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AAPT NEWS: September 2008

Published September 2, 2008

Welcome to AAPT's new, un-named 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 you will see a message from your new Executive Officer, news about the new all-electronic election process for your officers and highlights from the Summer meeting.

You can help us make this effort a success in a very visible way. AAPT's e-newsletter needs a NAME and we want you to help! We want you, the members, to help us name this newsletter because it is yours. Email your suggestions to e-newsletter@aapt.org, and next month you can vote for one of the top five titles. The member who submits the name with the most votes receives an embroidered AAPT polo shirt.

Thanks for your readership and your support of AAPT.

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 AAAS takes place February 12-16 in Chicago, IL. This meeting will bring together leading physicists, educators, students, and policy makers 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 October 2, 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 September 19.

AAPT Winter Meeting Job Fair is scheduled for February 13-14, 2009. http://www.aapt.org/Events/JobFair/index.cfm

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)

2008 High School Physics Photo Contest


First Place in the contrived category, Shilpa Hampole demonstrates surface tension.

Congratulations to the winners of AAPT's 2008 High School Physics Photo Contest!

The top 100 photos were judged by attendees at the Summer Meeting in Edmonton—more than 800 entries were received. Thank you to Mary Winn and her team for organizing the photo contest. Vernier Software & Technology sponsored the contest and provided prizes. See a PDF of all the winners in the Natural and Contrived categories at http://www.aapt.org/upload/poster082.pdf.

PTRA DC Math and Science Partnership

July 30-August 13, PTRA and the Math and Science Partnership teamed up in a new SCALE-UP classroom on the GWU campus to train DC teachers, preparing them for teaching a new 9th grade physics course. We attracted 13 teachers from grades 1-12 who were seeking to improve their physics content knowledge.  Another important goal was to model effective methods for teaching physics using modeling and inquiry techniques.

2008 U. S. Physics Team


The 2008 Physics Team, (l to r) Rui Hu, Edward Gan, Tucker Chan, Joshua Oreman and Danny Zhu with Director Paul Stanley, Senior Coach Warren Turner, and Co-Academic Director Bob Shurtz.

An enthusiastic round of applause goes to our 2008 Physics Team who brought home five medals: four gold ones and a silver at the 39th International Physics Olympiad.

Congratulations—and thanks again for all your hard work—to Tucker Chan, Edward Gan, Joshua Oreman and Danny Zhu, who won the four gold medals, and to Rui Hu, who won the silver one and was just 0.2 points away from a gold.  Also, thanks to our academic directors and coaches—you can read about them at http://www.aapt.org/olympiad2008/coaches.cfm

A heartfelt vote of appreciation goes to our sponsors, listed at http://www.aapt.org/olympiad2008/sponsors.cfm.

Executive Officers at AAPT

As Charles Holbrow bids farewell, former Associate Executive Officer Warren Hein prepares to step in as AAPT’s 11th Executive Officer.

Charlie chronicles his experience with AAPT in “A Farewell to Alarms” at http://www.aapt.org/aboutaapt/2008Announcements_August.cfm.

Warren expresses his pride in AAPT in “Dear Colleague” at http://www.aapt.org/aboutaapt/2008Announcements_September.cfm.

2008 Summer Meeting at the University of Alberta

AAPT was honored to be part of the centenary celebration at the University of Alberta this July. A special thanks goes out to Alberta section officers Terry Singleton, Vlad Pasek, and Brent McDonough, and to John Beamish and Isaac Isaac of the U of A Physics Department. Thanks to all of the volunteers for their excellent support: Abdi Samarbaksh, Allen Lineville, Ammanda Settingiano, Ayesheshim Ayesheshim, Chris Fensky, Cliff Sosnowski, Daniel Espejo, Dennis Rippe, Doris Lachance, Duncan Smith, Eunice Wong, Harvey Nelson, Jianbo Gao, Joseph Losby, Khaled Barakat, Laura Pankratz, Maurici Blanco, Pina Chiarello, Shahnoor Habib, Sonia Milbrad, Steven Fairfield, Zhou Li, Zoltan Berkes, and Wolfgang Engler.

See http://www.aapt.org/aboutaapt/SM08Highlights.cfm for a message from Program Chair and President Elect Alexander K. Dickison.

New: J. D. Jackson Excellence in Graduate Education Award

Chris Quigg of Fermilab is leading the campaign to endow the “J. D. Jackson Excellence in Graduate Education Award.” Named in honor of an outstanding physicist and teacher, this award will be made by AAPT to physicists and physics educators who, like John David Jackson, have made outstanding contributions to curriculum development, mentorship, or classroom teaching in graduate physics education.For more information contact Chris at quigg@fnal.gov, or visit http://www.aapt.org/Grants/awards.cfm

To donate online go to http://iweb.aapt.org/iweb/Donation/FundsDirectory.aspx.

Distinguished Service Citations at Summer Meeting

“I’d like to meet that guy!”

Harry Manos made the comment as Harvey Leff listed the achievements of an honoree during the recent Awards Ceremony in Edmonton. Manos himself was the honoree, but he couldn’t resist adding a light note. A long-time teacher of science and math, he is an engaging writer and spokesman for physics education here and abroad. He was one of six AAPT members who received Distinguished Service Citations at the event for their contributions to physics teaching. The accomplishments of the other five honorees were just as impressive.

  • Dean Baird publishes conceptual physics teaching materials and maintains a lively science website.
  • Ann Cox is an innovator in the use of technology in physics teaching materials and a leader in Florida Section activities.
  • Karen Jo Matsler has taught science at all levels and is a leader in AAPT-PTRA programs in Texas and nation-wide.
  • Steve Shropshire, a long-time Idaho Section Representative, is active in teaching outreach projects and in community service.
  • Richard Zitto, a collector of antique physics apparatus, established and directed the Youngstown Area Physics Alliance.

The descriptions are far from complete, but they show some of the ways in which volunteers and friends have kept AAPT thriving and useful for three-quarters of a century. The awards celebrate their inspirational service and their dedication to physics education.

Distinguished Service Citations are presented twice a year at Winter and Summer Annual Meetings. Nominations for AAPT awards may be made online to Harvey Leff, Awards Committee Chair, at hsleff@csupomona.edu.

2009 Candidates for National Office

The 2009 AAPT National Office Election will be held from September 24 - November 7, 2008.  Due to the positive feedback and success of last year, AAPT will once again have an electronic election. Look for an email from Survey and Ballot Systems, who are again 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.


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