Program Highlights

Welcome to Portland

I am proud to be a native Oregonian (for the last 32 years, that is), and it is my great pleasure to welcome you to beautiful Oregon for the Summer 2010 meeting. I sincerely hope that in addition to attending some of the quality workshops and many of the excellent sessions, you will also take time to get to know what is so special about Oregon, and its largest, most vibrant city, Portland. Schedule some time before or after the meeting to experience beautiful, uncrowded beaches and dramatic cliff-side overlooks of the Pacific Ocean; views (and hikes) of the majestic Cascade Mountains; cascading Multnomah and other falls. All of these Oregon treasures (and Washington’s Mt. St. Helens) are within 100 kilometers of downtown Portland. During the meeting enjoy the exciting museums, gourmet, unique and eclectic restaurants, inviting Willamette* and Columbia riverfronts, and efficient TriMet transit system that make Portland one of the most livable cities in the country. Saunter into Powell’s Books, head out on a walk around this pedestrian-friendly city, or venture for a hike in the surrounding hills of Washington Park.** I can’t imagine a better place to hold the Summer Meeting! (Of course. It’s less than a two-hour drive from my house!)

The theme of the meeting is "50 Years with Lasers." There will be a tutorial, "Teaching About Lasers," on Saturday (co-sponsored by LaserFest). Then, Monday will be "Laser Day," featuring 2.5 hours of plenary presentations on uses of lasers in precision frequency measurement (optical frequency combs), biomedical imaging and diagnosis and treatment of the eye. Laser Day will also feature the premier of a new documentary on the development and applications of lasers produced by SPIE (international optical engineering society).

Among the many interesting sessions at SM2010 will be Physics, Technological Innovation, and Careers in the Pacific Northwest, Biomedical Labs for Introductory and Advanced Physics Courses, Dealing with Mathematical Difficulties in Lower and Upper Division Physics Courses, Authentic Assessment in the Physics Classroom, Multiple Models for Mentoring (a panel and an invited/contributed session), Science and Religion, Promoting Diversity in Physics Education, PTRA at its 25th Anniversary (a special plenary), and When Scientists Should Step In: Media, Politics, and Science (a special session with invited speakers from government and the press). For workshops, there will be—among many others— LabVIEW Instruction for the Advanced Laboratory, Research Based Alternatives to Traditional Problems in Introductory Physics, What Every Physics Teacher Should Know About Cognitive Science, Critical Thinking in Astronomy, and Enhancing your Course with Activities Arising from Physics Educational Research.

SM2010 will also feature tours of Vernier Software and Technology, a gala demonstration show in the Portland Performing Arts Center (sponsored by Vernier and featuring professional vaudeville performers and a laser light show sponsored by LaserFest), and an urban picnic in downtown Portland, just two blocks walk from the headquarters Portland Hilton hotel (also sponsored by Vernier).

Best regards,
D. Sokoloff Signature
David Sokoloff
AAPT President Elect and Summer 2010 Program Chair
University of Oregon
Eugene, Oregon

*By the way, that’s wil-LAMM-met, and it’s ORR-i-g n. Practice!
** Washington Park is just a 12-minute MAX ride from the Hilton, and is also home to the Oregon Zoo, Hoyt Arboretum, World Forestry Center, Portland Children’s Museum, International Rose Test Garden, Portland Japanese Garden, Oregon Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Oregon Holocaust Memorial. The Washington Park MAX station is the deepest subway station in North America! The station itself is a study in Oregon geology, and the elevators mark their position—not by conventional floor numbers—but by “the present” and “16 million years ago.”

