AAPT.org - American Association of Physics Teachers
AAPT NEWS: March 2008

From the Editors
Published March 17, 2008

Highlights in this issue: A letter to members from Lila Adair regarding our new Executive Officer, Charlie Holbrow (and a commentary from him as well); some important information about the upcoming Edmonton meeting; and exciting news for five AAPT Sections. 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
A Letter to Members
By Lila Adair

Executive Officer's Commentary
Hello from the New Executive Officer
by Charlie Holbrow

Watch for New Enhancements Coming to AAPT.org
Soon, the AAPT website will feature an improved member logon process; new, easier-to-complete forms; and host of other enhancements to streamline how you do business with AAPT. Watch the AAPT home page for more details coming soon.

Update or Renew Your Membership

Is your AAPT membership up to date or about to expire? Login to your member account page to verify your current information or renew your membership and ensure that your benefits, services, and peer-reviewed academic journals continue uninterrupted. For further information, contact AAPT Membership & Stewardship by e-mail at membership@aapt.org or at (301) 209-3333.

Mini-Grants Awarded to AAPT Sections
The sections listed below have been awarded a mini-grant from AAPT to support PTRA workshops for beginning teachers in their section. The workshops will use PTRA curriculum materials and are modeled after the highly successful PTSOS (Physics Teacher SOS) program initiated by Paul Robinson. Congratulations to:
  • British Columbia Association of Physics Teachers, Rachel Moll, Section Representative
  • Florida Section, Sherry Savrda, Section Representative; Jane Nelson, PTRA
  • South Atlantic Coastal Section, JB Shama, Section Representative; Don Franklin, PTRA
  • Southern California Section, Mary Mogge, Section Representative
  • Wisconsin Association of Physics Teachers, Matt Evans, Section Representative; Judy Schmidt, PTRA
Read more about AAPT Sections here:

2008 AAPT/APS Department Chairs Conference
Are you a Physics Department Chair? Are you a member of a Physics Department? If either of these is true, visit this site for important information:
Registration is now open.

2008 AAPT High School Photo Contest Now Open
Visit the contest home page for details and deadlines associated with this popular event for high school students:

Students and Sponsors Gear Up for World’s Largest Rocket Contest
Students around the country are testing altimeters and trimming tail fins in anticipation of qualifying for the final round of the Sixth Annual Team America Rocketry Challenge in May. AAPT is the education partner. Read more details here:

Countdown to Year of Science
COPUS participants are gearing up for the celebration of science in 2009. Read more here:

Nanobowl Video Contest: Winners Announced
The PhysicsCentral Nano Bowl Video Contest winners have been announced:

Phys. Rev. Focus: Current Research Presented for Students
Physical Review Focus provides student-friendly write-ups of newly published Physical Review articles. Stories often draw on textbook physics concepts. You can sign up for weekly e-mail updates or the RSS feed. Published by APS. Visit:

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

News from the Central Office

Legislative Action Center
Visit the Legislative Action Center and make your voice heard.

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 Annual Meetings: Save the Dates
Propose A Plenary Speaker for an AAPT Meeting
The plenary sessions are a very important part of every AAPT Winter and Summer meeting. Recommend a speaker for a future meeting here:

AAPT Ohio Section Joint Meeting
This meeting takes place March 28-29 at Youngstown State University along with AAPT's Western Pennsylvania Section and the Ohio Section of APS. For a registration form and deadline information visit:

ATE Physics Workshop Project Offers Two New Workshops
The Tools for Introductory Physics Workshop will take place April 17-19, at Estrella Mountain Community College, AZ; the Problem Based Physics Workshop will be offered June 12-14, at Mt. San Antonio College, CA. For more information, visit:

International Year of Astronomy: A Hands-on Symposium

At this symposium, education and outreach professionals will gather to discuss international, regional, and local programs for the International Year of Astronomy in 2009, which celebrates the 400th anniversary of the astronomical telescope. The symposium is part of the Annual Meeting of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific and takes place May 31-June 4, 2008, in St. Louis, MO. For more information, visit:

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:

Activity-Based Physics Faculty Institutes
College/university faculty are invited to attend an NSF-sponsored Activity-Based Physics Faculty Institute. The one-week program is offered twice in 2008 (June 16-20 or 23-27) at Dickinson College. The Institute promotes use of active learning strategies based on physics education research. For more information, visit:

The 2nd Annual Meeks Memorial Acoustics Workshop
This workshop will be offered June 16-19 at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, IN. The main workshop emphasis is on acoustics experiments that are simple to do and easy to interpret. For more details and registration information, visit:

Physics Modeling Workshops
Shady Side Academy (Pittsburgh, PA) is presenting a workshop series (beginning on July 7 and July 14, 2008) designed for secondary school teachers interested in bringing a physics modeling approach to their teaching. For more details, contact dliebmann@shadysideacademy.org or visit:

MIT-Harvard Program for Prospective Science Teachers

The MIT-Harvard Center for Ultracold Atoms is sponsoring a summer program (June 22-August 5, 2008) for undergraduate physics majors who are considering a career in pre-college science teaching. The organizers would appreciate your passing on word to any students you think might be interested. For more visit:

AAPM To Offer Workshop on Teaching Physics
"How We Learn and How We Should Teach Physics” workshop will be offered from July 31 to Aug 3, 2008, in League City, TX. For more details, visit: 

Professional Development Opportunities for Science Educators
Do you want to learn more about AAAS's new Atlas of Science Literacy,Volume 2, and how to put it to use to improve curriculum, instruction,and assessment? AAAS Project 2061 is offering two sessions of its popular professional development workshop "Using Atlas of Science Literacy" in Washington, DC: October 15-17. For more information visit:

AAPT Fall Chesapeake Section Meeting
The meeting will be held November 4-5 at the American Center for Physics in College Park, MD. For more information or to register for the meeting go to:

Recommended Reading

American Journal of Physics
Article of the Month
"Wavefront Sensor with Fresnel Zone Plates for Use in an Undergraduate Laboratory" by Piotr Migdal et al.

(AJP online subscribers only, PDF)

The Physics Teacher
"Seeing Gender" by Jacqueline D. Spears
(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 Central Office. It is published monthly on or about the 15th. All issues are archived here. Other stories of significance appear in our Announcements Archive and our archive of Press Releases.

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

Note on External Links
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.