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 eNNOUNCER May, 2009

From Warren Hein, Executive Officer


May 2009
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness …"
—Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities
It is ironic at this time of significant economic uncertainty and collapse of the global economy that science, especially physical science, is poised to receive infusions of funding for research and education that has not been experienced since the Sputnik era. Bi-partisan support for science at the congressional level has been apparent in the passage of the America COMPETES Act in August 2007 and, although not bi-partisan, in the passage of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act in February 2009. See Warren's full text at:

Bo HammerPhilip Walker "Bo" Hammer to Serve as AAPT Associate Executive Officer

The National Office announced April 27, 2009, that Philip Walker "Bo" Hammer, Ph.D., has joined the National Office as Associate Executive Officer. In this role, Dr. Hammer will work closely with Warren Hein, Executive Officer, to support AAPT’s educational programs. See the Press Release at: http://www.aapt.org/upload/Hammer-Press-Release.pdf

U.S. Physics Team Announced

US Physics TeamTwenty students from across the U.S. have emerged through a rigorous exam process that began last January with approximately 4,000 students who participated in the Fnet=ma exam to become the 2009 U.S. Physics Team http://www.aapt.org/aboutaapt/upload/Physics-Team-selection_boot-camp-Press-Release.pdf. These students will continue to train for the mentally grueling exams and lab tests they'll face at the 40th International Physics Olympiad, held this year July 12-19 in Merida Yucatan, Mexico. Meet the team members and their coaches at http://www.aapt.org/physicsteam/team.cfm.

High School Photo Contest—May 15 Deadline

It isn't too late to submit your best Physics Photo for this year's contest. The 100 finalist photos will be displayed and judged during the 2009 Summer Meeting which will be held at Ann Arbor, MI, July 25-29. Check out past winning photos, get submission information, and submit your entry online at www.aapt.org//Contests/photocontest.cfm.

The Physics of Fun

Amusement Park Physics Cover (Medium)On Friday, April 24, high-school students from the Washington DC area got the thrill of a lifetime as they joined forces for a day of hands-on learning and fun. AAPT and APS staff and the Society of Physics Students were proud to participate and sponsor the event! Local schools were invited to bring their physics students to Six Flags in Largo, MD, for first hand demonstrations of how to convert potential energy into kinetic energy, illustrate the vector addition of forces, compute centripetal accelerations and experience thrilling free falls and near weightless conditions. In conjunction with the American Physical Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers, students actively participated in demos, data collecting with accelerometers enclosed in vests, a presentation by "Galileo," and more. See the photo album on our Facebook page http://www.facebook.com/album.php?aid=92056&id=43948086085 and the SPS web site http://www.spsnational.org/news/2009/physics_day.htm

For more roller coaster related physics activities, take a look at Amusement Park Physics in our store!

Registration is now Open for the 2009 Summer Meeting

Summer meeting 2009 logoYou will remember this "Out of this World" event for years to come. An amazing program has been planned in conjunction with the 2009 Year of Science and the Year of Astronomy. The planning committee chose "Discovering the Universe: Democritus and Galileo to Fundamental Particles and Cosmology" as the meeting's theme. The Program Preview http://www.aapt.org/Events/sm2009/upload/SM09_Preview.pdf is full of helpful information about the meeting, Ann Arbor, and cost cutting travel tips. Register today! http://www.aapt.org/Events/sm2009/registration.cfm

2009 Topical Conference on Advanced Labs

Topical Conference on Advanced LabsThe Topical Conference on Advanced Labs will take place before AAPT’s Summer Meeting on July 23-25, 2009 at the University of Michigan. This two and a half day meeting will cover techniques, experiments, and curricular ideas for post-introductory undergraduate labs, whether they are independent or tied to a lecture course. The conference will include invited speakers on a variety of topics, presentations by commercial vendors, and lots of opportunities for hands-on experiences with experimental equipment. For more information, please go to http://advlabs.aapt.org/

Check the events calendar for future meetings.

