AAPT.org - American Association of Physics Teachers


April 2007

From the Editors
Published April 16, 2007

AAPT is entering a particularly busy period—final preparations for the Summer Meeting in Greensboro, many upcoming planning and strategy meetings, and an Executive Board meeting at the end of this month—this is an exciting time to be member and AAPT NEWS will help you stay informed. Highlights of this issue: An Interactions preview, a PAG update, and President Leff's newest commentary. Enjoy.

If you have a news item or feedback for the AAPT NEWS: Please write and tell us.


Action Items and Notable Dates

News for Members

President's Commentary
Time Keeps on Slippin', Slippin', Slippin'... By Harvey S. Leff

Planning Action Group (PAG) Update 5
A report on the March 23-25 meeting of PAG is here.

2007 Summer Meeting Program Preview
The Program Preview for our National Meeting in Greensboro, NC, will be mailed in early May. In the meantime, for the latest information and to register, visit our meeting page.

Advanced Laboratories Site
AAPT has launched a website dedicated to Advanced Labs. Once completed, it will provide a central, comprehensive information base for faculty who teach upper-level undergraduate laboratories.

Setting the Stage: FY 2008 S&T Appropriations Bills
The stage has been set for the next all-important steps in the FY 2008 S&T appropriations cycle. The House and Senate Appropriations Committees will soon start outlining S&T funding bills for the fiscal year beginning on October 1. There are several indications of a promising outcome for physical sciences funding. More details are available at: http://www.aip.org/fyi/2007/040.html
AAPT encourages all members to visit our Legislative Action Center and voice their support and opinions.

The Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching
These awards are the United States' highest honors for teachers of mathematics and science. The Awards recognize highly qualified K-12 teachers for their contributions in the classroom and to their profession. All PTRA should consider applying for this award. For more information and the online nomination form (deadline: May 1) visit: http://www.paemst.org/page.cfm?pageID=3.

APS Excellence in Physics Education Award
Nominations are invited for this 2008 award. The first award was made in 2007 to the Physical Sciences Study Committee and the implementers of the PSSC curriculum, which has had a major national influence on physics education at both the pre-college and college levels. The award, which consists of $5,000 and a certificate citing the achievements of the recipients, was established to recognize and honor a team or group of individuals (such as a collaboration), or exceptionally a single individual, who has exhibited a sustained commitment to excellence in physics education. More information: http://www.aps.org/programs/honors/awards/education.cfm.

Publish Your News Here
Have a news item you'd like to share with the AAPT membership in the May issue? Send it to us by May 7—be sure to include a brief overview and a URL (website address) where readers can go to for more information: news@aapt.org.

News from the National Office

Interactions: March/April Issue Preview
The forthcoming issue, mailing on April 19, will feature themes and topics related to undergraduate physics, including a conversation with an award-wining physics professor on teaching introductory physics and an article on rethinking classroom design to support student-centered, active learning. Read more about Interactions and the transition of the Announcer here.

2007 AAPT High School Photo Contest
The final deadline is May 15. For more details and an entry form, visit the contest homepage.

Absolute Zero and the Conquest of Cold: AAPT Is a National Partner
AAPT is supporting this upcoming PBS television special and teaching guide.
Visit the campaign site for more details.

Upcoming Conferences, Meetings, Symposiums, and Events 

Six Flags America Roller Coaster Design Contest
AAPT and Six Flags America's Annual Roller Coaster Design Contest will take place at the 2007 Physics Day to be held at Six Flags America on Friday, April 27, 2007. To find out how you and your school can enter this exciting contest visit the website.

SERC/ComPADRE Summer 2007 Workshop, July 29-30
The SERC Pedagogy Service and ComPADRE will host a workshop at the AAPT Summer Meeting to build and publish examples for using effective pedagogies in physics classes. The goal is to have experienced teachers and faculty create activities that fit specific pedagogic models and that will be published in the ComPADRE digital library. Participants will have travel costs to the AAPT meeting reimbursed. Participation in this workshop will be by invitation. For more information and application instructions, visit: http://www.compadre.org/portal/features/event.cfm?ID=7

AAPT Topical Conference: Computational Physics for Upper Level Courses
This conference takes place at Davidson College, NC, July 27-28, 2007 (immediately preceding the AAPT Summer Meeting in Greensboro, NC). The purpose of this conference is to identify problems where computation helps students understand key physics concepts. Participants are university and college faculty interested in integrating computation at their institutions. More details are available here.

AAPT National Meetings: Save the Dates
  • Summer 2007, July 28-Aug 1 (Greensboro, NC)
  • Winter 2008, Jan 19-23 (Baltimore, MD)
  • Summer 2008, July 19-23 (Edmonton, Alberta)
  • Winter 2009 w/AAAS, Feb 12-16 (Chicago, IL)
  • Summer 2009, Dates TBD (Ann Arbor, MI)
  • Winter 2010 w/APS, Feb 11-18 (Washington, DC)
Team America Rocketry Challenge, May 19
The Challenge takes place in The Plains, VA. AAPT is the Education Partner. For more details, including the just announced finalists, visit the Team America site.

Activity-Based Physics Faculty Institutes
Are you interested in increasing your students' understanding of the physical world? Two-year college, four-year college, and university faculty are invited to attend one of the NSF-sponsored Activity Based Physics Faculty Institutes to be held at the University of Oregon in June 2007 and at Dickinson College in June 2008. For more information and an application, please visit the website.

Summer Workshop: The Role of Nuclear Power, June 20-24

Washington & Lee University (Lexington, VA) and the Council on Foreign Relations will sponsor this interdisciplinary workshop for educators on the role of nuclear power in meeting future U.S. energy requirements. Experts in science, technology, economics, regulation, and proliferation will provide information and insights to address the deliberations surrounding this energy source. For more information visit http://npw.wlu.edu

International Workshop on Historic Scientific Instruments, June 21-24
The University of Mississippi will host the second Scientific Instrument Collections in the University, or SICU2, workshop that aims to solidify the foundation for finding, describing, organizing, preserving, and using the vast resource of historic instrument collections available in academic institutions worldwide. Visit the website for more details.

Nuclear Workshop: "Hiroshima and Nagasaki for College Teachers," June 25-29
This one-week workshop will be guided by Raymond G. Wilson, Ph.D., Emeritus Associate Professor, Physics Department, Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington. For more details visit: http://titan.iwu.edu/~physics/Hiroshima.html

The ATE Program for Physics Faculty Project Offers Workshop, June 28-30

A workshop for two-year college and high school faculty has been announced: Data Visualization Techniques and Strategies at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA. More information is available at: http://www.physicsworkshops.org

Iron Science Teacher: An Offbeat Science Competition for Teachers
Cheer on the competitors in this zany, science cook-off, where teachers compete before a live audience at the Exploratorium for the revered title, "Iron Science Teacher." In a fast-paced atmosphere where showmanship and creativity reign, science teachers are given 10 minutes and a secret ingredient to concoct a science activity that can be used in the classroom. Program runs on Fridays (Noon-1 p.m.) beginning June 29. More details available at: Available on the web at http://www.exploratorium.edu/iron_science

Dual Conferences on Gravitation, July 8-14
The 18th International Conference on General Relativity and Gravitation and the 7th Edoardo Amaldi Conference on Gravitation Waves will take place in Sidney, Australia. These conferences will bring together the world's leading scientists working in the fields of General Relativity and Gravitation. More details are available at http://www.grg18.com and http://www.amaldi7.com.

Physics Modeling Institute, July 9-27

UNC-Charlotte will offer a physics modeling institute on mechanics designed to enhance physics teaching at the high school level by training teachers in the Modeling Method of physics instruction. This proven method enhances student understanding through inquiry-based activities, data analysis techniques, and model development and deployment. Registration and details can be found at http://education.uncc.edu/cmste

Summer Updating/Retraining Program for Elementary, MS, and HS Teachers
The Department of Physics and Astronomy at Ball State University will host nine  one-week courses this summer. The courses are presented in a hands on laboratory format and demonstrate science teaching methods, stress the use of technology, and provide new content instruction. For more information visit http://www.bsu.edu/physics/summer/

