Physics Education Research
Dave Van Domelen
The Ohio State University

Dave's Conference Notes
(This is a more current page.)
OSU Physics Education Research Group
Dave's Online Nest
(Personal website, not education-related)
Last Updated: 6/19/08

This is a copied archive, as my old Ohio State account was finally deleted.

This is a collection of talks I gave while at Ohio State (changed to text format) and a few formal and informal papers I've written.
Strategy Maps     Based on my Doctoral Candidacy (non-terminal Master's) thesis, this is an overview of problem-solving methods in various areas with a focus on physics.
    Written in 1996, it may be somewhat "stale" by now.
Heisenberg's Hallway     A Classical Analogy to Position Uncertainty. Presented as a paper at the Joint AAPT/APS Ohio meeting in spring 1996. A paper based on this has been submitted to The Physics Teacher.
The Coriolis Force     An Attempt To Explain To Non-Physicists, Without Invoking Angular Momentum. This paper has been significantly revised recently, click HERE for the latest version. I attempted to get it published, but couldn't find an interested journal. And since a few dozen places have already archived copies of the old version (as revealed by a quick search on, I figured I should get around to updating the online copy. Note, this copy is no longer up to date, and has some significant holes (although some people like it better than the newer version).
"Loop the Lab"     A Hot Wheels® car lab for mechanics courses (AAPT 1997 Summer Meeting talk GD6). Mattel no longer produces a key piece of equipment for this experiment (the launcher), alternatives are being pursued.
"Collision? What Collision?"     Based on the paper I gave at the 1999 AAPT meeting in San Antonio, TX. (DB5) During the course of developing a testing instrument for problem-solving skills, I ran across an interesting blind spot students have.
Factor Analysis - A Definition     A paper I wrote for my Factor Analysis class, corrected and expanded. The target audience are those who know something about math and statistics, but who haven't taken courses in advanced regression analysis or factor analysis.
    This file is straight-text, with no HTML tagging.
Artificial Right Hand Rule Addendum     The Physics Teacher for November, 1999 contains an article I wrote about an Artificial Right Hand Rule. Due to space constraints, some material had to be cut. Here is the additional material, on how to build your own ARHR.

Pithy Quotes
Various education-related quotes I've come up with. I'm full of metaphors. Or something, anyway.

If you don't understand the question, you won't understand the answer.

Information comes from outside. Understanding comes from inside.

If equations and concepts are tools we give to students, then most students just pile them into a box and grab whatever's nearest the top. It's important to give the students a toolchest...and show them how to use it.

Faster than real problem-solving... More powerful than a physics tutor... Able to leap tall premises in a single bound... Look! Here on the page! It's a sine! It's a cosine! It's...UBEREQUATION! UberEquation, strange visitor from another ontology, who, disguised as mild-mannered student homework sets, fights a never-ending battle for SPEED, HIGH MARKS and the ALGORITHMIC WAY!