TPT 50th Anniversity book - page 15

Because of my advisor’s aforementioned
patience, I found that I was able to work toward
my PhD on a relatively relaxed basis compared
with graduate students in other research groups,
and I found enough “spare time” to teach
physics part time both at a local private high
school and at Mills College, to work weekends
at a professional recording studio in Sausalito,
to build and run my own small demo recording
studio in the attic bedroom of my communal
house, and to perform and record with a few
local bands.
It was also during those years that I
discovered AAPT,
, and
. I read
the journals regularly and began attending
Northern California Section meetings. It
seemed clear that AAPT and its journals would
figure prominently in whatever teaching career
I might have.
After receivingmy doctorate I began a difficult
search for a teaching position in a college physics
department that I was not at all sure existed, one
that would emphasize teaching excellence and
that would at least tolerate, if not unequivocally
support, my predilections (and attendant
lack of traditional “research productivity”)
as a pedagogically oriented generalist. I was
confident, however, that my unusually extensive
and varied teaching experience and my already
established association with AAPT would give
me some advantage in that search.
Indeed, although the search took longer than
I would have hoped and included a dispiriting
tenure denial along the way, my association
with AAPT and its journals were ultimately
instrumental in connecting me with my mentor,
colleague, BFF, and “Out-Laws of Physics”
drummer, Harvey Leff, a recent Past President
of AAPT, and plugging me into a nearly perfect
position at Cal Poly Pomona. Here, I’ve had the
genuine pleasure of teaching most of the courses
in the undergraduate curriculum to unusually
large classes of physics majors and of being
encouraged in my desire to devote my scholarly
energy to the AAPT and its journals. Whatever
small service I might have rendered to the
organization along the way, however, has more
than repaid itself in professional satisfaction.
Clifford Swartz, Editor 1967-1985 and 1990-2000
Clifford E. Swartz was a founding member of the physics department faculty at Stony Brook
University (State University of New York at Stony Brook) and editor for almost 30 years of
The Physics Teacher
. He authored or co-authored more than 30 books, most of them physics
books and textbooks, including
Teaching Introductory Physics: A Sourcebook
, and
Back-of-the-Envelope Physics
Swartz was legendary for his lectures, demonstrations, and enthusiasm for teaching physics.
He was a 1945 graduate of the University of Rochester, where he earned his PhD in physics in 1951.
Starting in 1951, Swartz was a scientist at Brookhaven National Laboratory. There he
worked on experiments with the Cosmotron, which was then one of the new generation of
high energy accelerators. With his newfound interest in teaching physics, he helped start the
physics department at the new State University of New York at Stony Brook in 1957. Between
1981 and 1983, Swartz was the first civilian physicist to teach at the Military Academy at West
Point. He was awarded the Outstanding Civilian Service Medal by the Department of the Army
in 1983 for his efforts to change the physics curriculum at West Point. In 1987, he was awarded
the Oersted Medal of the American Association of Physics Teachers – which recognizes “those
who have had an outstanding, widespread, and lasting impact on the teaching of physics.” In
2007, he was the 10th person to be honored with AAPT’s Melba Newell Phillips Medal.
I...,5,6,7,8,9,10,11,12,13,14 16,17,18,19,20,21,22,23,24,25,...30
Powered by FlippingBook