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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 John Wardle, 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 Fraden, a "soft" condensed matter experimentalist working on complex fluids (fluids with 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 actually done. It'll have to involve experimentalists or observational astronomers since
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.


Albion Lawrence
Dept. of Physics, Brandeis University
albion brandeis edu