Jean Louis Marty from Universite de Perpignan, delivered an exciting talk on Biosensors. These sensors are analytical devices incorporating a biological material, or biomimic, intimately associated with or integrated within a physicochemical transducer or transducing microsystem. The main advantages of biosensors are short times of analysis, low cost of assays, portable equipment, real-time measurements, and use as remote devices. Dr. Louis shared that these new technologies have been applied in the quantitaforve analysis of target analytes. The best example is the glucose biosensor for the control of sugar for diabetes.
After the talk, Dr. Louis was taken on a guided tour around the various laboratories housed in the Physics Department at the School of Science and Engineering building. He was delighted to see the kind of facilities and equipment LUMS is offering to its faculty and students and expressed good wishes for future endeavors.
The Physics department of Government College Sahiwal visited the Physlab on Thursday 27th April 2017. The participants comprised of MSc/MPhil students, primarily from the first year, and their teachers. They were all led by the Assistant Professor Rehan Ahmed
The session started off with a brief introduction about the Centre for Experimental Physics Education (CEPE) and its philosophy, the Physlab team opened doors to the various facets of laboratory and took the esteemed visitors through an exciting guided tour of the freshmen, junior and advanced laboratories. The students were highly encouraged to experience the existence of Physics around them through diverse and indigenously developed experimental setups ranging from the study of energy conservation in two dimensions to extreme low temperature cryogenics experiments.
Through junior lab, the participants were guided through advance physics experiments relating to thermal oscillations, magnetic pendulum and the current on going project of developing a low field Nuclear Magnetic Resonance spectrometer. Students were introduced to the use of modern data acquisition tools and the innovative domain of smart Physics through smartphones and video cameras. A quick flow of Physlab’s vivid demonstrations from electricity, magnetism and mechanics sparked excitement in the participants.
Finally, a tour through the advanced physics labs, in particular, the scanning electron microscope (SEM), the Magnetron’s sputtering machine and the Vibrating Sample Magnetometer (VSM) culminated into the completion of the one day tour of the Physlab. In the end, some words of encouragement and guidance for participants to pursue graduate studies at LUMS were discussed by Dr. Sabieh Anwar.
Students from Syedanwala Higher Secondary School visited the Physlab on Monday 10th April 2017. It was a one-day experiential journey through Physlab’s exciting modes of vivid class demonstrations, lecture series, and hands-on practical work.
The students, primarily from the first year intermediate, and their teachers, brimmed with excitement seeing the demonstrations of concepts of charge and electricity, laser generated mathematical patterns and the skill of performing physical experiments with a camera.
In summary, it was an effort to encourage students to experience the joy of building and performing experiments and revealing that physics is not a discipline buried in dry books. It is alive!
A team of 7 students from the department of electrical engineering at LUMS, participated in the Shell Eco-marathon Asia, held for the first time in Singapore. The competition was attended by around 22,000 people. The event took place at the Changi Exhibition Centre. The students were challenged to push, through the boundaries to build energy efficient vehicles. In total, 123 teams competed from across the Asia-Pacific region. The team, called MotoLUMS, represented Pakistan and presented their prototype vehicle built using an aluminum frame with an in-house ‘carbon fiber’ top to compensate weight for fuel efficiency. The team successfully passed the “Technical and safety inspection” criterion.
The project operations were carried out under the supervision of Energy and Power Systems (EPS) cluster and Physics Lab at SSE, LUMS. The ten months project was mentored by Dr. Nauman Zaffar and Dr. Sabieh Anwar. The team was sponsored by ‘Descon Engineering’, c/o Mr. Abdul Razak Dawood.
The hyperloop is a highly innovative concept that involves high speed, affordable, efficient and safe transportation. The idea was float by is fifth mode of transport floated by Elon Musk in 2013, eventually, aims at transporting humans and freight at top speeds of 760 mph.
Last year Team HyperLUMS was the only team from Pakistan to have qualified for the highly prestigious “SpaceX Hyperloop Pod Design Competition“. Only 120 teams from a competitive pool of 1000+ teams from top-notch universities, including MIT and Stanford, made it to the SpaceX design weekend in the US to present their concept designs in front of the experienced panel of engineers from Tesla, SpaceX and academia.
