I will describe a particular approach to tackling the “many electron problem,” known as Density Functional Theory, which, combined with the most powerful supercomputers in the world, has revolutionized our ability to describe and predict the properties of materials. I will give a variety of examples of how this knowledge of materials can be used to develop novel electronic devices for modern technology.

Fri 2/28

GEOLOGY LECTURE AT SUNYSB  ESS 001; 7:30PM, Gregory Henkes, “The environments of human evolution in East Africa” There are a variety of hypotheses for the patterns and processes of human evolution, but virtually all call on changes in the local environment and regional or global climate to perpetuate hominin speciation over the last 4-5 million years. This talk will be part tour through the geologic and paleontological changes in East Africa and part review of the environmental and climatic changes that accompanied them. My research interests are better understanding the chemistry of sedimentary rock archives of environment and climate, thus my focus will also be on how these records are developed and where the state-of-the-art currently lies.

3 /14/18

Stephen Hawking dies at age 76 - read some of his QUOTES; his appearances in Star Trek TNG, the Pink Floyd album 'The Division Bell', the Simpsons, the Metropolitan Opera piece, 'The Prologue', the Big Bang Theory and the movie 'The Theory of Everything' are HERE


Leon Lederman dies at age 96 (1988 Nobel Prize in physics)


Murray Gell-Mann dies at age 89 (1969 Nobel Prize in physics)


You can now renew your LIPTA membership for FOUR years! Go HERE to renew for 1, 2 or 4 years.


LIPTA is now on Facebook! Go HERE  


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Long Island Physics Teachers Association

a section of the American Association of Physics Teachers

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