2012-10-31 / Local News

Father & daughter team up to make science accessible for everyone

MEET SHANNI & DAVID PRUTCHI…
By RACHEL SIMPSON Voice staff

FAMILY:
Wife & mother Dorith;
daughters/siblings
Hannah, 14, &
Abigail, 10

FAVORITE FOOD:
David—Mediterranean
Shanni—Cotton Candy

PLACES TRAVELED
TOGETHER:
Puerto Rico, Israel,
Ecuador & Uruguay

PETS:
Dog named “Schrodi”
after physicist Dr.
Erwin Schrodinger

Quantum physics is not a topic most people mention in everyday conversation. In fact, according to David and Shanni Prutchi, most people share a common misconception that physics is too complicated an issue to approach and therefore shy away from learning more about it. So, the Cherry Hill fatherdaughter team set out to prove that even those without formal backgrounds in physics could conquer the subject.

“What we want people to realize is that you don’t have to be a physicist to understand quantum physics. Many ideas are taken out of context,” said Shanni, 16, who co-authored the book “Exploring Quantum Physics Through Hands-on Projects” with her dad. “By taking a scientifically minded but not necessarily academic approach, we set out to explain how people can work with physics and understand it.”

The team, who said they focused more so on the concept of quantum physics as opposed to the mathematical aspect, conducted experiments and recorded them in their book. “The book is the story and understanding of quantum physics and experiments,” said David.

The duo chose hands-on projects that can be replicated around the house or at school with common items and second-hand equipment. It is meant to guide the do-it-yourself science enthusiast through the construction and use of setups to reproduce key experiments that explain the current understanding of the quantum world. Most importantly for the do-it-yourselfer, all experimental equipment can be built out of relatively inexpensive materials that are readily available at the hardware store or online.

According to the Prutchis’ website www.diyphysics.com, their approach is different than those taken by prior authors because they teach quantum physics through unique hands-on projects as opposed to diagrams. They said that while professional books are largely inaccessible to anyone without a graduate degree in physics, and high-level hobby books restrict the scope to science-fair projects, the Prutchi approach can be enjoyed by all.

“Writing the book just seemed like the natural progression. My dad and I have always worked together on science projects around the house,” said Shanni. “Building has been something I’ve always done,” added her father. “When I was 17, I built my own portable phone at a time when cell phones didn’t exist.”

David said he and Shanni are always looking for long-term projects to do together. “When Shanni was in fifth grade, we built a radio telescope and scanned the sky for a fourmonth period.”

David, a professional medical device developer, and Shanni, a senior at Jack M. Barrack Hebrew Academy in Bryn Mawr, PA with a special interest in electrical engineering and quantum information systems, are excited to have published their book together. “It went through rounds of reviews before being accepted and published by a prestigious scientific publisher and can be found on Barnes and Noble.com and Amazon,” said David.

For now, the Prutchis will continue to work together on more projects and who knows, perhaps more books are in their future. .

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