Free Electronics Lectures

By Christopher Cocuzza
SC Staff Writer

The physics department is now hosting free electronic lectures every week in Gessner Science Hall. Conceived by the Society of Physics Students, the goal of the lectures is to teach students the basic theory and practice of electronics.

David Larrabee, professor of physics, is teaching the lectures.

The lectures are held every Wednesday between 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM in Gessner 122. All interested students are welcome and will be accommodated appropriately.

Knowledge of electronics is difficult to come by at ESU. No classes are currently offered, leaving independent studies as the only resort for interested students.

The lectures were created to provide students an opportunity to learn the craft.

No prior knowledge is required to attend the lectures. According to Dr. Larrabee, the lectures will start from the basics, allowing anyone with basic mathematical skills and “a willingness to learn” to join.

Participants will first learn the three fundamental laws of circuitry. These rules can be quickly grasped and govern the activity of most circuits.

Students will then put these laws to use as they build simple circuits involving resistors, diodes, and switches.

The course will culminate with the entire class cooperating on a more substantial project.

This project involves the drop-shaft near the entrance of the Science and Technology Center.

When the project is completed, a single spherical object will repeatedly descend the shaft then be returned to the top through some mechanism.

As the sphere is falling, two electronic sensors located at different heights will be used to measure properties of the ball.

Among these properties will be the sphere’s velocity at each point and the sphere’s acceleration due to gravity. This parallels an experiment that every ESU student performs in an elementary physics course.

The mechanism that retrieves the ball and returns it to the top comprises the most difficult part of the project. It is up to the class to imagine and create a contraption that will accomplish this goal.

The activation of the mechanism is another consideration.

Current ideas include motion sensing near the drop-shaft, or contact sensing with the glass that surrounds the drop-shaft.

These methods will allow any curious passersby to interact with the project.

All of the skills acquired during the class will be tested during this build. As such, cooperation and communication between a collection of participants with unique skills will be necessary.

By combining their talents, the class will show proficiency in computer programming, circuit construction, theoretical derivations, and communication.

The amalgamation of their efforts will be on display for everyone passing through the Science and Technology Center.

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