Department of Physics

News and Events

Spring 2010:

Bridge Breaking contest, results:

Name Weight of Bridge (g) Max load before breaking (kg) Strength/weight ratio
Bella the Beast 250 12.5 50
Archy Truss 180 5.9 32
Spaghetti on Steroids 215 5.9 27
George 210 4.8 22
The brick 255 5.4 21


The winner: Bella the Beast, by Katie White, Justin Rhodes, and Melissa Harbison



Spaghetti on Steroids:



The Brick:



Abstract Deadline: October 5th.




Physics Club

Bridge Building Contest

Breaking day: Monday, December 3rd

at 1:30pm in ASCI 105



  1. Sam, Melissa, Juan
  2. Alex, Spencer, Eric
  3. Kevin, Justin, Katie

Use the Bridge Designer from Johns Hopkins

Rules (see Johns Hopkins website for more detail):

  • Must be 5 cm wide x 25 cm high x 50-60 cm long
  • Total mass of spaghetti and epoxy cannot exceed 250g
  • Can only use spaghetti and epoxy
  • The team which supports the heaviest load from a center support wins

Tentative specs (you may want to redo these measurements for yourself):

  • mass of 1 stick of spaghetti = 0.3 g
  • diameter of spaghetti = 1.75 mm
  • Max tension force on 10cm piece of spaghetti = 60N, plus or minus 10N


"A Grand Tour of the Universe"

Andrew Fraknoi
Mon, Oct 22, 2007 at 10:00am

Location: Samuelson Chapel

In this non-technical program, astronomer Andrew Fraknoi will take participants on a "tourist's tour" of the universe as astronomers understand it today, starting with the planets and moons of our own solar system and then out into the Milky Way Galaxy and beyond. Fraknoi will illustrate his presentation with the latest color images from the Hubble Space Telescope, probes that flew by or orbited the planets, and the world's largest telescopes on the ground.

As an educator, Fraknoi is known for his skill in interpreting astronomical discoveries and ideas in everyday language. He is Chair of the Astronomy Program at Foothill College near San Francisco, where he teaches courses on "astronomy and physics for poets."

A prolific author, Fraknoi has edited two collections of science articles and science fiction stories for Bantam Books, and is the lead author of Voyages through the Universe, which has become one of the leading astronomy textbooks in the world. He also is a frequent guest and commentator on radio and television. The International Astronomical Union has named Asteroid 4859 'Asteroid Fraknoi' to honor his work in sharing the excitement of modern astronomy with students, teachers and the public.

First meeting of the CLU Physics Club

Monday, September 17

at 4:30pm

in D-9


We will eat pizza, discuss outings for this year, eat pizza, plan our Bridge building contest and eat pizza. Anyone with an interest in physics is welcome to attend.



Summer 2007:


Caltech Road Trip:



Engineering Innovation 2007:


Student Researchers:

Swenson Scholars

  • Terri Kimmel
    • Analysis of Square Patterns in Rotating Rayleigh-Benard Convection
  • Patricia Lorraine Mutyaba
    • The Effect of the Centrifugal Force on the Formation of Square Patterns in High Rotation Rate Rayleigh-Benard Convection
  • Sam Walton
    • Pattern Defects within Rotating Rayleigh-Benard Convection


  • Katie White
    • Lyapunov Exponents for Turbulent Rayleigh-Benard Convection


Spring 2007:



Fall 2006: