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

2008 Fall New Physics and
Astronomy Faculty Workshop
2009 Joint Winter Meeting w/AAAS
2009 National Office Election
AAPT Member Honored
NASA Human Research Program
The Journey to Palomar on PBS
Nobelprize.org, Star Stories
TOPS '09
Teaching About Energy
OSP: Open Source Physics
Published October 2, 2008

Welcome to another edition of AAPT’s electronic newsletter! Each month it will be delivered to your email. It will bring you information about your professional society that you need to know to gain the most benefit from your affiliation with AAPT. This month we have more information on the upcoming Winter Meeting with AAAS, news about the New Physics and Astronomy Faculty Workshop and details regarding the exciting new documentary The Journey to Palomar premiering on PBS.

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2008 Fall New Physics and Astronomy Faculty Workshop

The 2008 Fall New Physics and Astronomy Faculty Workshop will be held November 6-9, here at the American Center for Physics and the Hilton Garden Inn.  In addition to the main New Faculty Workshop program, we are offering an optional grant writing session with NSF program officers on Thursday, November 6, from 1:00 to 2:30 p.m., and from 2:30 p.m. to 4:00 p.m. we’re offering optional grant opportunities with the Research Corporation, who will again be sponsoring the Thursday evening dinner. The first session of the workshop begins at 4:00 p.m. with Eric Mazur leading the session on Introduction to Peer Instruction. For additional information on the workshop please visit our website at https://www.aapt.org/Events/newfaculty.cfm.

2009 Joint Winter Meeting with The American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS)

The windy city will be the setting for 
our joint winter meeting with AAAS.

The 2009 Joint Meeting with the AAAS takes place February 12-16 in Chicago, IL. This meeting will bring together leading physicists, educators, students, and policymakers to share new ideas in physics and physics education. It promises to be an engaging and effective conference. Online registration will be available at the beginning of October. Hotel reservations for the Hyatt Regency Chicago and the Fairmont Chicago Hotel will open on or about October 9, 2008. Please continue to check the website www.aapt.org for updates.

Abstract submissions are now being accepted via http://www.aapt.org/events/abstractform.cfm. The deadline is December 31.

AAPT Winter Meeting Job Fair is scheduled for February 13-14, 2009.

It has been announced that George F. Smoot III will be accepting the Oersted Medal and Vera Rubin the Richtmyer Award. Smoot shares the 2006 Nobel Prize in Physics with John Mather and Vera Rubin received the National Medal of Science in 1993.

For the Winter ’09 meeting, AAPT is, for the first time, offering conference attendees a social networking tool that connects attendees to each other. Using SquareHive http://www.squarehive.com, an internet-based tool, you will be able to see who is already registered for the Winter ’09 meeting and interact with your colleagues before and during the conference. Watch for more details as AAPT develops this capability for your benefit.

Sponsorship and Exhibitor Information—Look to the web soon for updates.

Save the Dates:

  • Summer 2009, July 25-29 (University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI)
  • Winter 2010 w/APS, Feb 11-18 (Washington, DC)
  • Summer 2010, July 17-21 (Portland, OR)
  • Winter 2011, January 8-12 (Jacksonville, FL)

2009 Candidates for National Office

The 2009 AAPT National Office Election is in progress (September 24 - November 7), 2008. Due to the positive feedback and success of last year, AAPT is employing an electronic election process. If you have not already received one, look for an email from Survey and Ballot Systems, who are the election vendor facilitating the process. This email will contain all candidate background materials, including biographies and platform statements, and instructions to help you complete the voting process.
To ensure that AAPT has your most current email address, please visit www.aapt.org and click on “My Membership” to update your member profile or contact us at membership@aapt.org to ensure your participation in this year’s election.

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AAPT Member Receives Two Distinguished Honors


Stephen ScannellCongratulations to Stephen Scannell, AAPT member, for being selected one of 15 teachers nationwide to receive a 2008-2009 Albert Einstein Distinguished Educator Fellowship.

This program offers elementary and secondary science, technology and math teachers an opportunity to serve in the national education or public policy arena. Steve is serving his fellowship at the NSF Office of Informal Science Education.

