The School maintains an active Demonstration Unit so that, as far
as possible, lecturers and tutors can demonstrate the physics they
are teaching in the class room. On the other hand, we also develop
animations and simulations, which are useful where effects are too
small or too fast for simple demonstration (eg relativity), where
abstract constructs are widely used (eg phasors in AC circuits)
or for educational web sites. Such sites are used to support face-to-face
teaching or for outreach and distance teaching.
The animation above is an animation of a classic Gedankenexperiment
in special relativity (Relativistic
time dilation, simultaneity and length contraction). “Light
clocks” run at different speeds in the two frames because
of the constancy of c, while one observer “tags” objects
in the other’s frame to demonstrate length contraction. In
this page, a series of simple, slow-motion animations are used to
develop the expressions for relativistic effects. Linked pages explain
the “twin paradox” and the “pole in the barn paradox”.
The figure above (from AC
circuitsl) is an animation that shows why the reactance of a
capacitor decreases with frequency, and how its voltage may be represented
by a rotating phasor. This page presents, via animations, many of
the elements of AC circuit theory — a topic that many students
find difficult. It links to pages on related topics including filters,
which are illustrated with sound files.