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Physics Department Updates Lab Equipment with Foundation Funding

Physics Photo

Olney Central College’s Physics Department has been able to update equipment and enhance lab experiences for students with funds from the OCC Foundation.

 “We really appreciate the efforts of the Foundation and the support it has given to the Physics Department and other areas of the college,” Instructor Rob Mason said. “This is the biggest upgrade we’ve done. Basically we’ve come a long way in updating the lab and staying competitive, not just with other two-year colleges, but four-year schools.”

When purchasing the new equipment, Mason considered both the critical needs of the department and what equipment could be used in the widest range of classes.

Among the items acquired with the $4,950 grant were projectile launchers, which can be interfaced with existing computers. Students recently utilized the equipment to measure flight time and analyze data.

Mason said such experiences prepare OCC students to transfer to four-year institutions.

 “The University of Illinois, Southern Illinois University and Rose-Hulman all use computer interfaces to analyze data,” he added.

The lab also acquired a new gas discharge tube, which can be used with an existing measuring device. The equipment allows students to see the emission spectrum of different gas samples and can be used for a broad range of classes including chemistry and astronomy.

Students also will benefit from the purchase of new electrostatic kits. These enable students to study the properties of electrical charges and fields.

“Before we had random pieces of equipment, which had been put together over the years,” Mason said. “These are professionally assembled kits.”

Students also will be using new charge sensors, which show the numerical value of positive and negative charges and a new resonance tube that will enable them to study sound waves.

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