December 19, 2012
To: Secretary of Education for the State of Rio de Janeiro
From: Richard E. Berg, Professor of the Practice, retired
Re: The Video Encyclopedia of Physics Demonstrations
I submit this letter to you to as a recommendation for your acquisition of the The Video Encyclopedia of Physics Demonstrations for your schools, which I understand is now under consideration.
For your information, I received my Ph.D. from Michigan State University, where my primary interest was in cyclotron research and development of the 45 MeV Michigan State University cyclotron. Subsequently, in 1966, I was appointed Assistant Professor of Physics at the University of Maryland where I was involved in the design of the University of Maryland 140 MeV multi-particle cyclotron and the design and supervision of installation of the beam transport system. Following the decommissioning of the Maryland cyclotron in 1980, and as a result of my interests, I was appointed Director of the University of Maryland Physics Lecture-Demonstration Facility, where I served until my retirement in 2008.
My primary responsibility as Director of the Lecture-Demonstration Facility was the development of a collection of more than 1500 demonstrations, used in Maryland’s physics classes together with collections of related audio-visual and reference materials. In addition, I developed a number of programs based on the use of these demonstrations for the University and for National Science Foundation’s activities, including the public lecture-demonstration series PHYSICS IS PHUN, traveling demonstration programs, and a series of workshops for physical science teachers sponsored by the NSF.
Soon after The Video Encyclopedia of Physics Demonstrations was conceptualized by Jearl Walker (author of Halliday, Resnick and Walker and The Flying Circus of Physics) and Bennett Glotzer and contemporaneously with the National Science Foundation’s initial expression of support for production of this series, I was asked to be involved in the planning and production of this series. I initially prepared an inclusive list of 600 demonstrations appropriate for a project of this magnitude, illustrating techniques used in the effective presentation of physics demonstrations, and addressed technical aspects of the project.
Subsequently, I worked on the production of this project as one of its Principal Investigators with Jearl Walker and Bennett Glotzer under the terms of the grant given by the National Science Foundation in support of this project.