AAPT.org - American Association of Physics Teachers


February 2007

From the Editors
Published February 16, 2007; Updated Feb. 20.

This issue premiers our revamped appearance (our major aim: improved readability of headlines) and some reordering of sections. We hope you find it appealing and useful. Contents of note: preliminary Summer Meeting info is now available, a new AAPT site on Advanced Labs, Audio (Podcasts!) from the AAPT/AAS joint meeting in Seattle, and a more robust Physics and Education News section. Enjoy!

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


Member News

President's Commentary
Why Does AAPT Exist? By Harvey S. Leff

Advanced Laboratories Site Now Available; Suggestions Welcome
Read the full story about this new AAPT site here.

2006 Lotze Scholarship Winners Announced
Congratulations to the winners and honorable mentions. Details available here.

AAPT Area Committee Chairs and Section Reps Planning Group to Meet April 12-13
A subset of Area Committee Chairs and Sections Reps will meet this spring to plan a full meeting of all Chairs and Reps to be held in advance of the summer meeting in Greensboro. Details are available here.

House Votes to Increase NSF Funding by $335 Million; Legislative Action Center
Earlier this month the U.S. House of Representatives voted to substantially increase FY 2007 funding for the National Science Foundation (NSF). Read the full story here: http://www.aip.org/fyi/2007/014.html. AAPT encourages all members to visit our Legislative Action Center and write their representative a note of thanks.

Summer Meeting, Greensboro, NC
Preliminary information is available here.

National Task Force on the Preparation of K-12 Physics and Physical Science Teachers Announced
Details and a nomination form are available here.

Reminder: A Request from the Nominations Committee
Read their open letter to the membership here.

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 visit: http://www.paemst.org/page.cfm?pageID=3

New Web Exhibit Explores the History of Cosmology
A new website tells how scientists have explored the structure of the universe: “Cosmic Journey: A History of Scientific Cosmology” comes from the award-winning educators and historians at the Center for History of Physics of the American Institute of Physics (AIP). Visit the site at: http://www.aip.org/history/cosmology/

Whyville.net Launches JPL Site
The immersive educational virtual world for kids, Whyville.net, has launched a micro-site for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL). The site offers kids a virtual field trip around the famed lab. The site is located at: http://virtualfieldtrip.jpl.nasa.gov/smmk/top

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 website 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 March issue? Send it to us by March 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
News from the National Office

Audio from AAPT/AAS Joint Meeting Plenaries and Award Sessions
Links to audio files and podcasts (iTunes) are available here.

March/April Issue Preview
The forthcoming issue 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 Now Accepting Entries
We have finalized this year's rules and the contest is now open. The early-bird deadline is March 15 and the final deadline is May 15. For more details and an entry form, visit the contest homepage.

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. For more information about these new CDs, please visit the website.

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.

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 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
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.

The ATE Program for Physics Faculty Project Offers Workshops
Two workshops for two-year college and high school faculty have been announced: Adaptable Curriculums for Introductory Physics, April 12-14, at Florence-Darlington Technical College in Florence, SC; and Data Visualization Techniques and Strategies, June 28-30, at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA. Applications forms, workshop descriptions, and other information are available at: http://www.physicsworkshops.org

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
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.

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

Nuclear Workshop: "Hiroshima and Nagasaki for College Teachers"
This one-week Workshop takes place June 25-29, 2007, and 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

Dual Conferences on Gravitation
The 18th International Conference on General Relativity and Gravitation and the 7th Edoardo Amaldi Conference on Gravitation Waves will take place July 8-14, 2007, 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.

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.

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.*

Black History Month
Einstein on Race and Racism
Source: National Society of Black Physicists

Podcasts of the Month
AAPT/AAS Joint Meeting Plenaries & Award Lectures
Source: AAPT/AAS

Kansas Board Reverses Decision on Evolution
Source: The Kansas City Star

Physics Legends II
Source: PhysicsWeb

Where Is the Universe Expanding To?
Source: Scientific American

Feb. 13, 1633, Church vs. Galileo
Source: Wired

New Glimpse of the Sun's South Pole
Source: MSNBC

First Hiking Maps of Mars
Source: ScienceDaily

NCLB Calls for Federal Role in Setting National Standards
Source: Education Week (Limited Free Subscription)

Atom Smasher May Give Birth to "Black Saturns"
Source: NewScientist

Universities Tap Into iPods' Potential as Learning Tool
Source: Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Thinking Bubbles?
Source: ScienceNow (AAAS)

What Harvard's Choice Means
Source: Inside Higher Ed

Physics Does Have That Swing
Source: AIP

The Big Bang Machine
Source: Discover (Subscription required)

AAAS Sees Mixed News for R&D
Source: AAAS

Why We Still Need Public Schools (PDF)
Source: Center on Education Policy

Memories of Feynman
Source: Physics Today (Subscription required)

Incredible Space Images
Source: National Geographic

Researcher Cleared of Misconduct, but Case Is Still Murky
Source: New York Times

Recommended Reading 

American Journal of Physics
Article of the Month
"The Physics of the Space Elevator," by P. K. Aravind
(AJP online subscribers only, PDF)

The Physics Teacher
Article of the Month
"Harvey S. Leff: Teacher, Scholar, Leader, Drummer!" by John W. "Phingerz" Jewett Jr. and A. John "Slo" Mallinckrodt
(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
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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.