AAPT.org - American Association of Physics Teachers

New logo for SM152015 Summer Meeting Highlights

Total Number of Attendees: 1334
Workshops: 47
Sessions: 99
Topical Discussions: 11


Additional Meeting Photos              Meeting Presentations


Meeting of the Committee on Physics in the High SchoolsTom Senior entertains with his amazing bubbles.Old and new meet at the Speed Networking Session in the UMD physics building.University of Maryland entrance

With more than 1300 attendees, the 2015 Summer Meeting had the highest number of participants of any AAPT meeting. Chartered in 1856 as the Maryland Agricultural College, the University of Maryland presented a unique perspective of the old and new for this unsurpassed opportunity to interact as a physics education community.  Dean Jayanth Banavar, of the UMD Department of Physics welcomed AAPT to campus and served as host for this outstanding meeting.

Attendees were able to participate in some great pre- and post-meeting events. PTRA celebrated their 30th anniversary and held their pre-conference Summer Leadership Institute. The first High School Physics Teacher Camp was an experimental opportunity for high school physics teachers to discuss topics such as inquiry labs, standards-based grading, video analysis, and computer-based labs. The positive feedback indicates that the program was a success.  The Second Conference on Laboratory Instruction Beyond the First Year of College with the theme, "Constructing Great Instructional lab Experiences, consisted of plenary speakers, panel discussions, breakout discussion sessions, and posters were presented in two sessions. Proceedings will be available on AAPT/ComPADRE. 

The Two-Year College Leadership Institute and Two-Year College Tandem Meeting included workshops, presentation and discussions focused on the issues and needs of the two-year college physics teaching community.

Attendees enjoyed a tour of the NASA Goddard Visitor Center, a guided presentation on Science on a Sphere, a mesmerizing visualization system developed by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, which uses computers and video projectors to display animated data on the outside of a suspended, 6-foot diameter, white sphere. The tour also included stops at the James Webb Space Telescope clean room window, one of the largest clean rooms in the world, and the Testing and Integration facility. This facility contains clean rooms for spacecraft integration and special chambers for environmental testing of spacecraft and components. 

Nearly 400 Physics Education Researchers participated in the post-meeting PER Conference, focused on the theme, "A critical examination of laboratory-centered instruction and experimental research in physics education."  The meeting included a 10th Anniversary Celebration of the Journal, Physical Review Special Topics, poster sessions, workshops and Talk Symposium topped off with a closing Plenary talk by Helen Quinn, What does a vision for K-12 education have to do with PER?  This PER Conference will be remembered as the meeting that had to be relocated due to a broken water main but planners and attendees managed to overcome the surprise challenge and hold a successful meeting.

The AAPT Fun Run/Walk continues to be a popular event providing a break from the intense learning format of the meeting and the Speed Networking event, providing an opportunity for new physics educators to interact "one on one" with seasoned professionals continued to grow.

The High School Physics Photo Contest and the Apparatus Competition are always highlights of the Summer Meeting and this year they enjoyed extra attention due to their convenient location near the exhibit hall.

Dwain Desbien and Gillian Winters were congratulated by AAPT's Dr. Beth Cunningham on their Excellence in Teaching Awards.The meeting included a wide range or inspiring plenary and award talks. Monday featured the presentation of the 2015 teaching awards and the Homer L. Dodge Citations for Distinguished Service to AAPT. The Halliday and Resnick award for Excellence in Pre-College Teaching was presented to Dwain Desbian from Estrella Mountain Community College. His talk was Introductory Physics: What We Teach, How We Teach it, and What We Should be Doing, The 2015 Paul W. Zitzewitz Award for Excellence in Pre-College Physics Teaching was presented to Gillian Winters from Smithtown Central School District. Her talk was Carp Diem, Seize the Opportunity!

The Summer 2015 recipients of the Homer L. Dodge Citations for Distinguished Service to AAPT were Kathleen A. Harper, The Ohio State University;Jill Marshall, University of Texas-Austin;Marie Plumb, Jamestown Community College (Retired);Scott Schultz, Delta College, Albert A. Thompson, Ponderosa High School (Retired).

Five new AAPT Fellows were presented, Frank Cascarano, Anthony Escuadro, Paul "Joe" Haefner, William Waggoner, and Paul Williams.  The each received a special certificate and the AAPT Fellow pin.

Dr. John Layman is honored for his service to AAPT.Dr. John Layman, a past president of AAPT (1982-83) and AAPT Archivist was honored by the association and presented with a plaque recognizing "his many years of dedication and service to AAPT as Secretary, President, Archivist, and numerous other roles."

David Weintraub receives the Klopsteg Memorial Lecture Award fro AAPT Awards Chair, Steve IonaThe Klopsteg Memorial Lecture Award was given to David A. Weintraub from Vanderbilt University. His talk, Exoplanets: The Pace of Discovery and the Potential Impact on Humanity, showcased his longstanding interest in the impact of science on human society, combined with his excellent popular science writing. 

Robert Morse is presented with the Millikan Medal by Steve Iona, Chair of the AAPT Awards Committee.Robert A. Morse of St. Albans School, Washington, DC, received the Millikan Medal for his notable and creative contributions to the teaching of physics. His talk, Facets of Physics Teaching_Pedagogical Engineering in the High School Classroom, was delivered to a theater full of enthusiastic physics participants.

Dr. S. James Gates giving plenary talk at SM15.The APS Plenary, co-sponsored by the American Physical Society Forum on Education and the Division of Particles and Fields, featured S. James Gates, Jr, Distinguished University Professor, University Regents Professor, and John H. Toll Professor of Physics from the University of Maryland, College Park delivered a memorable plenary, Is SUSY the Guardian of Our Reality from Oblivion?  

AIP presented the Andrew Gemant Award to Anissa Ramirez. This science evangelist who is passionate about getting the general public excited about science talked on Our Sputnik Moment in STEM Education. The co-author of "Newton's Football: The Science Behind America's Game" Ramirez signed copies for those who wanted to purchase copies of this book.

Special events began Sunday with the evening Opening Reception. Monday was the High School Teachers' Day and the schedule was packed with events and sessions of particular interest to high school teachers. Also on Monday were the First Timers Gathering, and the Early Career Professionals Speed Networking, Tuesday included the semi-annual Fun Run/Walk and Demo Show presented by the University of Maryland, Department of Physics.

SM15 Demo ShowFun Run/WalkThe Physics busSomething for everyone in the Exhibit Hall.

With Society of Physics Students (SPS) and regular poster sessions, 47 workshops, 99 paper sessions, and 11 Topical Discussions, Area Committee Meetings, and a sold out Exhibit Hall, the 2015 Summer Meeting in College Park had something of interest for everyone. We thank the University of Maryland for hosting the meeting.