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eNNOUNCER August 2011


Thank You Omaha!Omaha Meeting logo

Omaha's Creighton University rolled out the red carpet, hosting AAPT and opening their beautiful campus to Summer Meeting attendees. Although the floodwaters of the Missouri River were visible from the air, the downtown area, including the Old Market, hotels, and Creighton University were unaffected.
          The university sponsored a tour of their alternative energy installations, part of an NSF-sponsored initiative, and shared ideas for developing curriculum around this critical and timely topic. Metropolitan Community College also opened its grounds to us, hosting a Two Year College dinner at their historic Fort Omaha Campus.
          We also had an "insiders" tour of the Omaha Zoo, which received rave reviews from participants, as well as a visit to the Strategic Air & Space Museum.  The High School Physics Photo Contest, always a favorite part of the event, gave attendees the chance to vote on this year’s winning entries.
"first-timers" day for high school physics teachers, featuring special sessions on what AAPT has to offer. In his Millikan Medal talk, Brian Jones shared the wonders of the Little Shop of Physics, toured by thousands of visitors during its most recent open house, and made some of its marvelous demos available for viewing on Tuesday afternoon.Brian Jones and the Little Shop of Physics
          Attendees enjoyed some great sessions planned around the theme of communicating physics with the public. Jim Stith of AIP began the discussion with his opening plenary: "Reaching Out to the Public – A Necessary Dialogue." Our Klopsteg Award winner, James E. Hansen, has been featured on the David Letterman show for his work in engaging citizens as well as elected officials in debate about the science of climate change. A few lucky attendees at the Wednesday plenary received autographed copies of his book, Storms of My Grandchildren. The APS Division of Condensed Matter Physics engaged in communicating cutting-edge physics in a plenary session on Frontiers of Nanoscience, with Barbara Jones and Jeremy Levy.
            Watch the AAPT website for the highlights and links to additional information. Save the dates, February 4-8 for the 2012 Winter Meeting in Ontario, California.
            See photos on flickr


NRC K-12 Framework Report

During the 2011 Summer Meeting, a group of interested members met to discuss AAPT’s response to the recently released National Research Council framework for K-12 science education.  A free download of the framework is available at http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=13165.  The framework identifies key concepts and practices that all students should learn and will serve as a basis for new science education standards.  A working group has been formed to draft a response and will include a reference to the document "College Ready Physics Standards: A Look to the Future" by Patricia Heller and Gay Stewart.  (Free download of "College Ready Physics Standards" is available at http://www.compadre.org/portal/items/detail.cfm?ID=10310.)  A separate working group will meet during the next few months to determine the next steps that AAPT can take to assist Achieve in developing the new science standards.  Finally, AAPT will begin developing a whitepaper on the framework and its impact on physics and physical science standards.

U.S. Team Scores Five Medals at the 42nd International Physics Olympiad

U.S. Physics Team logoThe traveling members of the U.S. Physics Team competed with 393 of the most talented young physicists on the global stage, representing 84 countries, during the 42nd International Physics Olympiad and they brought home two gold and three silver medals. The Olympiad, held July 10-17, was sponsored by the Promotion of Academic Olympiads and Development of Science Education Foundation (POSN), under the patronage of Her Royal Highness Princess Galyani Vadhana Krom Luang Naradhiwas Rajanagarindra, and Chulalongkorn University (CU), in Bangkok, Thailand.
U.S. Physics Team at 42nd Annual IPhO 2011
              The gold medalists are Brian Zhang, a senior at Henry M. Gunn High School in Palo Alto, CA, and Ante Qu, a senior at West Windsor-Plainsboro High School South, Princeton Junction, NJ.  Brian scored 8th highest overall in the competition.
        The silver medalists are Lucy Chen, a senior at Ames High School, Ames, IA, Andrew Das Sarma, a senior at Montgomery Blair High School in Silver Spring, MD, and Eric Speiglan, a junior from Naperville North High School in Naperville, IL.  Andrew’s score ranked him as the second highest silver medalist. Read online


Call for Nominations for AAPT Awards

The Awards Committee is seeking nominations for the Oersted Medal, the Richtmyer Memorial Lecture Award, the Melba Newell Phillips Medal, the J. D. Jackson Award for Excellence in Graduate Physics Teaching, and the AAPT Distinguished Service Citation.  All AAPT members are urged to review the descriptions of these awards on the AAPT website and then, following instructions available at a link on that website, to nominate individuals deemed worthy of consideration for any of these awards.


ComPADRE logo


Thanks for Visiting Us in Omaha!


ComPADRE creates, hosts, and maintains collections of educational and community resources focused on the needs of specific audiences in Physics and Astronomy Education. Explore our collections and find a resource right for you.


eMentoring logo


Are You a New Physics Teacher? Could You Use a Little Help?       


The AAPT ementoring program is designed to connect pre-college physics educators in need of additional guidance with experienced pre-college physics educators. Learn more.


