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eNNOUNCER September 2011                                          
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eNNOUNCER September 2011


TARC and Upcoming AAPT Contests


AAPT is proud to be an Educational Partner for the 2012 Team America Rocketry Challenge (TARC). Now in its tenth year, TARC is the world’s largest rocket design launch contest with approximately 7000 students participating each year. It is sponsored by the Aerospace Industries Association (AIA) and the National Association of Rocketry in partnership with AAPT, DoD, NASA, and AIA member companies.
          Registration opens September 7, 2011.
          Header photo: The Purple Pumas  are a 7th grade ALL girls team  from Seabrook Intermediate in Seabrook, Texas. Team America Rocketry Challenge

Mark your calendar for these upcoming contests.




Each year, approximately 10,000 students take a 40-question, 45-minute timed, multiple-choice test under their school’s supervision. Exam questions are based on topics and concepts covered in a typical high school physics course. Physicsbowl


High School Physics Photo Contest logoOpen to high school students in grades 9-12 (or equivalent international grade level), the High School Physics Photo Contest recognizes excellence in conceptual physics photography. Entries are welcome every year between March 1 and May 15 for that year's competition. View the 2011 contest winners.


Apparatus Competition
The Apparatus Competition recognizes, rewards, and publicizes worthwhile contributions to physics teaching through demonstration and experiment. The Competition is held annually during AAPT's summer meeting and is open to all members. Apparatus Competition

Robert Hilborn, AAPT Associate Executive OfficerRobert Hilborn Joins AAPT as Associate Executive Officer


Robert "Bob" C. Hilborn, Ph.D., has joined the National Office as Associate Executive Officer. In this role, Dr. Hilborn will work closely with Dr. Beth Cunningham, Executive Officer, to support AAPT's educational programs.
          Read online


Winter Meeting 2012 logoWM2012, The Wave Nature of Light and Matter


Now is the time to plan your winter break with a February trip to the AAPT Winter Meeting in Ontario, California. Join the physics community February 4-8 for a week of learning, sharing, and collaboration as we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the publication of Maxwell’s equations, which made possible a unifying leap from electricity and magnetism to electromagnetic waves, and an understanding of light. Further, 2012 is the 75th anniversary of the Davisson-Germer Nobel Prize for wave nature of matter.
        Follow the development of this  meeting.
        You can submit an abstract for the pre-deadline program through October 3rd, 2011. Submit an abstract.
        Registration will be available soon.


At the meeting Tuesday, February 7 – 3:30-5:15 p.m.
          AAPT Symposium on Physics Education
          Physics Education Research and Public Policy
Symposium speakers include Vernon Ehlers, recently retired U.S. Representative, Helen Quinn, Professor of Physics at Stanford University and Chair of the National Research Council’s Conceptual Framework for New Science Education Standards Committee, and Howard Gobstein, Executive Vice President at the Association of Public and Land Grant Universities and Co-Director of the Science and Mathematics Teacher Imperative.  The Symposium will be moderated by Noah Finkelstein, Associate Professor at University of Colorado, Boulder and Chair of the AAPT Public Policy Committee.


Save the Date:
Summer Meeting 2012, July 28-August 1 (Philadelphia, PA)
        Winter Meeting 2013, January 5-9 (New Orleans, Louisiana)
        Summer Meeting 2013, July 13-17 (Portland, Oregon)

Betty Preece (SEES) Memorial Fund Supports Science Education for Minority Children


Each year, during the Winter Meeting, AAPT sponsors the Students Exploring Engineering and Science (SEES) Program. This program provides 100 minority, low-socioeconomic students with the opportunity to engage in three hours of hands-on science activities during the meeting. AAPT provides lunch, transportation, career information, and science materials.
        AAPT established the Betty Preece SEES Memorial Fund in honor of the program's founder, Betty Preece. The endowment of this fund would ensure the sustainability and continuation of the program. All gifts to this fund will be used to sustain and expand this outreach to children who might not otherwise have the opportunity to participate in science activities.
        If this program can change the direction of even one at-risk student’s life, that change would be priceless. It will take $24,000 to fully endow the Betty Preece SEES Memorial Fund. Your contribution, in any amount, will be an investment in the lives of these students.

