Welcome to the Physics Department

Physics Department "Nobel Prizes"

These prizes are awarded to individuals or lab groups for exceptional thoughtfulness, creativity, or elegance in experimental design or analysis. To receive an award, you must invent something original or take on a project that goes above and beyond the required lab activity.
Examples might be:
  • Coming up with a novel way to reduce or estimate uncertainty.
  • Improving on an experimental setup in an elegant and practical way.
  • Designing or doing an extra experiment to test a hypothesis related to the lab.
To get a group award, all members of the group must understand the project - (We may ask any member of the group to explain it.)
Previous years' Nobel Prize Winners:

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Jeff Hickey, Christiana Shaw, Kate Adler

Physics 4A, Spring 2015

Measuring the rotational intertia of a turntable in order to account for an experimental discrepancy in a rotation lab.

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Ted Dersch, César Ramírez

Physics 4A, Fall 2014

Investigating the cause of a systematic error in a conservation of energy experiment.
Measuring the effective width of a photogate beam and calculating its effect on the experimental results.

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Alejandro Torres, Jacqueline Mendoza, Austin Henry

Physics 11, Spring 2014

Going above and beyond in the fluids lab - Making predictions about the behavior of a cube in an air stream and testing their predictions.

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Chris Skelton

Physics 4B, Fall 2012

Noticing and pointing out a logical error in an experiment designed to measure e/m for an electron.

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(L to R) Seth Jordan, Chris Stevens, Luc d'Hauthuille

Physics 4A, Fall 2012

Measuring the coefficient of friction of a cart based on the thermal energy lost in an experiment.
[ And for being very fashionable :) ]

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(L to R) Matt Sampson, Matt McNussen, Richela Maeda, Matt Bloesch, Jordi Gischler, Tristan McVay, Rosemary Simmons, Ari Kaplan

Physics 4C, Spring 2012

Suggesting a graph of pressure vs time as a better way to assess thermal equilibrium in the absolute zero experiment.

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Patrick Condon

Physics 2A, Fall 2011

Going beyond the normal torque lab requirements by creatively hypothesizing about the evolutionary reasons for the attachment points of human muscles.

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Katrina Vandenberg, Kyle Carlton, and Kristina Rohrkemper

Physics 2B, Spring 2011

Theorizing and testing the idea that fur should jump back and forth
between the hands of a charged person and a neutral person.

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Juliana Cammarata and Veronica Urabe

Physics 4A, Fall 2010

Correcting the lab instructions by pointing out that the effective area
of a square rubber suction cup is only the raised center circle.

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Daniel Adamson

Physics 4A, Fall 2010

Coming up with and testing the hypothesis that the beach ball
should fall from the air stream if it is spun backwards.

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Roman Marin, Trevor Wright, and Johnny McCullough

Physics 4A, Fall 2009

Designing a motor driven rotator to measure the acceleration of gravity.

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Kylan Roberson, Francisco Serrano, and Lindsay Currier

Physics 4A, Fall 2009

The very creative idea of using a balloon to measure the mass of an object using Archimedes' Principle.

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Cory Dominguez

5/08 Physics 4C

Creative ideas regarding the failure of the wave model of light to explain the Photoeletric Effect.

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Eden Specht

12/07 Physics 4A

(The first 2-time Nobel Prize Winner!)

Designing and performing an experiment to test the idea that water pressure should be lower at outside of bend in pipe.

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Eden Specht

4/07 Physics 11

Hypothesizing and testing the idea that a ping-pong ball should be held in by a straight pipe attached to a blower.

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Alex Ross

4/07 Physics10

Creating a new demonstration - driving a speaker model with a microphone model

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Aaron Poulos

13/07 Physics 4A

Investigating the Source of Motion Sensor/Cart Glitch

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Britt Wisdom and Derek Harmon 

2/27/07, Physics 11

Using a jig to measure positions of spark tape dots.

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Ian Mackay, David Gregozek, Carl Coker 

2/8/07, Physics 4A

Using a rolling ball to draw a constant velocity graph on Data Studio.