The team was exclusively covered by various international and national media. The team was covered by “Fortune” on their website: (http://fortune.com/2016/01/29
This year, the team has formed a consortium of Pakistani universities called “Team Burraq” including LUMS, PIEAS, GIKI, NUST hoping to make it all the way through with an improved design. If qualified, the team will build their pod and race it at SpaceX headquarters at Hawthorne, California, USA in the summer.
An extensive three-day workshop training on the integration of modern technology to experimental physics education completes at Physlab. Delegates from the Institute of Business Administration (IBA) and Sukkur community colleges, comprising of faculty members, engineers, a science educator and a technician were drilled through varying sessions of demonstrations and hands-on training in tools and techniques for building a technology integrated modern physics laboratory.
After a brief overview of Physlab, participants were introduced to “Measurements and Uncertainty” through a practical approach in an attempt to develop a basic understanding of the uncertain nature of taking measurements. The session was followed by a dynamic introduction to “PhysTrack”, an open-source software tool developed by Umar Hassan for video tracking enabling physicist in performing various kinematics experiments using a video from a simple digital camera. Next day was all dedicated to LabVIEW and data acquisition for physics laboratory by Azeem Iqbal. It comprised of learning LabVIEW environment and a hands-on introduction to signal acquisition and processing. Participants exhibited a keen interest in incorporating LabVIEW to their home-grown experiments. Further, in a rigorous training session on Arduino, the participants wrote small programs and were encouraged to think of ways this technology could be used in physics experimentation. This was not all! Students named Waqar and Usman from physics department demonstrated the use of smartphone sensors for data acquisition and analysis. Using a mobile phone, attached to a rotating wheel, they exhibited how these devices could also be used for creating low-cost yet interesting physics experiments.
Before closing, a healthy discussion was held, involving a potential integration of these tools in the conventional set of experiments listed by the Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (BISE) Sindh. The participants felt motivated in utilizing these tools to build their own setups and that they will encourage students to experience the valuable journey of building an experiment. The workshop concluded with closing remarks by Dr. Sabieh Anwar who thanked participants for their initiative in transforming Physics education in their institution and extended full support in future collaborations as well.
The workshop reiterates that Physlab strongly believes in the dissemination of knowledge through sharing expertise, resources, and training in physics education with sister institutions across Pakistan.
Following are some of the scenes from the workshop.
This was quite an event! A week of intense lab work, coupled with jokes, team work, presentations, food, excursion and a tranquil sense of satisfaction that comes with learning new physics and teaching it to others! The Fourth Regional Lab Immersion Program concluded on the 22nd of December with a heavy heart, burdened by the impending feeling of partition, and that it had all ended so soon.
The first day started by some niceties, followed by a hands-on activity led by Dr. Samya Zain from the Susquehenna University. She asked students to launch a projectile and a falling object so that they simultaneously hit each other at the ground while students were allowed only a single attempt. Imagine university teachers vying for success in a task as simple as ensuring a collision. I am sure students of these very teachers would have loved this sight. I then led students through a practical example illustrating data taking from a string of oscillators hung from a suspended wire and quivering inside the earth’s field. The role of uncertainties was highlighted, a graph was plotted and we were able to estimate the earth’s field.
This was a lab immersion program. Frankly, I myself didn’t know what immersion meant until I organized the first such program back in 2012. The idea was reinforced here. Immersion is when ‘physics has taken over’. In the sessions, we saw our participants being knocked down into practical work, forgetting their worries and joys and deriving pleasure or anxiety from nothing but experimental physics. This act of drowning, qualifies these seven days of concentrated activity indeed as a physics immersion program. Students, while working in pairs, could now measure band gaps of semiconductor material, observe the DC Josephson effect, measure lifetimes of muons, observe the conservation of energy in collisions, detect micro-degrees of rotations of polarization inside a magnetic field, find the wavelength of electron waves or estimate the latent heat of vaporization of liquid nitrogen. All of this happened between 17 and 18 of December.
