AAPT.org - American Association of Physics Teachers


August 2007

From the Editors
Updated September 5, 2007

Among the highlights in this issue: a Summer Meeting recap from Lila Adair, an open letter to members from Toufic Hakim, a summary of recent Board actions, and news on electronic balloting. We hope you find AAPT NEWS useful and we welcome your feedback: Please write and tell us.


Action Items and Notable Dates

News for Members

Guest Commentary
"Thanks for the Memories, Greensboro"

By Lila Adair

Executive Officer's Commentary
"An Open Letter to AAPT Members"
By Toufic Hakim

Executive Board Summary
A summary of the Board's actions at the Summer Meeting can be found here.

2007-2008 AAPT Product Catalog
Find physics books for teachers, toys, AAPT T-shirts, and more. Now available in the AAPT online store.

AAPT in the News
Read about the Summer Meeting in the Greensboro News & Record and listen to Janet Guthrie's interview on National Public Radio.

Electronic Balloting Coming This Fall
The Executive Board has approved electronic balloting as an option for this year's election. View the list of candidates.

2007 High School Photo Contest Winners Announced
Visit the Winners Showcase to see the winning entries in the 2007 High School Photo Contest. To read more about this year's contest, click here.

U.S. Physics Team Blogs from Iran
The United States team earned two gold and three silver medals at the International Physics Olympiad. More details on the team site.

Call for Submissions
PTEC is soliciting papers for a forthcoming collection of articles on the preparation of physics and physical science teachers to be distributed to all physics departments. Prospectus submissions are due by March 1, 2008. A detailed set of editorial guidelines and procedures is available online at http://www.ptec.org/features/newsDetail.cfm?id=133.

Congress passes COMPETES Act
The House has passed the America Creating Opportunities to Meaningfully Promote Excellence in Technology, Education, and Science Act (COMPETES), a bipartisan effort to increase research investment, strengthen educational opportunities in science, and develop an innovative infrastructure. For more information on the bill click here. AAPT encourages you to visit our Legislative Action Center and express your thanks.

House Passes 2008 Funding Act for NSF, NASA, and NIST
For information on the FY 2008 Commerce, Justice, Science Appropriations Bill, click here. The $53.8 billion bill heads to the Senate in September.

Alley Memorial Set for August
A memorial service will be held for Reuben and Helene Alley on August 27 at 11 a.m. The service will be at the Columbarium/Memorial Wall at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD. Following the service, a reception will be held at the Officer's Club. A remembrance can be found here.

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

News from the National Office

Interactions: September/October issue
Look for the Careers Issue of Interactions in your mailbox at the end of September. Read more about Interactions and the transition of the Announcer here.

Fermi DVD
AAPT is offering a new Enrico Fermi DVD with rare footage of the Nobel Prize winner and his colleagues. Read more about the DVD here.

Job Opening: Chief Academic Officer

Review the position description here.

NOVA scienceNOW Episodes with Host Neil deGrasse Tyson
In an interview with The Philadelphia Inquirer, AAPT Klopsteg Awardee Neil deGrasse Tyson notes that the goal of NOVA's scienceNOW is "to show science as life, as a fundamental part of what it is to live in the 21st century." Check your local listings for broadcast times: http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/schedule-local.html.

Send Us Your Ideas and Feedback
Have a suggestion or criticism that you'd like AAPT leadership to hear? Send an email to Future@aapt.org.

Upcoming Conferences, Meetings, Symposiums, and Events

AAPT National Meetings: Save the Dates
  • 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)
Northrop Grumman Foundation's Weightless Flights of Discovery
Practicing classroom middle school teachers and future middle school teachers have the opportunity to participate in hands-on science workshops and perform and experiment in a parabolic or "zero-gravity" aircraft flight that creates temporary weightlessness comparable to what humans would experience during space travel to the Moon or Mars. For upcoming flight dates and application information, visit: http://www.northropgrumman.com/community/weightless.html.

