TPT 50th Anniversity book - page 25

Over the past 50 years, four men have served
as editors of
The Physics Teacher
): Jay
Buchta (1963-1966), Cliff Swartz (1967-1985
and 1989-2000), Don Kirwan (1985-1989),
and Karl Mamola (2000-2013). Cliff and Karl
have been at the top of the journal’s masthead
for over 40 years, and I have had the privilege
of knowing and working with each, after first
meeting them in October 1999 at a North
Carolina AAPT Section meeting at Appalachian
State University (ASU). Karl hosted the meeting
and Cliff was the invited speaker, wooing the
audience with his latest enhancements to
and how its resources could serve a variety of
teaching needs. As legend has it, Karl drove
Cliff to the airport after the meeting, and
during the ride Cliff convinced Karl to think
about taking over the editorial reins of
within a year, the torch was passed.
had a new home in Boone, NC, and through
a fortuitous set of circumstances, Karl was
able to solicit the support of Pam Aycock as
managing editor. Over the past 13 years, Karl
and Pam’s partnership has allowed
function as smoothly as a Swiss timepiece
as it accommodated a rise in contributed
articles, a wider and more diverse readership,
a more competitive marketplace, a need for
more advertising dollars, and the transition to
electronic publishing and dissemination. Karl’s
cordial manner, Pam’s organizational savvy, and
ASU’s institutional backing have allowed
to evolve and prosper, enhancing the quality of
its product and adding Herculean value to the
physics teaching community. Compare today’s
to that of 10 years prior and you will find a
wider variety of content, a rich online presence,
an easy-to-access database of past articles, a
larger number of international subscribers, and
more articles from international contributors.
In March 1998, I attended a North Carolina
AAPT Section meeting at the University of
North Carolina at Greensboro. A gentleman in
the guise of Father Christmas collected my $5.00
registration fee, then immediately directed me to
a theatre-style classroom where a bearded chap
by the name of Paul Hewitt was showing everyone
howto sketch simple cartoons of baseball pitchers,
horses, light bulbs in an electrical circuit, and a
girl swinging a pail of water. A year later, “Father
Christmas” revealed himself to be John Hubisz
(an insatiable reader, future AAPT President,
and a wise man beyond his years), who twisted
my arm to buy a copy of
How to Read a Book
and Cliff Swartz’s text
Used Math
. The first book
was a guide that addressed four levels of reading
analytical, and syntopical); the second introduced
me to the mathematical tools college students use
in their engineering and applied science studies.
After reading
, I sent Cliff a detailed list
of notes suggesting minor changes to his text; his
enthusiastic acceptance of my remarks enabled us
to build a mutual respect for each other’s efforts.
John Hubisz taught me the value of
reading, while Cliff Swartz conveyed to me the
interconnections betweenmath and the physical
sciences. But what made me finally relish the
splendor of physics, our understanding of the
natural world, and our human place within it –
that crown belongs to Paul Hewitt. The former
boxer, uranium prospector, and sign painter
had a natural curiosity for the way things work
and a compelling need to explain complex
phenomena in simple terms, motivating him
to go back to school to study physics. After
graduating and securing a teaching post at
City College of San Francisco, Paul penned
Chuck Stone
Chuck Stone is a teaching professor at Colorado School of Mines. He is an
active proponent in increasing the numbers of women, underrepresented
minorities, and persons with disabilities in Mines’ physics and renewable
energy programs. As a LifetimeMember of AAPT, he has a genuine interest
in enhancing the appreciation and understanding of physics in his local
community as well as with his academic and professional colleagues. He
balances these efforts with healthy doses of guitar playing, long-distance
backpacking, mountain biking, swimming, and trail running.
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