Award Winners


Some images courtesy of Travel Portland

Click on highlighted (blue) awards for the abstract

  • Distinguished Service Citations 2010

    Chris Chiaverina, Harvey Leff, Sanjay Rebello
  • AIP Science Writing Award—Children's Category

    Cora Lee and Gillian O'Riley for The Great Number Rumble: A Story of Math in Surprising Places

Plenary Speakers

Click on highlighted (blue) plenary speeches for the abstract for that speaker

  • PTRA at its 25th Anniversary

Special Events

(Click on the event to see details)

Video: Celebrating 50 Years of the Laser

In 1960 Ted Maiman fired the world's first laser, a very low-powered device by today's standards that was dubbed a "death-ray" by some and a "solution looking for a problem" by others.Today the laser touches our lives in countless ways - from the supermarket scanner to DVD players, from cosmetic surgery to state-of-the-art medical advances, from connecting people through the Internet to keeping our communities secure - lasers are everywhere in today's world.This film looks at how lasers impact our lives today and into the future through comments from a collection of laser pioneers and the researchers who are advancing the technology. The video, scheduled for viewing on Monday at 6:15 and Tuesday at 9:20 is a production of SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, as part of its Advancing the Laser celebration.

Demo Show: The Physics of Vaudeville!

This year we have a very special demo show at the beautiful Newmark Theater at the Portland Center for the Performing Arts. The traditional demo show features physicists performing demos. This year, we have performers doing juggling and other vaudeville type circus acts and we have to find the physics! This will be an evening of entertainment and hopefully, inspiration for all to develop or access the performing arts when taking physics to the public. Of course it is also the 50th year anniversary of the laser. It may give you a hint of what else to expect. Featured Performers include Jugglemania’sRhys Thomas, aerialist Kyoko Uchida, and Brittany Walsh from Circus Artemis, music by Shoehorn, also acts by Curtis Carlyle, Rob Brown, and Laseronics. The theater and special picnic are "Off Site", but located just one block from the conference hotel. The show is sponsored by Vernier Software and Laserfest.

1st Timer's Gathering

The best time to learn about AAPT and the Summer Meeting and to meet fellow attendees and AAPT leadership.


Enjoy this scenic 5K Run (3.2 miles) along Tillingwer Boulevard where you will take in the gorgeous view of the Cascade mountains, Mt. Hood, Mount St. Helens and Mount St. Adams. For the last twenty years, Tillingwer Blvd. has become Portland's signature area for runners and walkers. Bring your camera and support AAPT!

Meet in the lobby

AAPT 5K Walk

Enjoy this scenic 5K Walk (3.2 miles) along Tillingwer Boulevard where you will take in the gorgeous view of the Cascade mountains, Mt. Hood, Mount St. Helens and Mount St. Adams. For the last twenty years, Tillingwer Blvd. has become Portland's signature area for walkers and runners. Bring your camera and support AAPT!

Meet in the lobby.

AAPT Adult Picnic

Enjoy great food, live music and beer with your AAPT friends and family.

AAPT Child Picnic

Enjoy great food, live music and with your AAPT friends and family.

PER Banguet Only

PER Conference & Banquet

PERC provides an opportunity for those in the field of physics education research and allied fields to share their research, obtain feedback, explore diverse perspectives and discuss issues relevant to the community.In order to attend the PERC you must register for the AAPT meeting either for a Full Meeting or One Day. This Event will be held at the Portland Hilton and Executive Tower.p>Read more about the PER Conference

Portland City & Columbia River Gorge Tour

Explore the Columbia River Gorge, a geologic wonder that forms the border between northern Oregon and southern Washington. Take in the awe and wonder of the Crown Point Vista house, a unique visitor's center that sits 733 feet above the Columbia River. Tour the Portland International Rose Gardens and view the beauty of the Pittock Mansion and Portland mountains. Lunch is on own.

Portland Walking Tour

This 3-hour walking tour of downtown Portland will discuss the history, culture and current events of Portland. Highlights will include: Pioneer Square, Rooftop Gardens, Portland History, Portlandia, Portland Buildings, Plaza Blocks, Waterfront Park and China Town.

Retiree's Breakfast

Start your day by networking and exchanging ideas with our long-served and deserving supporters of AAPT

Spouse's Gathering

Create connections with other spouses and partners of AAPT attendees.

TYC Breakfast

Two Year College staff begin their day by breaking bread and sharing ideas

Young Physicist's Meet & Greet

For younger physicists to mix and mingle.