Conclusions

If you have reached this point with a good understanding of the inner workings of electric current conduction in wires the goal of this course has been met. But if you have arrived here in desperation over the unfulfilled promise given in the Introduction then accept my apologies. The topics discussed are not trivial and are not accessible by any other simpler means to the knowledge of this author. Up until now they have either relied on solutions of Maxwell's equations or have been simplified to the point of disgust by experts and uselessness for the student.

The course presented here may find some raised eyebrows among quantum physicists who do not like to deal with individual electrons. The justification for doing it anyway is the fact that all the phenomena we have reproduced with individual electron interactions are well supported by experimental evidence. Limiting ourselves to the classical mechanics and relativity principles has enabled us to present a treatment of this difficult subject in a manner that makes it accessible to pre-calculus students. The copious use of dynamic displays which were employed as a welcome substitute for partial differential equations has been deemed vital for a possible success of this venture. And a venture it was battling the moving targets of HTML, Java, Browsers, JIT's and a plethora of platforms from UNIX to Windows and MacIntoshes. It is hoped that this promising teaching medium lives up to its full potential and the author would gladly entertain any suggestions sent to zvonko_f@pacbell.net.

Should the attempt to present scientific concepts over the Internet in the "Nature's style" prove to be effective, more such offerings will be forthcoming. The European program known under the name CoLoS (Conceptual Learning of Science) is developing similar works in various fields of science. Many CoLoS authors, I have been in touch with, have expressed their willingness to offer similar courses in order to make a difference in the methods of teaching sciences.

Acknowledgments

This author is indebted to Hewlett-Packard Company for continuous support of this project. Particular thanks go to the former VP of R&D and Director of HP Laboratories Dr. Joel Birnbaum who, himself a physicist, has not only supported but actively encouraged the approach to teaching conceptual sciences in the manner employed in this course.

The dynamic portion of this work was developed initially under the UNIX platform with the vital help from Dr.Charles Young, who has written the first version of the animator used herein. The exceptional work of Klemen Zagar from Slovenia has given the UNIX version its first WEB-wings. He has devised and implemented a new MIME type that made it possible to transparently download the simulations and animations over the Internet. Unfortunately the UNIX version was only accessible to HP-UX users.

The advent of Java has opened the door to a broader distribution of such materials but the conversion of a large number of highly complex simulations presented a nontrivial task. To the rescue came the team of Java student-experts assembled by prof. Damjan Zazula and Andrej Sostaric at the University of Maribor in Slovenija [uni-mb.si]. One of the students, Milan Gabor, laid the foundation for a team that developed all Java simulations found in this work. Matjaz Divjak, Iztok Prelog and Ales Holobar were among the first team members. Miha Grcar, also from Slovenija, wrote a new Java animator based on Charles Young specifications under the code name Mija (Miha's interactive java animator) and made it into an indispensable tool. But to Ales Holobar, who has tackled the most demanding simulations, go my special thanks. He has contributed the lion's share of the total effort and has made numerous vital improvements to all simulations during the final polishing phase of this work. But, undoubtedly, his crowning contribution was the solution of a persistent animator malfunction that occurred only with the remote use of the Internet Explorer.

Zvonko Fazarinc