Physics Education Research Conference 2009, PER Topical Group, AAPT Event

"Physics Education Research across Paradigms,"
July 29, 2009 - July 30, 2009 in Ann Arbor, at the University of Michigan
This conference will feature the leading researchers in cognitive psychology, in social and cultural studies and in neuroscience: Kevin Dunbar, Andrea diSessa, Michael Posner and Anna Sfard. These researchers will shed light on how cutting-edge research on learning is conducted within each framework and how different research methodologies apply to PER. One of the objectives of PERC 2009 is to identify the characteristic properties of various research frameworks and the kinds of questions each framework can answer best. By looking at the different frameworks used to study learning and the interplay between them, a goal of PERC 2009 is to build bridges between the frameworks used in PER and bridges between our community and those making use of each of these frameworks.

Call for Award Nominations

Nominations for awards to be presented at the 2010 Winter Meeting are now being accepted. These are:

  • Hans Christian Oersted Medal
  • Floyd K. Richtmyer Memorial Award
  • J.D. Jackson Excellence in Graduate Education Award
  • Distinguished Service Citations

Nomination forms should be sent to Lila Adair, Awards Committee Chair, no later than July 15.

Winter Meeting MP3 Podcasts Available

The following MP3 podcasts from the 2009 Winter Meeting in Chicago are now available on aapt.org at http://www.aapt.org/Events/podcasts.cfm:

  • Rotating Galaxies and Dark Matter, Vera Rubin, Carnegie Institution of Washington DC (AAPT Richtmyer Memorial Award Plenary)
  • The History and Fate of the Universe, George F. Smoot III, Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory and University of California, Berkeley (AAPT Oersted Medal Plenary)
  • Early High School Physics, Panel led by Leon Lederman (AAPT Symposium)
  • Dark Matter in the Lab, Joseph D. Lykken, Fermilab (AAPT Plenary)

The Physics Store

event_horizCelebrate the Year of Astronomy with one of our cosmic tee shirts. "Event Horizon" features a fiery, swirling black hole on black fabric. (Product Code: TS-12. M. $12, NM. $17.) Another popular member choice -"Starry Night". Einstein's face glows in a dark night sky filled with galaxies. TS-5E, M. $10, NM $15. All t-shirts available in sizes Medium to XXLarge. Visit the Physics Store to view full selection and to order.

AAPT on Facebook and Twitter

Are you an AAPT Facebook fan? Are you following us on Twitter? Visit our Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/American-Association-of-Physics-Teachers/43948086085?ref=ts and become a fan! Follow us on Twitter http://twitter.com/physicsteachers. Share these links with your colleagues and help spread the news!

SPIN-UP 2009 Workshop Schedules Posted

SPIN-UP logoAAPT in cooperation with the APS and AIP and with support from the National Science Foundation invites teams from physics departments to attend regional workshops. The Goal of the SPIN-UP Regional Workshops is to enable physics departments in a wide variety of institutions to build the departmental infrastructure that will produce long-term improvements in undergraduate physics programs and to enhance both the number of students studying physics and the quality of student learning.

The workshops will be held at the following locations:

For more information and application materials visit http://www.aapt.org/Projects/spinup-regional.cfm.


PER-Central serves as an informational touch-point and online community for "producers" and "consumers" of physics education research (PER). Here you will find links to PER articles and dissertations, information about research groups, PER-based curricular materials, news, and events of interest to this community. PER-Central is the web host for the 2009 PER Conference in Ann Arbor.

The ComPADRE PER collection has recently launched the PERWiki as a collaborative space for works of interest to the PER Community. Contributions to the Wiki and the PER-Central collection are encouraged.

