Michael W. Roth

Professor of Physics   

  Begeman (Physics) 313
The University of Northern Iowa
Cedar Falls, IA  50614-0463

e-mail: rothm@uni.edu

    voice: (+1) (319) 273-7336
     FAX: (+1) (319) 273-7136

             Hydrogen                                          Atom                      Blood2


Front7             Front8


Figure1                                  Slide10 


                 Front3        Hexane                                                 front10            Front9                                                                         Blood1                                             

General Information

My Abbreviated Curriculum Vita
My Fall 2011 Schedule

  Roth’s Fall  2012 Classes

Modeling and Simulation of Physical Systems

   UNI Courses Taught So Far      

Physics in Everyday Life 880:012
Conceptual Physics 880:011
General Physics I 880:054 /
Fundamentals of Physics I 880:157g
General Physics II 880:056 /
Fundamentals of Physics II 880:158g
Physics I for Science and Engineering 880:130

Physics II for Science and Engineering 880:131

Classical Mechanics 880:166g Quantum Mechanics 880:172g
Modeling and Simulation of Physical Systems 880:205
MCAT Review 880:189g Physics Seminar 880:187

Note: The actual class schedule may differ slightly from what is presented in the syllabi above. But they will give you a good idea of what we covered. 

Research Activities Past and Present


Student co - workers

Eric Chamberlin

Jason Djuren

Jane Mezentseva

Aaron Pelton (with me)

Wes Even
Cary Pint and Nathan Beougher

Ryan Sanger

Justin  Smith

Bryce Suchy

Max Salazar


Matt Connolly


William Griffin
Eddie Maldonado James Dean Karson Bader
Christian Leerberg
Cody Wilson Chris Massina Jason McIntosh MattK
Matt Karl
           Matthew Kaspar

Brodie Wandling
        Mollie Small

      Tyler Rash

Some of my research tools

Publication list

Presentation list

Research Visualization I: Pictures

Research Visualization II: Videos

 Science for young persons - - related links

All of the sites have been visited by the page author and many links tested, but not every link within each page has been followed and tested. The contents of each link can not be guaranteed. I hope you will find the links interesting, helpful and most of all inspiring in conveying the beauty and awe of science to the best scientists of all - children. 

http://www.warts.org/library/hands-on-science-projects.htm (thanks Angela!)
















The antique book and trigonometry corner

The shelves of my office are graced by the presence of old books - math and science titles dating back to the 1840's. Many of these books have illustrations that are beautiful and mesmerizing to look at. The links below will take you to many of my favorite illustrations. Since many of the pictures are illustrations from trigonometry textbook problems, you will find challenging exercises as well! Feel free to email me if you seek answers or solutions to them. They're great trig practice material! Note: The first two titles are not in my collection; they belong to Department Head, Cliff Chancey.

A Brief Outline of Physics, or Natural Philosophy, Robert Patterson, Whitehall Publishers, 1807

Elements of Natural Philosophy, Lennard D. Gale, MD, Collins, Keese & CO, 1838

Ray's Algebra Part First, Joseph Ray, M.D., Clark, Austin and Smith,  1848

Fish's Arithmetic (Number One and Number Two), Daniel W. Fish, A.M., Ivison, Blakeman & Co.,  1883

Elements of Plane and Spherical Trigonometry, C.W. Crockett, American Book Co.,  1896

Laboratory Exercises in Physics, Fuller and Brownlee, Allyn and Bacon, 1913

College Physics, Arthur L. Kimball, Henry Holt and Company, 1917

Plane and Spherical Trigonometry, Kells, Kern and Bland,  McGraw-Hill, 1940


Note: cosec = OD and sec = OM.

Note: Many of the older books (like Crockett) presented various trig functions as not only ratios but as lengths of certain lines constructed using a right triangle inscribed inside a circle (see above). I think it is a neat way to view the functions - just imagine the radius of the circle rotating and you can immediately see what the limiting values of the functions will be. Can you convince yourself that the labels in the above figure are correct if you take the radius of the circle to be one unit? If you follow the link to Crockett (above) you can also be introduced to the seldom - used versed sine (vers), coversed sine (covers) and the suversed sine (the last of which is not shown in the figure above). 

My Miscellaneous Interests

Mechanics and Vehicle Restoration

I enjoy working on my older vehicles. Not only do they hold a lot of memories for me but in my mind's eye they place me in a certain time in my life. The two Ramblers that have been junked are sort of chronologically "freeze - framed" but my third one is slated for restoration at some point and will hold a whole new significance and will carry some of the old with it. I hope you enjoy the pics.