Physics and Everyday Thinking/Physical Science and Everyday Thinking Workshops
This summer, workshops on PET and PSET will be offered in Tennessee and California to prepare faculty from universities and two-year and four-year colleges to teach the guided inquiry courses. These workshops are free and are supported by the National Science Foundation. Information about the workshops, the two courses, and how to apply is at: http://cpucips.sdsu.edu/workshops

Cosmos in the Classroom 2007, August 3-5
This three-day, hands-on symposium on teaching astronomy to non-science majors, will be held at Pomona College in Southern California. The meeting is sponsored by the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, with co-sponsorship by a range of astronomical and educational organizations. For updated information and to get on the mailing list for the meeting, visit this website.

2008 Toyota International Teacher Program (Costa Rica)
This year selected participants will have the opportunity to learn through hands-on projects about the environment, culture, history, and education system of Costa Rica. All full-time classroom teachers in grades 7-12 in all 50 states and the District of Columbia are eligible to apply. The deadline for application is September 7, 2007. For more information visit: www.iie.org/toyota.

International Conference on Multimedia in Physics Teaching and Learning
This conference takes place, September 13-15 in Wroclaw, Poland. Its aim is to exchange trends, research results, new materials and experiences with regard to the use of multimedia in physics education and is sponsored by European Physical Society. Visit the website for more details: http://mptl12.ifd.uni.wroc.pl/

Physics and Education News

A selection of recent stories of interest to our members.*

The Association for Women in Science Announces Election Results
Source: AWIS (Press Release, PDF)

Key to the Quantum Industry
Source: PhysicsWeb

Cassini Spacecraft Images Seas on Saturn's Moon Titan
Source: NASA

Are Public Universities Losing Ground?
Source: Inside Higher Ed

Prediction Proved: Light Speeds Up An Asteroid as It Spins
Source: The New York Times (Free Registration)

Decade of Blacks in Science
Source: The Benjamin Banneker Institute for Science and Technology

Video of the Month
Stardust: A Comet Comes to the Lab
Source: Science/AAS

A Hidden Twist in the Black Hole Information Paradox
Source: ScienceDaily

March 14, 1879: Mr. Big
Source: Wired

The Case for National Standards in American Education
Source: Education Week (Limited free subscription)

The Hole Story
Source: Discover (Subscription required)

Puzzle of the Month
Source: Scientific American

Opinion: The Power of U.S. Universities
Source: The Indianapolis Star

All Physics Great and Small: Explorations in String Cosmology
Source: The New York Academy of Sciences (Free Overview)

Mystery of the MegaFlood
Source: NOVA/PBS

Spacecraft May Surf the Solar System on Magnetic Fields
Source: NewScientist

Google to Handle Telescope Data
Source: Physics Today

Michigan Science Teachers Reaffirm Evolution
Source: National Center for Science Education

Photo of the Month
1,000 Black Holes Revealed in New Sky Survey
Source: National Geographic

Famous Physicists Online
Source: American Institute of Physics

Recommended Reading 

American Journal of Physics
Article of the Month
"Resource Letter PSEn-1: Physics and Society: Energy" by Art Hobson.
(AJP online subscribers only, PDF)

The Physics Teacher
Article of the Month
"Two Kinds of Electron?" by Franklin Miller, Jr.
(Free, PDF)

Career Center

Looking for the best physics job candidates and job opportunities? The AAPT Career Center is part of the Physics Today Career Network focused on the physics industry and its related disciplines. The network reaches more than 120,000 physicists and other scientists in a broad range of sectors from academia to industry to government and nonprofit organizations. It offers advertisers unmatched exposure and the best buy for their advertising dollar. Visit the online Career Center.


AAPT NEWS is a service to members of the American Association of Physics Teachers and is produced by the AAPT National Office. It is published monthly on or about the 15th. All issues are archived here. Other stories of significance appear in our
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* Links to non-AAPT sites are intended as a service to readers interested in AAPT, physics, and education. These links do not reflect an endorsement of any content or product. Also, due to the evolving nature of websites, some external links referenced in the AAPT NEWS may expire over time.