TPT 50th Anniversity book - page 8

One day in 1963 I found in my university
mailbox three copies of the first issue and one of
the second of
The Physics Teacher
. The table of
contents would have been enough to encourage
me to subscribe! For example, there was Francis
W. Sears on “Weight and Weightlessness.” I used
his first editions (three volumes) as a student
and was using a later edition in 1963 as the text
for my class. Frank Verbrugge (President of the
AAPT) had an editorial on the establishment
of the journal, its purpose, its hopes, and a
few words about its editor, J.W. Buchta, who
was to determine its content. I still have my
membership card signed by Verbrugge. At this
point in its history,
was designed for the
high school teacher, although it was hoped that
university teachers of introductory courses
would become familiar with its content. Then
there was Haym Kruglak, E. Scott Barr (writing
a positive review of
Count Rumford
by Sanborn
C. Brown, a book that I had enjoyed), Philip
Youngner (writing a review of Eric M. Rogers’
Physics for the Inquiring Mind
), and then there
was GEORGE (George Freier), famous for
his cartoons and simple demonstrations. The
editorial board included Mario Iona, William
V. Houston, Thomas D. Miner, Melba Phillips,
and Richard T. Weidner. Joseph A. Struthers in
“Teaching the Dynamics of Uniform Circular
Motion” tried hard to straighten us out about
the “centrifugal” force. These were all familiar
The Teacher Recognition Program of the first
issue recognized 28 high school teachers out
of over 200 writing an examination, including
Thomas D. Miner (later to be associate editor
for 13 years and co-author with Clifford E.
Swartz of
Teaching Introductory Physics: A
). We have continued this practice of
awards for good teaching. A couple of articles
on measurements remind us that we still have a
“Temporary Committee on SI Units and Metric
All the editors have their own idea as to
what function
The Physics Teacher
should have
and they make it clear in their introductory
editorials. J.W. Buchta (1963-1966) in the first
issue made it clear that
was for high school
teachers. I found it more stimulating than most
texts for what I wanted to get across to students.
His passing led to RobertW. Detenbeck as acting
editor and Phil DiLavore as assistant editor for
about a year, leaving no particular philosophy,
but Phil introduced me to the physics of
technology modules that essentially took apart
a piece of equipment (toaster, bicycle, etc.),
pointing out all the physics in the construction
and operation. I bought all the modules, and
much of the equipment, or had students find
the material required.
Clifford E. Swartz (1967-1985, 1989-2000)
was introduced in
(6), wherein he and
Lester G. Paldy recognized that the link between
high school and college, especially the two-year
colleges, had become blurred to such an extent
that we could no longer treat
as only for
high school teachers. In addition, they felt that
the small fraction of students taking physics
must be increased, so the editors were looking
for articles on work being done to increase that
percentage. In 1971, I began a 22-year stretch
teaching in a two-year school in Texas that
brought me into a brand new environment of
introductory physics teachers. By 1973 I was
teaching over 125 students a semester, including
the summer, and female enrollment was over
The Physics Teacher
was quite readable
by my students and I found it a great resource
John Hubisz
Semi-retired physics professor John Hubisz is currently an adjunct faculty
member of the physics department at North Carolina State University in
Raleigh. As an ordained clergyman, he teaches a weekly religion course
for those wanting to know more about Catholicism. He continues to be
active with the North Carolina Section of AAPT as well as serve on two
national committees of the Association. And, of course, he still enjoys
editing his “Book Reviews” column in
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