Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Enhancing student feedback

Tomorrow I am giving my first lecture using clickers!
Hopefully, it will all work o.k.
I have included two questions in the lecture on phase transitions
to test student understanding.
A useful resource on the use of clickers has been prepared by the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative at University of British Columbia.


  1. Hi! I've been following your blog for a while and, although I'm not a physicist but a computer scientist, I find your general insights about the research and science world to be very interesting!

    Today, however, out of curiosity I clicked on the link to see the slides on your lecture on phase transitions and got very curious about the "chocolate" question/example. I understand that this is not the question you were asking for (i.e. the number of phases in the concentration-temperature graph), but I'm suddenly very curious about this other question: is it at least theoretically possible to turn chocolate into gas? more generally, can any substance (having enough heat and the right pressure) be turned into something we would call a gas?

    Thanks in advance, and sorry for the maybe very basic question!

  2. Juan,

    thanks for your interest.
    any chemically distinct molecule can be produced in the gas phase if the temperature is high enough and the pressure low enough.
    e.g., a gas of caffeine is possible.
    chocolate contains many different molecules so one would produce a gas mixture of all these molecules.

  3. Good! Thank you very much for your answer!