Chapter 26 of Light & Matter discusses the ground breaking experiments that gave us our present model of the atom so we spent a lot of time in class watching videos of the history of atomic physics. Starting of course with Crash Course Chemistry: The periodic table.

And then another Hank Green video: SciShow Great Minds: Marie Curie

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Then we moved on to Tyler DeWitt’s videos.  I really like his style of teaching with the white board and props that he makes, but still being able to see him talking in the upper right hand corner.  He has an entire chemistry course on youtube and its worth checking out.

After the videos we gathered around a mini cloud chamber I had made out a petri dish and watched atomic particles leave little trails in the alcohol mist.  This video is actually from when we did this a few years ago, but its the same set up.

The petri dish has black construction paper on the bottom and felt around the circumference (inside).  Soak  the felt with isopropyl alcohol (92% if you can find it) then put the lid on the petri dish and set it on a block of dry ice.  Here, symmetrymagazing.org, are instructions for a bigger cloud chamber and some information on what you’re seeing. I actually have a small piece of slightly radioactive pitchblend that I bought at a rock and mineral show that is a nice source of alpha decay.

 

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