The innovative “Food Truck for the Physics Mind,’ a traveling laboratory with fully functional instrumentation, will visit IUP on Tuesday, October 8, from 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. The truck will be parked in the lot between Weyandt Hall and Northern Suites.
This “Food Truck” visits colleges and universities, welcoming physicists, chemists, biologists, and science enthusiasts into a 44-foot-long chamber filled with working instrumentation. Other stops on this trip include Ohio State, Youngstown State, Carnegie Mellon, Oberlin, Mount Union, and the College of Wooster.
The traveling laboratory is public outreach by TeachSpin. TeachSpin is a nonprofit manufacturer of advanced laboratory instruments designed for higher-education teaching and was founded by physicist Jonathan Reichert.
The instruments are designed to be rugged, reliable, and affordable. Many of the instruments were built and/or selected to expose the needles, dials, and wires, as compared to the wholly contained “black box” type instruments common in working labs. The instrumentation includes apparatus appropriate for beginning students to early graduate students.
Experiments featured on board include laser interferometry (interaction of light with atoms), Hall-effect probe (measuring invisible magnetic field), Lock-in Amplifier (extracting signal from noise), two-slit interference (a bizarre quantum effect), optical pumping, and ultrasonics. One of the instruments is an earth-field NMR, which measures the geomagnetic field of the earth at a frequency of around 2 kilohertz. Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is a widely used tool in chemistry and biology and is the basis for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) used in medical diagnosis.
David Van Baak, senior staff physicist at TeachSpin, will be on board the “Food Truck” to demonstrate, assist, or answer questions.