In Memoriam


July 15, 2011 – John Sampson Toll was a physicist, scholar, and educator whose many achievements included the development of Maryland physics from a small department to one of the largest and finest in the nation.  He was an Emeritus AAPT Member, having joined in 1980.
He graduated from Yale with the highest honors.  Then he served in the Navy during World War II.  After the war, Toll completed his Ph.D. in physics at Princeton where he helped found Project Matterhorn, a top-secret Cold War effort to control thermonuclear reactions. In 1953, he began a 13-year term as chair of UMD's Department of Physics and Astronomy.
He left in 1965 to serve a remarkable term as president of SUNY Stony Brook, then returned to UMD in 1978 as president and later Chancellor of the University of Maryland system.  In 2002, the Maryland physics building was named in his honor.
Read online
Read the Washington Post article


June 30, 2011 – Katherine Elizabeth Mays was an exemplary physics teacher, AAPT member for more than 40 years, and an AAPT staff associate who helped launch the PTRA program.  She was the High School Fellow in the AAPT national office while Jack Wilson was the Executive Officer, and was a strong leader in all AAPT activities.
Mays taught in Van Vleck, Needville, and Bay City, Texas for over 40 years; and she was a strong advocate for school science issues including being elected to the Sweeny City Council and School Board.  She was member of Sigma Pi Sigma (the National Physics Honor Society).  She worked with many physics curriculum projects including the NASA High School Physics Project and the Anneberg Media's The Mechanical Universe.
Katherine's outstanding performance as a physics teacher was recognized through many awards including Outstanding Physics Teacher in Texas and Outstanding Secondary Educator of America.
Read online


The Simons Foundation Fellows Program


The Simons Foundation announces a new funding opportunity: the Simons Fellows program. The Fellows program  is intended to enable scientists to obtain a period of freedom from teaching and administration. It offers grants that will pay up to 1/2 of an academic year salary, plus some other expenses, for a scientist taking (or extending) a sabbatical or other research leave. The deadline for applications is September 30, 2011, for leaves to begin in Fall 2012.
        Read online.

Free Hands-On STEM Fall WorkshopsVernier logo


Kick Off the 2011/12 School Year with Vernier’s Free Hands-On STEM Workshops.  Fall workshops teach educators how to integrate data-collection into the science curriculum using Vernier’s 'LabQuest' handhelds. Providing educators with hands-on instruction using Vernier’s LabQuest, educators can enhance their teaching and technology skills during each 4-hour workshop.
Workshop schedule, locations and registration.


SRC Focus on Female High School Physics Students


The AIP Statistical Research Center's recent publication, "focus on Female Students in High School Physics" looks at the representation of girls in high school physics classes. The study found that number of girls taking high school physics increased 161% between 1987 and 2009; the number of boys was up 88% over this same period.  This report examines female students taking high school physics, and looks at female representation by type of physics course.
            Read online


Samuel Goudsmit Papers at Niels Bohr Library


The Niels Bohr Library and Archives, American Institute of Physics has released online the complete papers of Samuel A. Goudsmit (1902-1978).  See the collection.


Physics World Free Download


The Invisibility Issue
From Harry Potter cloaks to our childhood attempts to write with invisible ink, invisibility science is something that captures the imagination. But the quest for invisibility has made real progress in recent years – and is the inspiration for the July issue of Physics World. For a limited time only, you can download a PDF download the PDF of the issue free of charge at Physicsworld.com.


Cottrell College Science Award


Research Corporation for Science Advancement (RCSA) is pleased to announce an upcoming deadline for proposal submission for the Single-Investigator and Multi-Investigator Cottrell College Science Award (SI- and MI-CCSA) programs. Deadline for pre-proposals is September 15, 2011.
Guidelines and eligibility requirements.


Computing Giants Launch Free Science Metrics


"Mapping the landscape of science is about to get easier than ever before. Google and Microsoft are rolling out free tools that will enable researchers to analyse citation statistics, visualize research networks, and track the hottest research fields."
Read online (open-access article)


QuestBridge High School Scholarships


The QuestBridge National College Match helps outstanding low-income high school seniors gain admission and full scholarships to some of the nation's leading colleges.  The National College Match application deadline is September 30, 2011.


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Copyright © 2011, American Association of Physics Teachers


In this issue


Featured Journal Articles


The Physics Teacher

An Inexpensive Mechanical Model for Projectile Motion Read online


American Journal of Physics


Resolution of the ellipsoid paradox in thermodynamics Read online


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Members in the News


Physics Teacher Brings Angry Birds Game To Classroom
Physics teacher John Burk, who teaches at Westminster Schools in Atlanta, discussed his out-of-the-box lesson idea, and whether including a video game helped his students better understand physics.  Burk says,"People enjoy video games like Angry Birds because they take us into entirely different fantasy worlds. Those fantasy worlds have to have their own laws of physics, and it's a great mystery for students to see if we can divine those laws by conducting "experiments" in the Angry Birds world." Read online


Physics Store Features


    Theories Apart


Role of the Lab in Teaching Introductory Physics


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Einstein in Berlin


Role of the Lab in Teaching Introductory Physics


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