Physics teachers gather on SU campus for national meeting, physics demonstration show July 24
Physics teachers gather on SU campus for national meeting, physics demonstration show July 24July 18, 2006Carol K. Masiclatclkim@syr.edu
For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction. And when an estimated 1,500 college and high school physics teachers from 18 countries converge on the Syracuse University campus this month, SU will react by hosting the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) 2006 summer meeting, July 22-26, with associated conferences occurring before and after the main meeting.
Workshops for AAPT participants will take place July 22-23, followed by paper presentations through July 26. The theme for this meeting is “Celebrating AAPT’s 75th Anniversary.”
On July 15, attendees of the Physics Teachers Resource Agents (PTRA) conference arrived on campus. Agents are physics and physical science educators who are participating in professional development workshops and will return to their home cities to train other in-service teachers.
The AAPT topical conference, “Teaching general relativity to undergraduates,” will take place July 20-21. The conference is made possible with the assistance of LIGO/Caltech, the National Science Foundation Physics Frontier Center for Gravitational Wave Physics at Penn State, AAPT and the SU Department of Physics.
A featured highlight of the meeting schedule is a physics demonstration July 24 at 8 p.m. in Stolkin Auditorium in the Physics Building, led by Sam Sampere, lab manager and official “demo-man” of the SU physics department. He will be joined by several other physics demonstrators, representing what Sampere calls “the best of the best from around the country.” The team plans to conduct a number of demonstrations illustrating various principles of physics, including one involving a giant Van de Graaff machine, a device that generates very high voltages and makes artificial lightening. The event is free and open to the public.
Two competitions will be held during the course of the meetings. In the AAPT apparatus contest, meeting participants compete for cash prizes ranging from $200 to $1,000. Contestants submit entries that are unique, not available commercially, and demonstrate physics principles in a creative way. Sampere and SU associate professor of physics Alan Middleton were selected as winners in 2000 for their “Color Mixing Via Polarization” demonstration. Contest entries will be on display in the Underground in the Hildegarde and J. Myer Schine Student Center July 24-26.
Also on display in the Underground will be entries from a high school photo contest in which students submitted original photographs accompanied with a brief essay that illustrates physics principles. AAPT conference attendees will vote to select winners. The photos will be available for viewing July 24 and 25 from 7:30 a.m.-10 p.m. and July 26 from 7:30 a.m.-2 p.m. For more information, visit http://aapt.org/Contests/photoentry.cfm.
The Physics Education Research Conference (PERC) will run from July 26-27. The conference provides an opportunity for physics educators and researchers to share their research, obtain feedback, explore diverse perspectives, and discuss issues relevant to the community. This year’s theme is “Discipline-based Education Research in Other STEM Disciplines.”
Established in 1930, AAPT’s mission is to ensure the dissemination of knowledge of physics, particularly by way of teaching. The association has more than 11,000 members in 30 countries and holds annual meetings in the summer and winter.
For more information on AAPT conference events, contact Sampere at 443-5999 or visit http://aapt.org/Events/SM2006/index.cfm.