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  1. Abstract

    Mastering the concept of distributed forces is vital for students who are pursuing a major involving engineering mechanics. Misconceptions related to distributed forces that are typically acquired in introductory Physics courses should be corrected to increase student success in subsequent mechanics coursework. The goal of this study was to develop and assess a guided instructional activity using augmented reality (AR) technology to improve undergraduate engineering students' understanding of distributed forces. The AR app was accompanied by a complementary activity to guide and challenge students to model objects as beams with progressively increasing difficulty. The AR tool allowed students to (a) model a tabletop as a beam with multiple distributed forces, (b) visualize the free body diagram, and (c) compute the external support reactions. To assess the effectiveness of the activity, 43 students were allocated to control and treatment groups using an experimental nonequivalent groups preactivity/postactivity test design. Of the 43 students, 35 participated in their respective activity. Students in the control group collaborated on traditional problem‐solving, while those in the treatment group engaged in a guided activity using AR. Students' knowledge of distributed forces was measured using their scores on a 10‐item test instrument. Analysis of covariance was utilized to analyze postactivity test scores by controlling for the preactivity test scores. The treatment group demonstrated a significantly greater improvement in postactivity test scores than that of the control group. The measured effect size was 0.13, indicating that 13% of the total variance in the postactivity test scores can be attributed to the activity. Though the effect size was small, the results suggest that a guided AR activity can be more effective in improving student learning outcomes than traditional problem‐solving.

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  3. Abstract The balloon-borne ANITA [1] experiment is designed to detect ultra-high energy neutrinos via radio emissions produced by in-ice showers. Although initially purposed for interactions within the Antarctic ice sheet, ANITA also demonstrated the ability to self-trigger on radio emissions from ultra-high energy charged cosmic rays [2] (CR) interacting in the Earth's atmosphere. For showers produced above the Antarctic ice sheet, reflection of the down-coming radio signals at the Antarctic surface should result in a polarity inversion prior to subsequent observation at the ∼35–40 km altitude ANITA gondola. Based on data taken during the ANITA-1 and ANITA-3 flights, ANITA published two anomalous instances of upcoming cosmic-rays with measured polarity opposite the remaining sample of ∼50 UHECR signals [3, 4]. The steep observed upwards incidence angles (25–30 degrees relative to the horizontal) require non-Standard Model physics if these events are due to in-ice neutrino interactions, as the Standard Model cross-section would otherwise prohibit neutrinos from penetrating the long required chord of Earth. Shoemaker et al. [5] posit that glaciological effects may explain the steep observed anomalous events. We herein consider the scenarios offered by Shoemaker et al. and find them to be disfavored by extant ANITA and HiCal experimental data. We note that the recent report of four additional near-horizon anomalous ANITA-4 events [6], at >3σ significance, are incompatible with their model, which requires significant signal transmission into the ice. 
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