AAPT Section News

North Dakota Section Spring Meeting

ND-AAPT-meetingThe North Dakota section of AAPT met March 7, 2009 in conjunction with the North Dakota Science Teachers Association (NDSTA). The meeting was held in the classrooms of the science building on the campus of Bismarck State College in Bismarck, ND.
The meeting began with a business meeting for the ND section followed by members and guests sharing  demonstrations, teaching methods, and ideas.
Photo depicts one of the demonstrations, making dry ice using pressurized carbon dioxide source.

AAPT Members in the News

2009 Teacher of the Year

Paul Mittura selected as a Clarksville-Montgomery County, TN 2009 Teacher of the Year.

Paul Mittura has spent 23 years educating students at Clarksville High. He teaches honors physics, AP Physics, and conceptual physics - a pilot science class this year for the state of Tennessee. Mittura's input and experience with the pilot course will be invaluable as conceptual physics is incorporated at each local high school beginning with the 2009-10 school year. http://www.theleafchronicle.com/article/20090415/COMMUNITY/90414050


NOVA scienceNOW's Educator's Webcast

Neil_degrasseMay 27, 6:00 p.m. Eastern Time
Meet astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson live online!
Join this interactive Webcast event for science educators, and enjoy an hour with Neil, host of PBS's NOVA scienceNOW. Get a sneak peak at NOVA scienceNOW's upcoming new season, learn about free classroom resources, and ask Neil your questions about the universe. Save your spot now: register at http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/sciencenow/webcast.html.

Meeks Memorial Acoustics Workshop

The 3rd Annual Meeks Memorial Acoustics Workshop will be offered July 6 through July 9, 2009 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:

NSF Funded Survey

The National Science Foundation is funding a survey on how faculty and teachers use digital resources in their teaching. The goal of this study is to assess the use of various digital resources by faculty and teachers in physics and cognate disciplines with the goal of improving the services offered by collections of these resources in your discipline. This is a scientific and confidential study that takes approximately 15-20 minutes to answer. If you have any questions about this project feel free to visit the project website http://chss.gmu.edu/digitalresources or contact the project’s principal investigator Glenda Morgan at George Mason University gmorgan3@gmu.edu or (703) 993-4446. We are hoping to have all of our data collected by May 19, 2009.

NSTA Issues National Call for Entries

NSTA has announced a call for entries for the 2009-2010 NSTA New Science Teacher Academy. Science teachers located throughout the country who will be entering their second or third year of teaching and whose schedule is a minimum of 51 percent middle or high school science, can apply to become an NSTA Fellow. For more information about the NSTA New Science Teacher Academy or to learn how to apply to become a fellow, please visit www.nsta.org/academy. Applications must be submitted no later than June 1, 2009 to be considered.

Georgia Governor Signs Bill to Help Recruit More Math, Science Teachers

On April 22, 2009, Georgia Governor Sonny Perdue signed House Bill 280, which will start new fully-certified math and science teachers at the same salary as a fifth year teacher. "Just as Georgia businesses increase incentives to fill critical positions, we now have the same ability," said Governor Perdue. "Last year, Georgia produced only one physics teacher. This legislation will help us address the shortage of math and science teachers in the state."

AAS Galileoscope Project

The American Astronomical Society (AAS), together with a host of partners working to make the 2009 International Year of Astronomy (IYA) a rich and wondrous experience for students of all ages around the globe, officially launched the next phase its Galileoscope project last week. During 2009, this ambitious program aims to make and distribute, at cost, 1 million "Galileoscopes"—primarily to schoolchildren and AAS is donating Galileoscopes to our very own 2009 U.S. Physics Team.

Hubble Telescope Repair

Hubble's Last Servicing Mission (SM4), starring the Hubble Space Telescope & The STS-125 Astronauts. 
Watch as the Space Shuttle Atlantis journeys to the Hubble Space Telescope and the STS-125 astronauts conduct 5 servicing spacewalks.
Show Your Interest… Register at the Million Eyes on the Sky site…
Be involved with this exciting mission…


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