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minutes of April 9, 2005 Physics TheoryNet meeting

Physics TheoryNet meeting, 09 Apr 2005, Room 218 DA, Northeastern 

minutes/action items:


Participating Teachers:

 Rick Dower, Roxbury Latin School, rick dower roxburylatin org
 Jesus Hernandez, Lawrence H.S.,  jeh33 hotmail com
 Farhad Riahi, Commonwealth School, Boston, friahi commschool org
 Mike Wadness, Medford H.S., mjwadness verizon net

Participating Theorists:

 Emanuel (Ami) Katz, Boston University
 Amihay Hanany, MIT, hanany mit edu
 Albion Lawrence, Brandeis, albion brandeis edu
 Ken Olum, Tufts, kdo cosmos phy tufts edu
 Tomasz Taylor, Northeastern, taylor neu edu


 Fred Cooper, National Science Foundation Program Director, fcooper nsf gov
 Scott Carlsson, Gloucester H.S., carlsson massed net (well, these are not 
regrets: congratulations on your baby girl!)
 Hong Liu, MIT, hong_liu mit edu
 Ken Rideout, Swampscott H.S., rideoutken hotmail com

 1. It was the first meeting for the new TheoryNet physicist, Ami Katz, so 
went through the introduction ritual once again. Ami is getting settled at 
and is in process of arranging his visits to Needham H.S.

 2. Reports on the visits. Ken Olum visited a 6th grade middle school 
class in 
Sharon and talked about time travel. Ken is very concerned by the 
Commonwealth's strict enforcement of the curriculum which leaves very 
space for extracurricular in-class activities. Mike Wadness reported on 
Liu's three visits to the Medford H.S. In addition to praising Hong's 
presentations, he said that his students were very curious about 
activities of a research scientist, about curiosity, passion and 
determination to become a scientist, so the visits provided a great 
opportunity to see a theoretical physicist in person, and to demystify the
mad scientist/white lapcoat myth. Rick Dower talked about Tom's visit, 
reported in a separate posting. Jesus Hernandez described Alan Everett's 
(Tufts) visits to Lawrence H.S., and talked about Alan's 3-part 
on time travel (this subject really hits the spot!) We are looking forward 
meeting Alan in person at the next meeting. Finally, Albion Lawrence 
about his first visit this year to Gloucester H.S. Three pairs: 
Hanany-Rideout, Tegmark-Riahi and Katz-Hirsh, are still in process of 
arranging their spring visits.

3. Darien Wood showed up with an update on the money left in the budget 
has kindly agreed to process the overdue teachers' stipends.

4. An interesting discussion incurred on the controversy surrounding the 
"landscape" scenario and the use of anthropic arguments. Ami explained his 
breakthrough April Fool's paper on super-split supersymmetry.

 5. As a result of a brief discussion we arrived at the following answers 
the questions posed after last meeting:
 Q:- does it make sense to grow? are there more teachers interested?
 A: Yes. Teachers can be recruited by using Quarknet resources as well as 
 networking via teacher's meetings, mailing lists etc.
 Q: if yes, theorists would have to cross party lines and involve other
   research fields?
 A: For the moment, we can stick to high-energy -- cosmology -- 
folks, recruit newcomers and maybe expand in the southward (Rhode Island) 

We agreed to recruit 2 more pairs before the Fall meeting. As soon as we 
new participants, we will announce it on the mailing list.

 Q: - should we involve graduate students? if yes, how?
 A: Yes, students can be used as "role-models" and have fresher memories 
their motivation for studying physics and making a choice of becoming a 
professional scientist. Theorists expressed their disappointment with 
scant support of graduate students and expressed their hopes that 
outreach activities can provide another good argument for RA's etc. We 
experiment with a teacher-physicists-student arrangement.

 Q - are there more financial resources needed?
 A: moderate: LCD projectors for new teachers participants, maybe some 
up-to-date laptops for theorists with obsolete presentation equipment, 
upgrading the cloud chamber, perhaps some new demos, plus the usual 
stipends and eventual travel expenses

6. We agreed that the best time for the next meeting is in early October. 
Let's use Saturday, OCTOBER 15, 2005 as the preliminary date.

7. Other logistics

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