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Snakes' virtual glasses, leopard spots and all-optical transistors

es the plasmons to interact in ways that enhance or decrease the transmission of the signal beam through the film. That is, the film acts as an all-optical transistor, with the potential to serve as a building block in optical circuits and optical versions of microelectronic devices.

Multiple Choice Makes Better Tests
Michael Scott, Tim Stelzer, and Gary Gladding
Physical Review Special Topics ?Physics Education Research
http://link.aps.org/abstract/PRSTPER/v2/e020102

Multiple-choice tests are better than test questions that require students to work out extended problems with a pencil and paper, according to a study of physics undergrads at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. While a comparison with longer format tests showed that multiple-choice questions were roughly as good at evaluating students' relative performance, there are additional benefits to eliminating calculation-crammed test booklets. Multiple choice tests ease grading demands in large classes, reduce grading ambiguity and inconsistencies between graders, and severely cut back on the numbers of students contesting grades. While standardized test questions for exams like the SATs and GREs undergo rigorous evaluations, the Illinois study focused on tests designed by instructors with little or no formal training in writing exam questions. Nevertheless, the researchers conclude that multiple choice exams in the University's physics classes A) are just as reliable and valid as other types of tests in gauging students' understanding of class material, B) are as good or better than traditional format tests at assessing relative rankings of students in a class, C) effectively eliminate student complaints about grading fairness, D) all of the above. (Answer: D)
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Source:American Physical Society


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