NRC K-12 Framework Report Update


The AAPT working group reviewing the K-12 Framework Report has completed their review of the document, identified a number of scientific errors, and written to the National Research Council Committee on Conceptual Framework for New Science Education Standards expressing the Association's appreciation for the opportunity to participate in the development process.  The letter includes a document outlining the errors identified by the AAPT working group as well as suggestions for text corrections.        Read the letter.
          We appreciate the dedicated and extensive efforts of the working group, Gary Baier, Green Bay East High School; Beverly T. Cannon, Highland Park High School; Beth Cunningham, AAPT Executive Officer; Dewey Dykstra, Boise State University; Patricia Heller, University of Minnesota; and Drew Isola, Allegan High School.
        The group is working on a letter listing misconceptions that may lead to misunderstandings and missing key concepts that will be sent to Achieve in early September.  Additionally, the Education Symposium to be held in conjunction with the 2012 AAPT Winter Meeting will focus on the Framework Report and standards development.

AAPT National Election


The election of officers for Executive Board service beginning in 2012 will take place between September 19 and midnight (eastern daylight time) November 4. This will be a totally electronic election. If you have an email address on record the information with instructions on how to access the ballot and vote electronically will arrive via your email box. If you don't have an email address, watch the mail for instructions on how to vote electronically!
        Nominations are open for the 2013 election. Information on positions up for the 2013 election, including a link to the Nomination Form, is available at http://aapt.org/aboutaapt/nominate.cfm.

Task Force on Teacher Education in Physics


The full report of the PhysTEC Task Force on Teacher Education in Physics is expected to be available by the end of this year. A pre-release of the Executive Summary was distributed at the PhysTEC Conference in May. There will be a session at the PhysTEC Conference on the report and the national proposal for regional centers.  A printed copy of the report will be sent to all physics departments and schools of education, and a PDF version will be made freely available on the PhysTEC website.


2012 Physics Teacher Education Coalition Conference: New Paradigms for Physics Teacher Education


The PhysTEC Conference features workshops, panel discussions, and presentations by national leaders, as well as excellent networking opportunities. The 2012 conference will be held February 3-4, in conjunction with the American Association of Physics Teachers Winter Meeting.


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.


        Statistical and Thermal Physics on ComPADRE


The Statistical and Thermal Physics (STP) Collection on ComPADRE is designed to promote innovation in the teaching of thermal and statistical physics. These innovations include computational projects, laboratory experiments, conceptual approaches to important topics, and current research developments. The featured resources of the STP Collection are open source simulations with curricular material linked to the textbook, Thermal and Statistical Physics by Harvey Gould and Jan Tobochnik. The text has been published by Princeton University Press, but remains freely available in the STP Collection. The STP web site also includes updates to the text and additional resources. In addition to these web-based resources, Gould and Tobochnik will present workshops on statistical mechanics and thermodynamics teaching at the winter 2012 AAPT meeting and the March 2012 APS meeting.
        Statistical and Thermal Physics


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.


What is the Story Files Project?


AAPT is preserving audiovisual files from  members on topics including the teaching and learning of physics, collaborations and interactions between members, historical and personal reminiscing about physics related experiences and careers, the value of being an AAPT member, and much more. The first videos were made at the Omaha Meeting. These videos will soon be available for viewing on the AAPT website. We plan to continue the process of collecting videos at the winter meeting in Ontario, California. If you wish to contribute your own video to this project, please contact Dave Wolfe for details. We will accept videos made by you or you can arrange to have us make one of you in Ontario.


