Caltech  Physics League

Introduction and terms

Winter 2014
Meetings: Mondays, 6pm, E. Bridge 114. 
(no meeting on Jan. 20th for MLK)

Feb. 3rd: Vacuum resistance, antenna fields, and energy weapons
assignment (due Feb. 10th): Raytheon's anti-demo weapon

Additional links:

* sensitivity of devices and persons to EM radiation:
* Boeing's EM pulse weapon:

Jan. 27th: Radars and stealth
assignment: longitudinal iron-ball mode

Jan. 9th, 13th: The thing - a vintage eavesdropping devices.
Assignment, due Jan 27th: How to operate a bug from afar

Fall 2013

Meetings: Mondays 6pm at E. Bridge 114.

Dec. 2nd: Roundup of the recent assignments

Nov. 24th: Warp drives
extra stuff:
Alcubierre's paper on warp drives

NASA's Sonny White's paper improving the warp drive
Report on NASA's efforts
Thone-Morris wormholes (recommended!)

Nov. 17th: Fusion
Problem 7: Fusion of Mu-drogen

Nov. 10th: Nuclear-Fission Critical Mass
Problem 6: Critical mass for a diffusive core

Nov. 3rd: Space elevators
Problem 5: Mars elevator design.

Oct. 28th: Balloon assisted launches
Problem 4: Air drag on a rocket.

Oct. 21st: Ion Thrusters
Problem 3: What limits an ion thurster - charge buildup.

Oct. 14th: More on RTG's
Problem 2: Modeling the RTG unit of Cassini.

Oct. 7th: Thermoelectrics and the risky powering space exploration.
Problem 1: Typical Seebeck coefficient, and power extraction.

Spring 2013
Last meeting:  June 2nd, 5:45pm, bridge 114. Featuring: Clockwise-counterclockwise.


May 13th: space debris I - debris size
Question for next meeting:  Could you  think up a theory for the 1/L^2 rule of debris size distribution?
Space debris about the EarthNASA, via

Problem 1: Magentic field and Einstein challenge. (will be discussed on May 13th)

 April 29th: magnetic fields of stars. (notes to come)

April 22nd: Black hole batteries (click for notes)

Black-hole batteries paper
Black-hole neutron-star binary

April 8th, 15th: Slowing  light (class notes)
 and - more elaborate notes discussing QM dyamics

Slowing light paper
speed of slowed-down light (Hau's exp.)
Winter 2013
Meeting times: Mondays,  5:45PM,  E. Bridge 114.

Optical solitons notes

Photonic crystals  notes

Challenge 2: Motorcycles: crash and jump

Challenge 1: Flats and jets

jet solution:  notes from meeting discussion

Winter 2012
Organizational meeting : 10/1/2012(Tuessday),  6PM,   Bridge 114.
Weekly meeting : Tuessday,  6PM,   Bridge 114.

Challenge 1: Earthquake!

Challenge 2: Altitude sickness
Challenge 2: Mathematica notebook

Challenge 3: Black Hole Battery

Fall 2011

Organizational meeting : 10/11/2011(Tuessday),  6PM,   Bridge 114.
Weekly meeting : Tuessday,  6PM,   Bridge 114.
Challenge 1: From diffraction patterns
Challenge 1: Mathematica notebook

Challenge 2: Quasicrystals form an odd angle
Challenge 2: Mathematica notebook

Challenge 3: Dispersion of Graphene

Game Show!

Spring 2011

Organizational meeting : 1/6/2011(Thursday),  6PM,   Bridge 114.

Tidal Speed note

Desert Chimney note

Tokamak note

Fall 2010

CPL meeting times: Thursday,  6pm - 7:30pm,   Bridge 114.

meeting 1: Earth rotation induction generator notes
superconducting critical field example experiment

Challenge 1: Magnetic-breaking

Challenge 2: Speed of the tide
Here's the tidal energy note by Gil

Spring 2010

First challenge - Hanburry Brown - Twiss and Sirius

Noise correlations:

    -  Hanbury Brown-Twiss Sirius Nature paper

    -  Correlations in BEC's and Mott insulators:
        Ketterle's webpage:
      Ian Spielman's noise measurements:

Winter 2010

Second challenge - Magnetic pinball
winners: John Forbes and Tony Baojia

First challenge - Atmosphere vs. Astronomy
due: extension made till monday Feb 15th.
winner: John Forbes

2/11/10 meeting: slowing light. (17m/s!) nature-paper

3/4/10 meeting: Aurora slide show

Fall 2009

Second challenge - Electric images
    Preparation problem: The imperfect electric mirror
   Challenge 2 Problems

winners: John Forbes and Tony Baojia

First challenge - Mars elevator under fire

   Challenge 1 Problems
    Preparation problem:  Mars space elevator (not handed in or graded)
    also see Notes on waves in ropes
taken from:

Spring 2009 challenges:      
Challenge 1: Space wars with leftovers

  Winners: John Schulman and Eric Stansifer.

Challenge 2: Sonic booms        sonic boom
Winners: John Schulman and Tong (Tony) Boajia

Useful Links:     

  • Leaguemaster info:

             Gil Refael
164 W. Bridge
M-C 149-33
tel.: (626)-395-4705
fax: (626)-683-9060