AAPT.org - American Association of Physics Teachers


May 2007

From the Editors
(Published May 15, 2007; Updated May 21, 2007)

Among the highlights in this issue: the 2008 Candidates have been announced, the Early-Bird Deadline for the Summer Meeting approaches, Section News is now online, and AAPT gets a new look. 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
"For She's a Jolly Good Fellow, or What?"
By Harvey S. Leff

2007 Summer Meeting Program Preview
The Program Preview for our National Meeting in Greensboro, NC, has been mailed to all members. The program is also available online (Session abstracts will be available on or before May 18). For additional information and to register, visit our meeting page.

2008 Candidates
The candidates for this year's National Elections have been announced.

Governance Planning Retreat
More than 65 active members will meet May 23-25 at AAPT headquarters for a Governance Planning Retreat.

Section News Now Available Online
Visit the revamped AAPT Sections page.

2006 Area Committee Reports
Annual Reports and Review Board comments are now online.

AAPT Rocketry Lesson Plan Competition Winners
View the press release. The TARC finals take place Saturday, May 19.

New AAPT Logo Unveiled
Read the press release here. Share your thoughts on the new logo via email to news@aapt.org.

Cliff Swartz on Teaching
A recent feature article on Dr. Swartz is available here (Source: The Village Times Herald, NY).
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. Additional details can be found here. Expressions of sympathy may be sent to Robert W. Alley, 4 Tanglewood Drive, Barrington, RI 02806.

House Passes NSF Authorization Bill
In passing the National Science Foundation Authorization Act of 2007 (H.R. 1867), the House has voted to strengthen support for science and math education. Next up: the Senate vote. Go here to follow the bill's progress and to AAPT's Legislative Action Center to voice your thanks and continued support.

PER Review Articles Published on ComPADRE
The first issue of a series of articles on "Research-Based Reform of University Physics" is now available on PER-CENTRAL, a ComPADRE collection. This series of peer-reviewed chapters is edited by Edward Redish and Patrick Cooney. The first issue includes articles by the developers of four Physics Education Research-based reform curricula: Peer Instruction, ISLE, Matter & Interactions, and SCALE-UP. The goal is to publish more articles in this series each year and develop other topical series of Reviews in PER.
Advanced Laboratories Site
AAPT has launched a website dedicated to Advanced Labs. Once completed, it will provide a central, comprehensive information base for faculty who teach upper-level undergraduate laboratories.

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

News from the National Office

Interactions: May/June Issue Preview
The next issue, mailing in late June, will focus on Diversity Across Physics Education. Read more about Interactions and the transition of the Announcer here.

Executive Officer Cracker-Barrels
At the upcoming Summer Meeting in Greensboro, AAPT Executive Officer Toufic Hakim will preside over two sessions: Q&A and AAPT Planning. Read more.

Absolute Zero and the Conquest of Cold: AAPT Is a National Partner

AAPT is supporting this upcoming PBS television special and teaching guide.
Visit the campaign site for more details.

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 

SERC/ComPADRE Summer 2007 Workshop, July 29-30

The SERC Pedagogy Service and ComPADRE will host a workshop at the AAPT Summer Meeting to build and publish examples for using effective pedagogies in physics classes. The goal is to have experienced teachers and faculty create activities that fit specific pedagogic models and that will be published in the ComPADRE digital library. Participants will have travel costs to the AAPT meeting reimbursed. Participation in this workshop will be by invitation. For more information and application instructions, visit: http://www.compadre.org/portal/features/event.cfm?ID=7

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
  • Summer 2007, July 28-Aug 1 (Greensboro, NC)
  • 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)
Team America Rocketry Challenge, May 19
The Challenge takes place in The Plains, VA. AAPT is the Education Partner. For more details visit the Team America site.

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.

