A collection of multimedia tools for teaching physics

Computers (and personal computers in particular) have seen in the last years a rapid emergence as a standard for theaching in several disciplines. A boost to this tendence has been given by the World Wide Web, which allows to disseminate multimedia information in a virtually processor-independent way, thus overcoming the problem of portability. The break-through has been the appearance of  languages (like Java) which allow to fully profit of interconnection and interactivity, and abandon a paradigm of a WWW teaching limited to a vertical exposition with hyperlinks. Using these techniques, a teacher can organize his/her lectures as for an "open classroom".

Why multimedia Web tools (and Java in particular) for teaching physics ? Which are the pedagogical advantages ? What about reusability, and how to practically download material from the Web and reuse it ? What about distributed and network computing ? I am trying (compatible with my limited time) to put together and make available for colleagues a practical guide containing a set of tricks that I needed a lot of time to learn: follow this link to see, and one of these days something nice could appear...

For the moment I tried to collect and mirror good interactive material around the Web: see the index below (growing fast, I hope) and a list of links which could be useful. This collection is limited to most of the material I had the chance to try with my students (thanks to them for their patience); much more material follows in the last blue box, but I need one more year of course to evaluate it impact on my classroom. A lot of useful less interactive material (movies, Mathematica files etc.) can also be found on the Web, or bought (the nice and cheap CDs from Amaldi for Zanichelli, Halliday-Resnick for Wiley etc. are good examples). One of these days I'd like to review also this material...

Write me if you have suggestions on how to improve my courses ! 

You can visit my personal homepage and my teaching homepage.

Thanks, Alessandro de Angelis

    A collection of mirrored applets mostly coming from:
  • Walter Fendt, http://home.a-city.de/walter.fendt/physengl/physengl.htm
  • Fu-Kwun Hwang, http://www.phy.ntnu.edu.tw/~hwang/index.html

  • and of shockwave files mostly coming from
  • Raman Pfaff (@ExploreScience.com)

Mechanics and Fluids

  • Resultant of Forces (Addition of Vectors)
  • Cross (vector) product
  • golf RANGE!
  • Shoot the Monkey
  • Air Track
  • Center of Mass
  • Pulley System
  • Lever Principle
  • Inclined Plane
  • Inclined Plane (a second version with online plot)
  • Newton's Second Law Experiment
  • Elastic and Inelastic Collision
  • Newton's Cradle
  • Carousel (Centripetal Force)
  • Freefall Lab - Terminal Velocity
  • Moment of Inertia
  • Hydrostatic Pressure in Liquids
  • Buoyant Force in Liquids
  • Density Lab
  • A Floating Log




  • Ohm's Law
  • Wheatstone bridge
  • RC Circuit
  • Lorentz Force
  • EM Fields
  • Cyclotron
  • Direct Current Electrical Motor
  • Generator
  • Simple AC Circuits
  • Electromagnetic Oscillating Circuit



    Oscillations, Waves and Optics

  • Pendulum
  • Simple Harmonic Motion
  • Spring Pendulum
  • Coupled Pendula
  • Lissajous Figures
  • Forced Oscillations (Resonance)
  • Driven Harmonic Motion (2 masses)
  • Harmonic Motion (2-D)
  • Longitudinal and transverse waves
  • Doppler effect
  • Beats
  • Standing Longitudinal Waves
  • Electromagnetic Wave
  • Doppler Effect
  • Reflection and Refraction of Waves (Huygens' Principle)
  • Reflection and Refraction of Waves (short)
  • Refraction of Light
  • Interference of two Circular or Spherical Waves
  • Simple Prism
  • Rainbow
  • Lenses and mirrors: a virtual bench
  • Fermat's Principle



    Various topics

  • Why we look for symmetry: the snow Flake Designer
  • Bohr's Theory of the Hydrogen Atom
  • Laser
  • Radioactive Decay Series
  • Law of Radioactive Decay



    A. De Angelis, February 2000