program_wb_i - page 51

July 26–30, 2014
Monday morning
Monday, July 28
12 - 1:30 p.m.
Mississippi Queen Paddle
Boat Tour!
Session AB: Historical Perspectives
on Teaching Physics
Location: STSS 330
Sponsor: Committee on History and Philosophy in Physics
Co-Sponsor: Committee on the Interests of Senior Physicists
Date: Monday, July 28
Time: 8:30–10 a.m.
Presider: Bonnie Gidzak
8:3-9 a.m. Van Vleck Teaching Quantum Theory in the
Midwest 1924/34
Invited – Michel Janssen, University of Minnesota, Tate Lab of Physics, Min-
neapolis, MN 55455;
In this talk, I examine to what extent some general observations of Thomas
S. Kuhn about the effects of scientific revolutions on textbooks and teach-
ing are borne out by two books and a course on quantum theory by Kuhn’s
own PhD adviser, the American theoretical physicist and Nobel laureate
John H. Van Vleck. The two books are Van Vleck’s
Bulletin for the National
Research Council
(NRC) on the old quantum theory published in 1926,
right after the quantum revolution, and his famous book on susceptibilities
of 1932. Student notes for two editions of Van Vleck’s graduate course on
quantum mechanics survive, one for the 1927/28 edition in Minneapolis,
one for the 1930/31 edition in Madison. These materials, I argue, suggest
that there is much more continuity in the quantum revolution than Kuhn’s
picture of paradigm shifts allows for.
9-9:30 a.m. Gearing Up to Learn Electromagnetism
Invited – Cameron Lazaroff-Puck, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN
In this talk, I will cover the importance of mechanical analogy in teaching
and developing theories of electromagnetism in the late 19th century at
Cambridge University. In 1862 and 1865 James Clerk Maxwell published
two seminal papers on electromagnetism both founded on physical analo-
gies to simple machines designed by Maxwell himself. Maxwell’s role as
the first head of the Cavendish Laboratory, founded in 1874 as a teach-
ing laboratory, provided him the opportunity to introduce these simple
machines as teaching aides for a new generation of physicists learning his
theory of electromagnetism. Editors of Maxwell’s
Treatise on Electricity and
made a similar choice, reintroducing mechanical analogy to
the readers of his textbook. I contend that mechanical analogies were not
only a crucial tool in Maxwell’s individual quest to construct a theory of
electromagnetism, but that they were also intended to help future students
grasp the obscure electromagnetic relations that Maxwell had built on top
of these mechanical foundations.
9:30-10 a.m. Using History to Teach the Atom, 1945-1958
Invited – Bonnie Gidzak, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55414;
One approach to introducing atomic structure and processes is teaching
the history of the discoveries. In contrast to the teaching of other physics
concepts, this may seem simply like a convenient place to insert a history
lesson to, for example, meet state education standards. However, in the
early atomic age following World War II, the use of history played specific
roles in atomic science high school and public education. Educators,
scientists, and journalists used this historical approach to the atom in the
late 1940s through 1950s because this view was seen as approachable,
understandable, and less technical. Additionally, some educators and
scientists used the historical approach in an effort to separate the science of
the atom from the weapon of the atomic bomb. Drawing on curricular ma-
terials, popular media, professional education journals and select archival
documents, my talk will examine the use and implications of the historical
approach in atomic science education.
Session AC: Creating Research-Like
Experiences for All Students
Location: STSS 114
Sponsor: Committee on Apparatus
Date: Monday, July 28
Time: 8:30–10 a.m.
Presider: Ben Zwickl
8:30-9 a.m. Undergrad Students Do Authentic Research
by Writing a Research Proposal
Invited – Susan Wick, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN 55414;
Undergraduate STEM students can experience many elements of authentic
research without setting foot in a lab. I will describe the genetic engineer-
ing proposal project that students do in the first semester of the Founda-
tions of Biology course at the University of Minnesota and suggest how
this approach could likewise be used in physics courses. A major goal is to
provide them with the opportunity to do the work of the field, not just read
about it. Our approach requires teams of students to identify a problem
that could be solved with application of STEM approaches, and to integrate
many elements of their coursework to propose a solution to the problem in
both a written proposal and in a conference-style poster. With scaffolding
and detailed rubrics for all stages of the project, students are capable of
high-level work that gives them a glimpse of the creative aspects of doing
Meet in Coffman Union
near Registration
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