AAPT.org - American Association of Physics Teachers


July 2007

From the Editors
Published July 16, 2007

Among the highlights in this issue: commentaries by Harvey Leff and Lila Adair, important Summer Meeting news and information, the list of this year's Board nominees, and a blog from the U.S. Physics Team in Iran. 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

President's Commentary
"What's in a Name?"
By Harvey S. Leff

Guest Commentary
"Mommy, Are We There Yet?"

By Lila Adair

U.S. Physics Team Blogs from Iran
Follow the adventures of the U.S. team as they participate in the International Physics Olympiad. Winners will be announced July 23. More details on the team site.

Summary of the America COMPETES Act
A legislative response to the recommendations contained within the National Academies' report "Rising Above the Gathering Storm" and the Council on Competitiveness' report "Innovate America," the "America COMPETES Act" represents a bipartisan effort to increase research investment; strengthen educational opportunities in the areas of science, technology, engineering, mathematics, and critical foreign languages; and develop an innovative infrastructure. For more information go here.

Physics Teacher Receives Premier's Award for Teaching Excellence
Amare Demesie of Westview Centennial Secondary School in Toronto, Ontario, has been named Teacher of the Year.

Senate Appropriators Recommend 10.8 Percent Increase for NSF
The Senate Appropriations Committee has sent bill S. 1745 forward with an increase in NSF funding for the FY 2008 budget, which includes continued support for NSF's mission of "promoting science and engineering education from pre-kindergarten through career development." AIP's report on the legislation is available here. Go here to follow the bill's progress and to AAPT's Legislative Action Center to voice your thanks and continued support.

NSTA's New Position Statement: Principles of Professionalism for Science Educators
NSTA has revised its position statement, Principles of Professionalism for Science Educators, to guide the professional and ethical conduct of all pre-K-16 teachers of science. For more information, go here.

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

News from the National Office

Interactions: June/July Issue in the Mail
The summer issue of Interactions has been mailed. Read more about Interactions and the transition of the Announcer here.

NOVA scienceNOW Episode 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

Greensboro 2007 Important Meeting Updates
Attendees, for all the latest information about the upcoming Greensboro meeting, visit the meeting homepage.

Summer Meeting Onsite Program Guide
The program guide for the upcoming AAPT national meeting in Greensboro, NC, is now available in PDF format. For the most up-to-date information and to build your meeting itinerary, go here. For additional information visit our meeting page.

Executive Officer Crackerbarrels in Greensboro
Executive Officer Toufic Hakim will preside over two crackerbarrel sessions on July 30 at the Summer Meeting. More information is available here.

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.

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 through August 4. More details available on the web at http://www.exploratorium.edu/iron_science.

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 http://www.astrosociety.org/events/cosmos.html.

Foundations and Frontiers of Physics Education Research, August 6-10
This intensive week-long residential meeting in Bar Harbor, ME, will provide a forum for examining and articulating the current state of the field, exploring future directions, and discussing ways to pursue the most promising avenues for future research.Registration is limited. For more information, visit http://perlnet.umaine.edu/~ffper/2007.

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.

International 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.wroc.pl/.

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/.

Physics and Education News

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

Can These Kids Save American Science?
Source: Forbes

Workshop Aims to Double Number of Women in Physics
Source: Physics Today (Subscription required)

Green Project of the Month
Physics Students Shower Attention on Heat Recycler
Source: Seattle Times

Refilling the Physicist Pool
Source: Photonics

Game of the Month
Time Traveler
Source: NOVA

No-Way Physics
Source: PhysicsWeb

Scientists Want Your Help Sorting Galaxies
Source: MSNBC

South Dakota Mine Chosen as Site for NSF Physics Lab
Source: Wired

An American Physicist in Venice
Source: Discover Magazine

Podcast of the Month
NOVA scienceNOW
Source: NOVA

Digital Tools Push Math, Science to New Levels
Source: Education Week

Video of the Month
German Scientist Gets Exposed to Pitching
Source: San Francisco Chronicle

Astroparticle Physicists Publish "Roadmap to the Stars"
Source: Cordis

It Could Only Happen in the Movies
Source: Nature

Gadget of the Month
How to Build a Lego Trebuchet
Source: Evil Mad Scientist

Sky's the Limit: Jump-Starting Science, Math Education Will Help U.S. Succeed in Global Economy
Source: Press & Sun Bulletin

Physicist Explores What Happened Before the Big Bang
Source: Penn State Live

A Trip Back in Time and Space
Source: New York Times (Free registration required)

The Gedanken Experimenter
Source: Scientific American

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
July Letters to the Editor
(TPT online subscribers only, PDF)

Career Center

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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.