In the Summer of 2014, with many other science teachers, I took a four-day-long A.P. Physics training session, which was definitely a valuable experience, for me, as a teacher. On the last day of this training, though, in the late afternoon, as the trainer and trainees were winding things up, some of us, including me, started getting a little silly. Physics teachers, of course, have their own version of silly behavior. Here’s what happened.
The trainer: “Let’s see how well you understand the different forces which can serve as centripetal forces, in different situations. When I twirl a ball, on a string, in a horizontal circle, what is the centripetal force?”
The class of trainees, in unison: “Tension!”
Trainer: “In the Bohr model of a hydrogen atom, the force keeping the electron traveling in a circle around the proton is the . . . ?”
Class: “Electromagnetic force!”
Trainer: “What force serves as the centripetal force keeping the Earth in orbit around the Sun?”
Me, loudly, before any of my classmates could answer: “God’s will!”
I was, remember, surrounded by physics teachers. It took the trainer several minutes to restore order, after that.