Trip to Raleigh, North Carolina
August 2-5, 1988
We traveled to Raleigh for a meeting called Computers in Physics Instruction at North Carolina State University. Rod did a poster presentation at the meeting.
Rod with his poster presentation and demonstration for the CPI meeting. It was titled "Laboratories in Sound Analysis Using Fast Fourier Transforms".
The demonstrations were done with Apple-2 computers which were state-of-the-art for personal computers. The Macintosh computer had just been introduced, but hadn't made it to the classroom yet.
I had started using the first generations of personal computers in the early 80's when they became available and was pushing the use of this technology in teaching. With the Apple 2 computers with their 5 1/4" floppy disks, I could capture digital data from various types of interfaces and did a lot with capturing sound signals for the Physics of Music and Speech course that I had been teaching since 1970. Part of what I was showing here was the capture of sounds for analysis in that course. I had a laboratory where the students would produce sounds with their voice or a musical instrument and analyze the sounds both as time waveforms and as Fast Fourier Transforms to show the different frequencies and harmonic content of the sounds.
I also used the computers to analyze signals for an optics course that I was teaching. It was instructive to be able to show that the FFT of light going through a slit gave the geometry of the diffracted light from the slit. That is, the single-slit diffraction pattern is in essence a FFT of the slit geometry. I wrote programs in BASIC to calculate the FFTs.
All these things were on the frontier of using computer technology in physics instruction at the time, and I did a number of papers on such things at professional meetings.
We enjoyed visiting the nice Arboretum at NC State in Raleigh while we were there. We were glad to see that it was wild enough for this rabbit to feel comfortable there.
One of the benefits that we were having with both of us having professional meetings around the country was that she went to my meetings with me and I went to her meetings, so we got to see parts of the country that we would otherwise not have gotten to see.
The meeting was a productive one for me since NC State was playing a leading role in the development of the applications of computers to physics instruction. And now we had a pleasant and relaxing time at the outstanding Arboretum.