Well, the title is really a fancy way to say we used the Van de Graaf generator in class. I wanted to give them an experience with it, plus use it to demonstrate electric fields and electrical potentials. We did the usual ‘make the hair standup’ demo, (among others) here are a few pics.
I also saw this Tweet by Derek Segesdy the night before we used the VDG generator so I did this one also. I know there are tons of excellent demo’s with the VDG… one could probably spend the entire class period with it. One thing I will have to learn about for the future is the biological aspects of ‘shocks’ as it relates to the human body. This year, more than usual, a number of students asked about the effects. I did mention that it is also important to be very conscious of the number of charges that flow each seconds. So I mentioned current with mentioning current… don’t want to get too far ahead of myself using terms that have been conceptually or experimentally defined.