National Engineering Design Challenge
In the NEDC, high school students apply problem solving, math, science, research, writing, presentation, and drafting/design skills by creating an engineered assistive technology device for persons with disabilities. Registration for the 2007-2008 competition opens September 5. More information is available at: http://www.jets.org/programs/nedc.cfm.

2008 Toyota International Teacher Program
In March 2008, 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 The Institute of International Education at: http://www.iie.org/Template.cfm?&Template=/programs/toyota/default.htm.

The Task Force on the Future of American Innovation
The Task Force is sponsoring a contest to create a short video that presents an inspiring story about scientific innovation in America. Videos, due September 18, should illustrate how scientific discoveries resulting from federally funded research in the physical sciences have changed our lives. For more information, visit: http://www.futureofinnovation.org.

Conference on Multimedia in Physics Teaching and Learning
This conference, sponsored by the European Physical Society, 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. Visit the website for more details: http://mptl12.ifd.uni.

2007 Chautauqua Program, University of Dayton
This series of courses includes:

  • October 1-3 Changing Science Courses to Promote Critical Thinking, Dayton, OH
  • October 4-6 The Birthplace and Early History of the Atomic Bomb, Albuquerque, NM
  • October 8-10 Increasing the Retention of Under-Represented Groups in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics Courses, Dayton, OH
Visit the website for more information: http://campus.udayton.edu/~physics/gkm/chau/.

NSTA Midwestern Regional Conference Featuring AAPT Physics Day
AAPT will offer a full day of physics content at the NSTA Midwestern Regional Conference in Detroit, MI, on October 18.  For more information visit AAPT's Physics Day page.

2008 Gordon Research Conference
Join fellow AAPT and APS members on June 8 - 13, 2008, at Bryant University, in Smithfield, RI, as physics faculty, physics researchers, and physics education researchers explore the expanding and deepening role of computers in physics research and undergraduate physics instruction. Application deadline for registration is May 18, 2008. For more information, visit: http://www.aapt.org/Events/grc.cfm.

Physics and Education News

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

Why American Needs to Explore Space
By Neil deGrasse Tyson
Source: Parade Magazine

"The Simpsons"? Scientific?
Source: USA Today

Science Subjects "At Risk" with Fewer New Teachers
Source: Gulf Times

Computers Expose the Physics of NASCAR
Source: ScienceDaily

In the Footsteps of His Uncle, Then His Father
Source: New York Times (Free Subscription Required)

High Failure Rate in Maths and Sciences Worries Employers
Source: The Independent (UK)

Stoned: David Had Physics on His Side
Source: The Hook

Quantum Ferrufluid: A Bose-Einstein Condensate of Tiny Magnets

Source: Scientific American

A Superconducting Ferromagnet at Normal Pressure
Source: AIP

AAAS Urges Voluntary Education Standards to Bolster Science Learning
Source: AAAS

Enrollment Surge for Women
Source: Inside Higher Ed

Odd Star Sheds Cometlike Tail
Source: National Geographic

Photons Flout the Science Speed Limit
Source: New Scientist (Subscription Required)

Greatest Mysteries: Where Is the Rest of the Universe?
Source: Yahoo

"X" Marks Fermilab Future
Source: Chicago Tribune

Milton Friedman, Meet Richard Feynman
Source: Slate.com

Researchers Develop Method for Mass Production of Nanogap Electrodes
Source: Innovations Report

Recommended Reading 

American Journal of Physics

Article of the Month
"Falling Elastic Bars and Springs
" by J.M. Aguirregabiria, A. Hernandez, and M. Rivas
(AJP online subscribers only, PDF)

The Physics Teacher
"A Simple Experiment to Demonstrate the Effects of Greenhouse Gases" by C.F. Keating
(TPT online subscribers only, 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 Announcements Archive. We also have an archive of Press Releases.

E-mail news items, comments, and suggestions to: news@aapt.org.

*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.