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The Physics Department is actively seeking donations to the Physics Projects Fund to improve the quality of the physics educational programs and to provide enrichment opportunities for the students here at San Mateo High School and for the benefit of physics teachers of Northern California as well (via PTSOS). Whether you donate to San Mateo High School or PTSOS, all donations are tax-deductible as both organizations are non-profit tax-exempt organizations and 501.(c)(3) qualified.

I am currently seeking support for the following projects.
Prospective donors please contact me for further information or if you
    have any questions. Thanks in advance for your generosity and support.    
Paul Robinson -

HD LCD Projector ($1000)
This will enable to me to take maximum advantage of the 10 foot projection screen in my room for crystal-clear videos at an economical price.

CENCO E/M Apparatus ($3,000)
This classic e/m apparatus (pictured right) captures the best features of the old device, while incorporating new technology to improve performance, safety and longevity. The apparatus consists of a specially designed vacuum tube supported at the center of a pair of large Helmholtz coils. Within this tube an electron gun, surrounded by a coaxial anode containing a single axial slit and composed of a filament parallel to the axis of the coils, produces a narrow beam of electrons, the paths of which are rendered visible by mercury vapor in the tube. (
More details here.)

WebAssign ($15 per student)
WebAssign is an online homework system that is collated to the textbook. Students find out instantly if their answers are correct; emphasis is on learning because students get multiple chances to submit their answers. The questions are algorithm based--that is, each student gets a unique numerical solution to the same problem. This discourages and suppresses cheating and copying, which is so prevalent amongst student homework. Cost is $15 year per student. Donations are currently being accepted. Please make checks out to Physics Projects Fund.

AP Physics Textbooks ($1200)
Required for a class set for classroom use; this would enable students to leave their texts at home thereby increasing the lifetime and the necessity of carrying this heavy textbook in their backpacks.

Probeware ($2500)
Required hardware to utilize the computers as laboratory instruments.

Computers ($10,000)
The iMacs in our classroom are 10 years old and barely run OSX and are so outdated they wont' run Interactive Physics software that was donated to our program. The new generation iMacs are Unix based and have the chief advantage of running either Mac or PC platform software.

Bridge Analysis System ($2500)
Required to do quantitative work analyzing truss systems. I do an entire unit on the history and physics of the Golden Gate Bridge, The Bay Bridge, and the Millau Viaduct (in France). Currently my unit is primarily video based. Acquisition of this state of the art analysis system would enable quantitative analysis. The system requires a computer and software.

Physics Teacher SOS (PTSOS)
Operated the auspices of the Northern California/Nevada Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers, the PTSOS program was developed to address the needs of new and new to teaching physics teacher. I train and in-service both new and experienced physics teachers. Along with Dan Burns of Los Gatos High School and Stephanie Finander of Woodside High School, I conduct three day-long workshops during the school year. The Brown Foundation generously donates for the goodies/physics equipment we demonstrate to the participants and then give to them. As is the case of donating to the Physics Projects Fund, all donations are fully tax-deductible, as NCN-AAPT is a 501.(c)(3) corporation.

Thanks to the following organizations and individuals for giving so generously in support of our program.

Thanks to the kind people at Aquan Sports ( for their generous support. Aquan Sports specializes in all water-oriented sports including scuba diving, kyacking, surfing, kite boarding--you name it!

Thanks to parent donations, all physics students are currently using WebAssign ( state of the art online homework system. Students actually took part of their final exam last semester using this algorythm-based system (which means every student gets a different numerical version of the same problem). Students love it because they find out whether their answer is correct instantly and I give them multiple chances to submit an answer.

We owe a big round of applause to Sargent-Welch Company, a division of VWR International ( who very generously donated over $20,000 worth of surplus physics equipment to the Physics Teacher SOS program. The PTSOS program ( was created to specifically support the new and new to teaching physics teacher and holds 3 day-long workshops held in my classroom. The next workshop is Saturday, January 31st, and promises to be pretty exciting as teachers will get some big surprises called "goodies" to take home with them.

Thanks to the fine folks at Alliance Gas ( for providing liquid nitrogen to our physics community.

Thanks go to Troxell Communications, Inc. ( for donating a Lumens digital document camera to PTSOS. This is really an impressive piece of equipment. Overhead projectors have come a long way baby!

I'd like to thank the fine folks at Pasco Scientific Co. ( for their generous support of PTSOS. They are showcasing their new state of the art Bridge Structures System and their Spark Science Learning Systems at the PTSOS Workshop at San Mateo High School on January 31st, 2009.

I am grateful to Sportvision ( for generously configuring one of the multiple radar systems for me so that my students can conduct research on the motion of projectiles - most but not exclusively baseballs. This semester I have two students conducting independent research on the physics of baseball. This radar system is so powerful it will not only accurately measure the speed of the ball several hundred times on it's flight towards home plate, it will also measure bat speed. You can even detect the pitcher's motion--impressive! It currently works with a tower PC that uses Windows NT, making it a bit awkward to use at the baseball diamond. We are currently attempting to find an old laptop that has an ISA slot that will operate Windows NT making it easier and more flexible to use. I very much appreciate the efforts of Ken Milnes and Marv White of Sportvision for making this possible exciting opportunity available to me and my students.
Sportvision, based in Mountain View, CA, is the developer of the "first-down line" and other high-tech video products that enhance view sports viewing on TV including ESPN 's "Game Day" on and Pitch FX - a high speed video tracking system installed in every ball park in the major leagues that records every pitch thrown in MLB. This enables teams and the public to retrieve and analyze every pitch thrown in the major league baseball. They are currently developing "Hit FX" will do very much the same kind of thing for hitting. Hit's FX is due to be launched sometime this summer.