AAPT.org - American Association of Physics Teachers


November 2006

From the Editors

As you may have noticed, the NEWS is being published later this month. We hope that you'll agree it's for a good reason: there is much exciting, important, and timely news to share with you. Specifically, please see the Member News Section. Future issues of the AAPT NEWS will be going live between the 10th and 15th of each month. Thanks for reading and have a great November!

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


Member News

Announcer Relaunched As InterActions Across Physics and Education
Later this month, AAPT is launching a general-interest magazine that deals with education in physics spectrum-wide. InterActions Across Physics and Education aims to facilitate a dialogue on topics of interest to those who teach physics and benefit from physics education, as well as make decisions that have an impact on both. InterActions will feature news and profile physics education projects of value and significance, opinions and perspectives of educators, and developments in public policy. Read more about InterActions and the transition from Announcer here.

AAPT Physics Test Preparation Collection on CD-ROM
AAPT has produced the AAPT Physics Test Preparation Collection to help teachers prepare their students to take the screening exam for the Physics Team and the Physics Bowl contests. Students can review past exams and work through actual physics-competition-style problems. The multiple choice and open source questions are an excellent way to enhance student understanding of fundamental concepts, identify weak areas, and improve problem-solving speed and accuracy.For more information about these new CDs, please visit the website.

2007 AAPT High School Photo Contest Deadlines Set
We are finalizing this years rules and exciting prizes and will have an official announcement in the coming weeks. In the meantime, mark your calendar with this year's contest deadlines: the early-bird deadline is March 15, the final deadline is May 15.

"Physics To Go" Redesigned
Physics To Go is an outreach website—part of the ComPADRE collection—that is valuable for both physics teachers and students. Recently redesigned, it now incorporates two images in the categories "Physics in Your World" and "From Physics Research." Physics To Go is also a digital library in informal physics learning, with about 300 sites in the collection at this time.

Research Experience for Teachers and Undergraduates Added to ComPADRE
Two new segments have been added: Research Experience for Teachers and Research Experience for Undergraduates.

AAAS Resource Directory of Scientists and Engineers with Disabilities, 4th Ed.
Individuals with disabilities who hold graduate or undergraduate degrees in science, technology, engineering, or mathematics are invited to participate in this prestigious Resource Directory to be published in the spring of 2007. The directory will available upon request in print and CD-ROM formats. The deadline is March 15, 2007. For more information about the project, visit the web site or e-mail Tesa Leon (or call 202-326-6582).

Publish Your News Here
Have a news item you'd like to share with the AAPT membership in the January issue? Send it to us by January 5—be sure to include a brief overview and a URL (website address) where readers can go to for more information: aapt-news@aapt.org
Recommended Reading 

American Journal of Physics
Article of the Month
"Optical Trapping for Undergraduates," by D. C. Appleyard, K. Y. Vandermeulen, H. Lee, and M. J. Lang
(AJP online subscribers only, PDF format)

The Physics Teacher
Article of the Month
"Teaching College Physics at the Local Elementary School," by Eric A. Hagedorn

News from the National Office

Planning Action Group Update
The group met earlier this month and filed this report.

AAPT Begins Listserv on Advanced Labs
A new listserv on Advanced Physics Laboratories has been created. Its purpose is to facilitate communication between people who teach or are otherwise interested in undergraduate advanced physics laboratories, and to foster improved teaching by the sharing of information on successes and failures. The listserv will bring a sense of community to teachers of advanced labs, many of whom teach in isolated environments. Topics are whatever people want to discuss, including among other things, condensed matter physics, optics, atomic and molecular physics, electronics, nuclear physics, equipment choices, and specific teaching techniques. The listserv is located at: http://lists.aapt.org/cgi-bin/lyris.pl?enter=advlabs-l   

New Physics First Informational Guide
Are you looking for ways to help high school students build a stronger foundation in scientific knowledge and understanding? Are you willing to take risks and try new, innovative ideas in your science classroom? Do you wish more students could be exposed to the joy of learning physics? If these ideas resonate with you, you might just be interested in looking at Physics First. View the new pamphlet on-line. Printed copies will be available in early January.

Absolute Zero and the Conquest of Cold: AAPT Joins on as 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 

AAPT Symposium on Physics Education
This first AAPT symposium will take place January 10, 2007, in Seattle as part of our joint meeting with AAS. Entitled "Overcoming Gravity: The Critical Force of Physics Education in Boosting National Competitiveness," it will focus on the role of physics education in developing a highly capable and creative STEM workforce. For more details, please visit the website.

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.

Team America Rocketry Challenge

The Challenge takes place May 19, 2007 in The Plains, VA. AAPT is the Education Partner. For more details, visit the Team America site.

2007 NSF Astronomy & Astrophysics Postdoctoral Fellows Symposium
This Symposium takes place January 5-6 concurrent with the AAPT/AAS Joint Winter Meeting in Seattle. The symposium will consist of a keynote talk, talks by AAPFs on their research and education projects, discussion panels on (1) new  directions in undergraduate education in astronomy, (2) teaching the night sky in the modern world, and (3) making the transition from a postdoc to a career position, as well as an invited talk on astronomy education research. This is an AAS-sponsored event and AAPT members are invited to attend. For more specifics, please visit the website.

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.

International Workshop on Historic Scientific Instrument Collections: First Announcement
The University of Mississippi will host the second Scientific Instrument Collections in the University, or SICU2, workshop June 21-24, 2007. This workshop aims to solidify the foundation for finding, describing, organizing, preserving, and using the vast resource of historic instrument collections available in academic institutions worldwide. SICU2 is sponsored by the Scientific Instrument Commission of the International Union of the History and Philosophy of Science and by the University of Mississippi, with funding from the National Science Foundation. Visit the website for more details.

Cosmos in the Classroom 2007
This three-day, hands-on symposium on teaching astronomy to non-science majors, will be held August 3-5, 2007, 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.

About the AAPT News

The AAPT NEWS is a service to our members and is produced by the National Office of the American Association of Physics Teachers. It is published monthly on or about the 15th.

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