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Al Tobias (wat4y) - Office: Gibson S123 & Physics 218, (434) 924-0538

Physics Demo Manual

Demonstrations are cataloged according to PIRA Bibliography


Due to Physics Building renovations, the lead time to set up demo requests has increased due to the need to transport equipment across campus. Please be kind and let me know well ahead of time what you need.

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 Geometrical Optics
  video  - Polarization of Light
  video  - Polarization of Microwaves
 Polarization by Reflection
 Brewster's angle
 Optical Activity in Corn Syrup
 Polarization by Scattering
 The Eye

 video  - Polarization of Light


To demonstrate various polarization phenomena.


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  DEMO VIDEO DOWNLOAD / no audio / 1920x1080 / 24.19Mb/s / 171MB size  

  DEMO VIDEO DOWNLOAD / no audio / 854x480 / 5.69Mb/s / 45MB size  

A wide variety of polarization phenomena are available and can be projected on a screen with the overhead projector. The following are suggested:
  1. Variation of intensity of linearly and circularly polarized light while the analyzer is rotated. Or simply demonstrate that no light passes through two perpendicularly oriented polarizers. By placing a third polarizer at 45degree angle in between some light passes through however.
  2. Colorful images as birefringent materials such as cellophane tape (cigarette wrapper) or mica can be obtained by placing them between two polarizers and rotating the analyzer. The rotating analyzer can be attached to the lens strut of the projector and the object focused on the screen.
  3. Photoelasticity can be demonstrated with plastic protractors and rulers etc. placed between two polarizers.


    • Cigarette Wrapper
    • Polaroid sheets
    • Polaroid Rotator
    • Photoelastic Pieces
    • Mica
    • 1/4 wave plates
    • Overhead Projector