Sunday, September 2, 2007

Mr. Chambers - The Good Witchdoctor

Dear Classmates,

Who had Mr. Chambers who has forgotten his amazing labs? As much as Mr. Harrison had a hip and charismatic personality, Mr. Chambers was technically amazing. Mr. Chambers always seemed amused in somewhat awkward and self deprecating manner.

If you remember, he never distributed textbooks but taught us exclusively from lecture handouts and experimental procedures. I probably did best in my first year at Lehigh taking physics 101 because Mr. Chambers had really taken us further in his class than my first year laboratory course at college went. The labs we did at Lehigh were not as well executed or as impressively accurate as those constructed by Mr. Chambers.

Some that I remember were:

Equilibrium - strings, weights and perfect ball bearing assemblies to measure vectors of force.

Ballistics - shooting a ball bearing from a gas powered barrel in the middle of the room through a large washer dropped from an electro magnet mounted near the ceiling in the front, top left upper corner of the room. The ball bearing tripped a micro switch as it exited the barrel of the gun so it began to fall under the effect of gravity and the washer dropped at the same time.

Electricity - Big standard modules with the electrical component symbol on the face so that we could see circuits arranged from our seats as far as 20 feet away. I can't remember the circuits but I was always impressed with the interconnection scheme for the components.

Inertia - he had a little powered truck that ran across the demonstration laboratory table in the front of the room and some object popped up and came down moving always at the same speed as the truck below it.

Acceleration - dropping weight or something with red paper tape with some sort of transfer ink and impact marker which showed a mark at regular time intervals but increasing distance.

Does anyone remember any other of Mr. Chamber's lab experiments? Any other memories of him or background?

m. m.


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