AAPT.org - American Association of Physics Teachers

2012 National Executive Board Election Candidate for President

Randolph (Randy) S. Peterson

Randolph (Randy) S. Peterson 2012 election candidate.Department of Physics and Astronomy
The University of the South
Sewanee, TN 37383
rpeterso@sewanee.edu

Education
B.S. University of Tennessee, 1972, Engineering Physics
M.S. University of Tennessee, 1974, Physics
Ph.D. University of Tennessee, 1977, Accelerator-based Atomic Physics

Professional Experience
Institute for Nuclear Studies, Johann Wolfgang Goethe University, and GSI Darmstadt, Visiting Scientist, 1976-1977
North Texas State University, Post-doctoral fellow, 1977-1978
NATO Advanced School, Rutherford Backscattering Techniques, 1978
University of Connecticut, Visiting Assistant Professor, 1978-1980
University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, Assistant and Associate Professor, 1980-1989
Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Participating Scientist, 1982-1985
The University of the South, Associate Professor and Professor, 1989-present, Chair 1998-2002
University of Alabama at Birmingham, Visiting Professor, 2002-2004
Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Visiting Scientist, 2009-2011

Honors
Student Government Outstanding Professors, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, 1983
Outstanding Teachers, University of Tennessee, Chattanooga, 1989

Memberships
American Association of Physics Teachers
American Physical Society
Advanced Laboratory Physics Association, ALPhA
Tau Beta Pi
Sigma Pi Sigma
Tennessee Section AAPT

AAPT/APS Activities
Tennessee Section, AAPT, President 1990, Section Representative 1991-2007
Faculty Advisor, Society of Physics Students, Sigma Pi Sigma 2007-present
Committee on Laboratories, member and chair
Rural PTRA workshops, 2004-2008
Chair of Section Representatives
Executive Board, 2003-2007
Co-PI and Chair, Advanced Laboratory Conference at University of Michigan, 2009

Commentary
I first became aware of the relevance of AAPT to my teaching during a 1984 visit by past-president, John Layman. I attended my first AAPT meeting that year and have rarely missed a national meeting since. I find the national meetings provide a rare opportunity for me to engage in professional physics and professional teaching discussions with colleagues from every type of educational institution. As the cost to attend a national meeting increases, AAPT is beginning to adjust the meeting format to keep the meetings affordable and vibrant. This evolution will need continued oversight and encouragement in the next few years.

Our national meetings bring national attention, but our largest attendance (by almost a factor of two) is the sum of all our section and alliance meetings. At these meetings we are joined by high school (and college) teachers without travel budgets and researchers without the time to travel. These meetings and these groups create physics activities and workshops for teachers and students of all ages. Our Physics Alliance of Chattanooga ran a free-admission physics day at the amusement park for area schools for almost two decades. These groups are the pulse to physics teaching and AAPT’s future, and we need to listen to them.

AAPT has been a home for the creation and growth of communities exploring ideas for improving the teaching of physics. The PTRA, the PER community, and the advanced lab community are just a few of them. AAPT has helped to secure funding for special activities of many of these groups, primarily through the NSF. With reduced federal budgets looming before us, AAPT needs to begin to reach out to other foundations and into the private sector for funding of its important programs.

Just as no single person organizes a conference, no single person will solve the challenges facing AAPT. But I believe that I can work with the different AAPT communities, through the Executive Board and the national office, to change our national meetings and to broaden our base of financial support. This can provide additional support so that AAPT can continue to provide the venues for physicists and physics teachers to interact with each other and for the various communities within AAPT to continue their outreach activities for the greater good of our society. I am honored to be nominated to run for Vice President of the AAPT.Randolph (Randy) S. Peterson 2012 election candidate.