My 1970 4x4 Ford pickup recently  

The same truck (4x2 then!) and me in the summer of 1974

I'd like it to look something like this someday  

My 1969 Pla-mor camper recently

Parked in my childhood yard, June 1973

Me by our first Rambler (1964 Rambler Classic 660 w/ overdrive)

My second Rambler (1964 Rambler Classic 660 w/ overdrive)

My third (and probably permanent) rambler (1964 Rambler Classic 770 w/ overdrive)

It's got factory a/c also  and has parts on it from my first two Ramblers.

Take a look under the hood

Here's the goal for my 770 wagon someday

The dream for the camper: Here's proof that there is hope for this relic.

For more information on what my Rambler is about, see Gwen's 1964 Ramblers. Excellent!!

The Anatomy Lab

As a young child the best teacher I have ever had (my father) got me interested in science through biology, and skeletons in particular. Instead of going to the races, carnivals or anything else, my idea of a perfect weekend was to go to the (old) anatomy lab (now since destroyed and relocated) at Colorado State University  where he worked and to hang out in the skeleton room or fool around somewhere else. Although my deepest passions are with physics, one never forgets their first love. There is in my opinion unmatched symmetry, intricacy and beauty to be found in studying skeletal anatomy. Several of my favorite examples are below, and all are sufficiently old to be in public domain. I find pathological examples very interesting too but have not posted any here, for obvious reasons.  

Horse, cow, sheep and pig skeletons, respectively, from left to right, from Cyclopedia of Live Stock and Complete Stock Doctor (1911).
Comparative anatomy of a human/bird (Belon, 1555); bear/monkey (unknown).

Comp2                  Comp1
A nice comparative plate (left) from Benjamin Waterhouse Hawkins (1850's) and
(right) an excerpt from an unknown book and author but with  figures identical to those in Cyclopedia (above a bit...)

Stubbs1      Stubbs2     Human_tiger       Tiger
Excerpts from an absolutely masterful comparative anatomy piece by George Stubbs
"A Comparative Anatomical Exposition of the Human Body with that of a Tiger and a Common Fowl" (1795-1806). The tiger skeleton here makes the point clearly but is not from Stubbs  - I'm still trying to find it...

Rib cages (after Schultz, 1969)

Brehm      Primates          Gorilla2
Gorilla skeleton, after Brehm (left;1886); my all-time favorite! Redrawn many times with and without a broken left arm. The skeleton was also photographed by Roger Fenton in the mid - 1850's
Hedge    Irish       Sitting
Hedgehog skeleton, Murlat (1682); Irish Elk; Human. I like the natural postures of all these. 

Vesalius3      Vesalius1      Vesalius2
From Vesalius's De Humani Corporis Fabrica (On the Fabric of the Human Body) (1543).

Owen     Ichthy
My favorite dinosaurs - extinct marine reptiles! plesiosaur (left) and ichthyosaur (right), Owen (1860).

Cope1       Cope2
Cope's elasmosaur with the head on the wrong end (left; 1868) and then
corrected after gentle and then scathing criticism (right; 1970).


 Horrible Jokes From Class


Did you hear about the astronomer that got fired? He just couldn't get Sirius.

Here's the syllabus. I've got a serious one in the prep room.

I am going to pass out.................the tests.

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road? A: They were both vectors.

Q: Why did the chicken cross the road? A: I don't really know, but the result was perpendicular to both the chicken and the road.

Today we're going to cover some key concepts (subsequently throwing keys on the table)

Calculus is an integral part of understanding physics.

I saved gravity until now because it is such a heavy topic.

You'll like thermodynamics. It's a hot topic.

Some students find electric fields shocking but most get a charge out of them.

These ray diagrams are quite illuminating.

That joke was so dry it could dehydrate rocks on Mars.

One really should keep an ion charged particles.

As far as understanding vectors goes, I want to point you in the right direction.

(Follow-up): But talking about matrices in general should not make you tenser.

Electrostatically speaking, nature putting two protons in the helium nucleus is like you jumping in a small car with the person you despise most on this planet, welding the doors shut and driving non-stop to Wyoming. But the nuclear force is like somebody paying you each $1M to do it.

2 p? I'll take blueberry and cherry.

These two terms cancel like a stamp at the post office.

Now we can cancel like a kid in a candy store.

These two terms cancel like a bad sitcom.

These terms cancel like a brand of water flavored ice cream.

Understanding how vectors add puts you in a superposition to finish the homework.

I had this friend in college and his name was Morris. I got to know him really well, and so I called him “Mo”. He was one of the most sincere persons I have ever known. I could tell because of all the things Mo said, Mo meant ‘em. (momentum)

A right triangle is much better than a wrong one.

Did you know Helium could polymerize? It's really funny! He-He-He

Is this dining or charge? Charge - I'm positive.

You need a magnetic personality to study the right hand rule. Magnetic

Last updated: August 23, 2012

All graphics on this page are believed to be available for use by the page author. If you own a copyright to an image here and it is not in this category, appropriate arrangements will be made or it will be promptly removed per your request.

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