Summer Workshop: The Role of Nuclear Power, June 20-24

Washington & Lee University (Lexington, VA) and the Council on Foreign Relations will sponsor this interdisciplinary workshop for educators on the role of nuclear power in meeting future U.S. energy requirements. Experts in science, technology, economics, regulation, and proliferation will provide information and insights to address the deliberations surrounding this energy source. For more information visit http://npw.wlu.edu

International Workshop on Historic Scientific Instruments, June 21-24
The University of Mississippi will host the second Scientific Instrument Collections in the University, or SICU2, workshop that aims to solidify the foundation for finding, describing, organizing, preserving, and using the vast resource of historic instrument collections available in academic institutions worldwide. Visit the website for more details.

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

The ATE Program for Physics Faculty Project Offers Workshop, June 28-30

A workshop for two-year college and high school faculty has been announced: Data Visualization Techniques and Strategies at Mt. San Antonio College in Walnut, CA. More information is available at: http://www.physicsworkshops.org

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 beginning June 29. More details available at: Available on the web at http://www.exploratorium.edu/iron_science

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

Physics Modeling Institute, July 9-27

UNC-Charlotte will offer a physics modeling institute on mechanics designed to enhance physics teaching at the high school level by training teachers in the Modeling Method of physics instruction. This proven method enhances student understanding through inquiry-based activities, data analysis techniques, and model development and deployment. Registration and details can be found at http://education.uncc.edu/cmste

Summer Updating/Retraining Program for Elementary, MS, and HS Teachers
The Department of Physics and Astronomy at Ball State University will host nine  one-week courses this summer. The courses are presented in a hands-on laboratory format and demonstrate science teaching methods, stress the use of technology, and provide new content instruction. For more information visit: http://www.bsu.edu/physics/summer/

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

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 this website.

2008 Toyota International Teacher Program (Costa Rica)
This year 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: www.iie.org/toyota.

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/

World Virtual Science and Engineering Fair
The College of the North Atlantic, Qatar, is hosting the World Virtual Science and Engineering Fair, the first global, online science competition. Projects can be new or previously presented and registration is free. The Fair is open to college students and high school students in grades 10-12. More information can be found

Physics and Education News

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

Dark Matter May Lurk Within Galaxies
Source: MSBNC.com

Could Light Behave As a Solid? A New Theory
Source: ScienceDaily

Podcast of the Month
Paul Davies on Existence and His New Book, Cosmic Jackpot
Source: New York Academy of Sciences

New Website: National Clearinghouse on Academy Worklife
Source: University of Michigan Center for the Education of Women

No Child Left Behind: Unsalvageable?
Source: Education Week

It's the "Wiring" That's Tricky in Quantum Computing
Source: Wired

National Academy of Sciences Elects Fewer Women
Source: Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription required)

Basketball: A Physicist Party Trick
Source: National Science Digital Library

Jupiter Gets Its Close-Up
Source: New York Times (Free registration required)

Densest, Hottest, Darkest
Source: AAAS

Scientists Discover Mercury's Molten Core
Source: AAAS

Science Tests Come as Teaching Time Falls
Source: Washington Post (Free registration required)

Turning Physicists into Quantum Mechanics
Source: PhysicsWeb

"Racetrack" Memory Could Gallop Past the Hard Drive
Source: NewScientist

The Physics in Your Fork
Source: Physics Today (subscription required)

Mirror World: Saturn's Moon Titan
Source: Discover

NSTA SciGuides for Teachers
Source: NSTA

A Do-It-Yourself Quantum Eraser
Source: Scientific American

Hyper-Accurate Clocks: The Beating Heart of Galileo
Source: ScienceDaily

Time Travel
Source: NOVA (Content from 1999)

Universe's "Missing" Matter May Lurk in Dwarf Galaxies
Source: National Geographic

Letter to the Editor: Professor of Physics on Paul Davies' Article
Source: Chronicle of Higher Education (Subscription required)

Recommended Reading 

American Journal of Physics
Article of the Month
"The Calming Effect of Oil on Water" by Peter Behroozi, Kimberly 
Cordray, William Griffin, and Feredoon Behroozi
(AJP online subscribers only, PDF)

The Physics Teacher
Article of the Month
"To Our Referees: Thank You" by Karl C. Mamola
(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.