Section News


AAPT Sections Host Physics Day at 2011 NSTA Area Conferences
AAPT offers a full day of physics content at the NSTA Area Conferences. Physics Day consists of presentations and interactive lecture demonstrations on physics topics of current interest. Participants will gain direct experience on instructional approaches using invention and inquiry through active learning.

2011 Area Conference in Hartford, CT - Friday, October 28


2011 Area Conference in New Orleans, LA - Friday, November 11


2011 Area Conference in Seattle, WA - Friday, December 9


Fall Meetings


Appalachian Section, October 14, 2011
          Appalachian Section online


Wisconsin Section, October 28, 2011
          WAPT online


Northern California-Nevada Section, November 4-5, 2011
          NCNAAPT online


Kentucky Section, November 5, 2011
          KAPT online


North Carolina Section, November 18, 2011
          NCSAAPT online


To list your section meeting in the AAPT Calendar of Events, e-mail the information to mgardner@aapt.org. See the July 2011 Section News.


New Videos Spotlight Science/Technology Careers and Educational Path to Secure Jobs


Advanced Technological Education Television (ATETV), an award-winning Web video series sponsored in part by the National Science Foundation, returns with 40 new videos just in time for the 2011/2012 school year. ATETV.ORG is a free Web video series featuring up to the minute information connecting high-school students with high-tech education and employment opportunities.  The series debuted in 2009 and has been critically acclaimed for its efforts at showcasing real jobs in actual high-tech fields, and the educational paths to them.
        Watch videos 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.


VII International Congress on Didactics of Science and XII International Workshop on Teaching of Physics


The Ministry of Education of Cuban Republic and the Latin-American and Caribbean Pedagogical Institute will present the VII International Congress on Didactics of Science and the XII International Workshop on Teaching of Physics to be held in the Havana Convention’s Palace, Havana, Cuba, from March 19 to 23, 2012.
          The Congress will focus on the teaching and learning of natural and exact sciences in all types and educational levels in the context of the Education for the Development Sustainable Decade promoted by the ONU with special emphasis on the advances and results in this aspect.
  Read online.


Sing About Science


Sing a song of chordates? Hum a ditty about algebra? These are just a few of the possibilities on the Sing About Science website. A team of scientists interested in studying the "usefulness of music in science and math education," created this musical archive with funds provided by the National Science Foundation. First-time visitors should start by clicking on the "Featured Videos" area. Here they will find a few sample songs from topics that include physics, math, and engineering. Moving on, visitors can use the "Find/Add Songs" section to look for songs by keyword, song title, or performer.
          Read online.


Physics World Free Download


Many Universes, Many Theories
See what string theorist and popular-science author Brian Greene has to say on whether our universe is just one among many – and whether theories of the multiverse will ever qualify as science.
        Read the Article.


Vacuum Challenges and Solutions 2011
Enjoy a special supplement to Physics World that takes a look at how vacuum technology is breaking new ground, from the developing nations of Brazil, Russia, China and India to the harsh environment of space. Download your copy now.       

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.


Colorado Science Conference For Professional Development


Save the date for the 2011 Colorado Science Conference in Denver, CO. The conference will be held at the Denver Merchandise Mart Friday, November 18, 2011, with post-conference sessions offered on Saturday, November 19.
        Read online

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

Infrared Imaging for Inquiry-Based Learning
    Read online


American Journal of Physics


Using plasma experiments to illustrate a complex index of refraction
      Read online


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Members in the News


The Surprising Science Lurking in America's Amusement Parks


Thousands of people will head to State Fairs this summer to step aboard rides that thrill, terrify and delight—each drop, every whirl, every stomach-flipping loop grounded in basic laws of physics. That's why Clarence Bakken of Sunnyvale, Calif., has taken his high school physics class to amusement parks over and over during his 35 years as a teacher.


Read online


Physics Store Features


Used Math


Role of the Lab in Teaching Introductory Physics


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Insights into the Universe


Role of the Lab in Teaching Introductory Physics


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