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Autumn visit to Brandeis by Scott Carlson's class
Hi all --
I completely spaced out about the meeting 2 weeks ago (I planned to
go but was busy with a calculation and it slipped my mind.)
Nonetheless, I did have something to report, as Scott Carlson's AP
Physics class came down from Gloucester.
At Scott's suggestion I arranged a half-day visit to Brandeis for his
AP physics class. Scott can better report how his kids liked it
afterwards (and what
the other two profs involved actually did in detail), but
my impression was that this was a success and more generally a good
thing to do.
The visit was about a half day. In the morning they first met with
one of our astrophysics professors, who showed them the telescope on
top of our building
and talked to them a good deal afterwards. They then met with Seth
a "soft" condensed matter experimentalist working on complex fluids
macromolecules in suspension). After lunch on campus, they met with
me and I fielded (some very good)
questions about string theory and cosmology, since they had all
watched the video of Brian Greene's NOVA show "The Elegant Universe".
We had also planned to have the students meet with one or two members
of the high energy
experiment group (specifically, the part off the group working at
ATLAS); both people
had last-minute personal obligations come up (these were genuine, it
was just bad luck).
While TV shows like Brian's, and the visits by faculty that we do,
are certainly useful,
I think there's real value in bringing students into the physics
department, to see the
*breadth* of physics research that's done, as well as how its
It'll have to involve experimentalists or observational astronomers
a particle theorists's office is usually pretty boring.
I think the visit with Seth was a particularly pleasant surprise.
Such a visit doesn't
have to be (and maybe shouldn't be) a huge production: just meeting
with a few people
and leaving lots of time for questions should do the trick.
Dept. of Physics, Brandeis University
albion brandeis edu