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Meetings  
2011 American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) Winter Meeting
by Sam Cohen and Adam Moyer, SPS Reporters, Grove City College [an error occurred while processing this directive]

Meeting attendees and contributors share research findings at the student poster session. Meeting attendees and contributors share research findings at the student poster session.
Photo by Adam Moyer
 
   
(L-R) The author, with SPS Director Gary White, 2010 Outstanding Chapter Advisor DJ Wagner and fellow Grove City College student Adam Moyer. Left to right: The author, with SPS Director Gary White, 2010 Outstanding Chapter Advisor DJ Wagner and fellow Grove City College student Adam Moyer.
Photo by Lydia Quijada, AIP
 
   
Students discover how to build a circuit at Angelo State’s outreach session. Students discover how to build a circuit at Angelo State’s outreach session. Photo by Adam Moyer  

The rain and chilly weather failed to dampen spirits as physics teachers from across the nation gathered to attend the AAPT Winter Meeting in Jacksonville, FL this past January. A conglomeration of physics professors, high school teachers, graduate students, researchers, and even undergraduate students attended to share their ideas, and hopefully pick up one or two new ones.

Keynote speakers included Fred Dylla, who gave an address on Ernest Rutherford and the accelerator, as well as Nancy Mendenhall who spoke on the topic of proton therapy. Michael Lach and Stephen Pruitt also provided a symposium on Physics Education. Research presentation topics ranged from gender differences in education to the use of technology in the classroom.

Great conversation was initiated Monday and Tuesday nights as contributors presented research posters, and Sunday evening gave undergraduate members of SPS the chance to present their research. The young physicists’ meet-and-greet also gave new AAPT members a chance to network and learn about the workings of the association.

Meeting attendees were enthralled by Susan Marie Frontezak’s outstanding theatrical performance as Marie Curie. Frontezak gave the audience a look at Curie’s life and experience as she worked with radiation. This blast from the past helped attendees to recognize the trials and tribulation that Marie Curie endured while she continued her admirable dedication to her research and goals. Susan also gave a shortened version of her performance to some local middle school students as part of a science outreach event.

An AAPT meeting would not be complete without some form of outreach to the community. Students from Angelo State University’s SPS chapter and a few others worked with AAPT to pull together an outreach session where students from Jacksonville area schools could join in the fun of learning physics. Four different stations were set up to give the students hands on experience with topics such as inertia, polarization, electric circuits, and diffraction. After visiting all of the stations, students enjoyed a pizza party and a presentation involving high powered lasers and tesla coils.

The meeting also included a number of awards ceremonies. AAPT presented the Oersted Medal to UC Berkeley’s James Rutherford and the Richtmyer Memorial award to Stanford’s Kathryn Moler. AAPT also presented Distinguished Service Citations to recipients Dwain Desbian, Jane Nelson, Gordon, Ramsey, and Sam Sampere.  SPS presented their highest award, Outstanding Chapter Advisor, to DJ Wagner from Grove City College.

All in all, the workshops, research talks, and plenary sessions provided many opportunities to learn about new ideas and collaborate with others who are excited to prepare the next generation of physicists. This AAPT meeting served as an apt celebration of the past 100 years of nuclear physics as today’s students will be entering a workplace in which this field will be of utmost importance in both research and public policy.

About The Author

Sam Cohen, Grove City CollegeSam Cohen is a senior at Grove City College, Grove City, PA, majoring in Physics/General Science Secondary Education. He is currently finishing his student teaching assignment at Mercer High School in Mercer, PA. Over the past 4 years he has worked with Dr. DJ Wagner on research in physics education. More specifically, he has been working to create an FCI style fluids diagnostic assessment. Over the past 3 summers, he has been teaching for Johnís Hopkins Center for Talented Youth at the Stanford University site in Palo Alto, CA. In the summer of 2011, he will be the Instructor of the Science and Engineering course at the same site location. After graduation, he looks forward to becoming a high school science teacher.

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SPS national sends student reporters to most major AIP Member Society meetings, where they are treated like other members of the press. Many ambitious student reporters succeed in securing interviews with society leadership and prominent invited speakers on such occasions.

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