Stephen is a physics and integrated science teacher at
Gresham High School in Gresham, Oregon. He has taught a variety of courses over the past 15 years including astronomy, chemistry, geology, marine biology, media technology, and physics. He currently serves as the Lemelson-MIT InvenTeam Advisor, First Robotics Team advisor, and the Astronomy Club advisor.

Stephen is known as a teacher who inspires and encourages his students. For example, the Astronomy Club was started (and Stephen agreed to serve as its advisor) when a student indicated that he was interested in astronomy. He ensures that his classes are targeted to higher-achieving students as well as those who have not been previously exposed to the concepts.

Stephen just completed his three-year term as the AAPT Oregon Section president. Mr. Scannell is a National Board Certified Teacher in adolescent and young adulthood science. He has a B.S. in science education and an M.S. in science education from Oregon State University.

Also announced in May 2008, Stephen was selected as one of 99 teachers nationwide to be awarded the 2007 Presidential award for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching.

NASA Human Research Program

The Human Research Program Education and Outreach Project is committed to using NASA’s space research and exploration to educate the nation on science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The Project strives to reach diverse communities, inspire a new generation of scientists and engineers, and encourage future space explorers.
To learn more about this project visit the website at http://humanresearch.jsc.nasa.gov/education.asp

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The Journey to Palomar Premieres on PBS


The Journey to Palomar premieres Nov. 10 on PBS.

The new primetime PBS documentary on the history of the famed Palomar Observatory will premiere November 10, 2008 (check local listings). The DVD will be available from PBS Home Video simultaneously with the broadcast and includes special features on three future giant telescopes: NASA’s James Webb Space Telescope, The Carnegie Observatories’ Giant Magellan Telescope and Caltech’s Thirty-Meter Telescope. A comprehensive Teacher Guide accompanies the documentary, available for free download from pbs.org. A nationwide live NASA student webcast on October 8th, 2008 will feature the top astronomers from these future telescope projects. For more on the webcast, go to www.journeytopalomar.org.

Nobelprize.org Launches New Educational Production, Star Stories

NobelMedalNobelprize.org, the official website of the Nobel Foundation, announces the launch of Star Stories, a new educational multimedia production for high school and undergraduate students that shows how Nobel Prizes awarded for advances in cosmology and astrophysics have helped to bring us closer to the stars.
Read more about the Nobelprize.org Educational Outreach Program and our productions.

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TOPS ‘09

Be sure to visit the “Teaching Opportunities in Physical Sciences” website at http://www.rle.mit.edu/cua/new/tops.asp and learn about the six-week program aimed at sophomore or junior physics and engineering majors considering careers in teaching at the secondary level. You might be able to really point a current student toward an enriching 2009 summer experience. The program is hosted by the Center for Ultracold Atoms (CUA) at MIT and Harvard. The goal of TOPS is to provide college students with an exceptional experience that can be a decisive factor in leading them to choose a teaching career.

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Teaching About EnergyTeaching About Energy

The latest AAPT/PTRA resource book will be available October 15. Written by John Roeder, the book begins with the relationship between the force and distance required to pull a roller coaster to the top of its first hill along inclines of different slope, and ends with energy choices we will need to make for our future.
Teaching About Energy is available October 15 from AAPT at the Physics Store, www.thephysicsstore.com.

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OSP: Open Source Physics

OSPComputers and computer-based instruction pervade our educational institutions, and much of experimental and theoretical physics cannot be done without the aid of computers. Despite these advances in teaching and research, computational physics remains absent from the typical undergraduate physics program. Students are bombarded with simulated reality by instructors, textbook publishers, and Hollywood directors, but few students are prepared to critically assess these simulations. The absence of computation and modeling is one of the most striking examples of our failure to update the curriculum. The OSP Collection seeks to address this failure. http://www.compadre.org/OSP

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AAPT NEWS is a service to members of the American Association of Physics Teachers and is produced by the AAPT Central Office. 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.

Copyright (c) 2008, American Association of Physics Teachers

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