Modern physics laboratory practice is markedly different from twenty years ago. New tools and skills have risen. We have arduinos, raspberry pi’s (fancy names of extremely powerful low-cost devices), data acquisition, 3D printers, cameras and smartphones. Capabilities unleashed by these tiny monsters can also frighten the novice, especially so for the poor teachers in the developing world who are starved of appreciation, mired in bureaucratic procedures, and demotivated by financial apprehensions. The utter lack of instructional laboratories in our institutions also takes away any opportunity or exposure. That’s why we decided to provide students with a compressed practical session on data acquisition. Muhammad Adnan from National Instruments led this session. The simple task was to use the computer as an oscilloscope and a function generator.
Umar Hasan’s presentation on video tracking was an instant celebrity. It turned out that the use of cameras and smart phones attracted everyone’s attention. From compressed springs to pendulums, locomotion of insects to colliding carrom pucks, video capturing followed by powerful processing and analysis tools, such as Physlab’s Phystrack, provides unprecedented joy in illuminating hidden facets of kinematics. There is a strange sense of superiority one feels in observing the trajectory of the erratic motion of microspheres suspended in a fluid or a marble rolling down the surface of a bowl. For me, video tracking has changed my perception and perhaps given me a new sense of vision:
محروم تماشا کو پھر دیدہ بینا دے
دیکھا ہے جو کچھ میں نے ، اوروں کو بھی دکھلا دے
For the same reason, several students used video tools in the projects that I will describe later.
The practical work was interspersed by several presentations from the visiting participants and students who worked under my supervision in various laboratory projects.
The presentations kicked off by Dr. Hanan Sa’adeh’s motivating presentation connecting the pursuit of physics with the search for aesthetic quality, that eventually renders the experimental physicist into an artist. Our students from LUMS shared their work on quantum erasure, tracking cosmic ray muons, chaos and nonlinear dynamics of pendulums and circuits, superconducting quantum interference devices. Dr. Wilson Ombati briefed the students about metrology and how to measure weights, signalling how the SI paradigm of units is about to undergo a fundamental overhaul. Sara Aburugia convinced all of us that remote virtual experiments have an important role to play in physics teaching while Islam Bazlamit took us through his attempts to revive Ibn-al-Haitham’s camera obscura at the University of Jordan.
Umair Asim‘s invited talk on astronomy in the light polluted Lahore took us into a voyage through the heavens. He showed glimpses of his amazing observations on variable stars, galactic dust and nebulas, solar flares and prominences and apprised the students of the inevitable importance of long, patient and painstaking observations made on a meticulously constructed, vibration-free and ultra-precise high resolution astronomical imaging system. These conflicting requirements are a universal feature of all serious projects in experimental physics.
Between the 20th and 22nd of December, students were asked to design and create something new. In my experience, in our part of the world, physics has traditionally been condemned to a mere exercise in analysis or more recently, in problem solving. But what about creation and invention? In the final stages of the Workshop, students mustered their entrepreneurial spirit and grouped into small teams designing altogether new experiments. They tried to follow dripping water from a faucet, the dynamics of discharge from a cylinder, the phase space trajectory of motion of spheres on curved surfaces, verifying Boyle’s law, measuring the speed of light and analyzing bouncing balls. Video tracking remained a popular feature. Finally it all culminating into another nicety. Dr. Umar Saif from the Punjab Information Technology Board and Syed Babar Ali, founder of the University inspired students with their graceful presence. Finally, here are what some of our students felt about the program.
It is impossible to relive the moments but here are some photographs to lighten up the nostalgia.
Muhammad Sabieh Anwar
5 January 2017
An article entitled “Demonstrating the value of Physics” by Dr. Muhammad Sabieh Anwar has been published by the “Physics World” in their December 2016 issue. The article talks about importance of teaching Physics using dynamic class-room demonstrations and that how vivid display of physical phenomena can help students swiftly grasp difficult concepts and correlate them with a live application example. It also beautifully highlights extremely important aspects of science education in developing parts of the world.
Read the complete article here: