Picture of Tom

Thomas J. Bauer

Sr. Instructor in Physics Laboratory


B.A. in Physics, Wabash College in Crawfordsville, IN
M.S. in Physics, University of Idaho, Moscow, ID


Currently I am teaching the labs for the Introductory E&M (PHYS108) and the Advanced Physics Laboratory (PHYS310)


Click here for a Current Schedule
Office : Science Center Room E128 ( Just off the Mini-Focus)


My greatest interest since coming to Wellesley has been improving the laboratory equipment to make greater use of computers. I've spent considerable time interfacing instruments in our Quantum Mechanics Laboratory to simplify data acquisition and analysis. I think that it is important that students see how computers can allow us to do experiments that were not possible (or extremely tediuous) just a few years ago. Currently I am using Matlab for writing the programs to do this.

Programming in Matlab has been very ejoyable for me as it allows you to use the operating system commands for tasks such as printing and file reading and writing. This makes the programing easier in addition to making it portable to other computer platforms.

Spectrum of Hydrogen and Deuterium made with the above software and a Spex 1-meter Spectrometer

I wrote a program in Matlab which takes an FFT of a .wmv file and plots the sound spectrum in false color as a function of time. From the Doppler shift you can determine the speed of a moving object. Here is a link to a P51 Mustang doing a fly-by.

Sound Spectrum of a P51 fly-by

Sound Spectrum of a speeding car

To download a windows self exctrating executable file of SoundSpectrum, Right click or Option click on the link below and choose "Save Target As"

Windows Executable Soundspectrum file

To download the Matlab SoundSpectrum source code Right click or Option click on the link below and choose "Save Target As"

Zipped Matlab source code for Soundspectrum

Simulation of White Light Fringes in a Michelson Interferometer

Demonstration of Poisson's Spot

A ping Pong ball is placed in 3 meter long piece of 1 1/2" PVC pipe. Packing tape is placed over the ends, PVC coupler fittings are pushed over the tape, and the air is evacuated with a vacuum pump. A knife is used to rupture the tape. The inrushing air pushes the ball down the pipe and out the end of the tube. See if you can determine how fast the ball is traveling. There is a meter stick in the background. How fast is the small piece of tape at the end going? Download the video and play it back with QuickTime. You can use the cursor keys to step though the video frame by frame.

Movie of PingPong Ball going through a Soda Can

Laser Induced Fluorescence in Iodine

Flying a Model Glider at the Boston Sewage Treatment Plant


I started teaching at Wellesley in 1986. Before that I worked for Steward Observatory at the University of Arizona in Tucson as an Electronic/Instrument engineer. In 1989-90 my family and I spent a sabbatical back at Steward Observatory's Mirror Lab where I worked on a camera to take pictures of glass melting in the labs 30-ton rotating oven.

In 1997-98 my family and I spent a sabatical year in Boulder, CO where I worked on a fiber-optic sensor for Hydrazine at a small chemical engineering company.

  • Physics
  • Date Created: 20 April 1995
  • Last Modified: 03/05/2013
  • Expires: 01/01/2014