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minutes of June 6, 2009 Physics Theorynet meeting

Physics Theorynet meeting, June 6, 2009
Room 218 DA, Northeastern University, Boston

minutes/action items:


Participating Teachers:

Rick Dower, Roxbury Latin School
Scott Goelzer, Coe-Brown Northwood Academy
Jesus Hernandez, Lawrence H.S.
Michael Hirsh, Needham H.S.
Ann Kaiser, La Salle Academy, Providence
Nancy Najmi, Reading Memorial H.S.
Nick Nicastro, Wachusett Regional H.S.
Farhad Riahi, Commonwealth School of Boston
Chris Siren, Groton-Dunstable Regional H.S.
Chris Thomas, Reading Memorial H.S
Mike Wadness, Medford H.S.

Participating Theorists:

Per Berglund, University of New Hampshire
Brandon Murakami, Rhode Island College
Ken Olum, Tufts
Tomasz Taylor, Northeastern
Xi Yin, Harvard


Allan Adams, MIT
Jose Juan Blanco-Pillado, Tufts
Albion Lawrence, Brandeis
Brent Nelson, Northeastern

1. (Re)introductions:
We were very pleased to meet two new teachers: Ann  Kaiser from La Salle Academy in Providence, RI and Chris Siren from Groton-Dunstable Regional H.S. Ann is already working with Brandon Murakami. Chris Siren will work with Allan Adams from MIT who expressed interest in joining the group.

2.  Update on high-school visits since last meeting in January 2009:
Most visits went as planned. A particularly interesting one was Brandon's visit to La Salle Academy, where he advertised "career opportunities" in physics, emphasizing "free" graduate programs with students supported by TAs and RAs. Ken finally made it to Farhad's classes, bringing bad news about the impossibility of time travel and fending off some magnetic monopole questions. Tom used our brand-new e/m apparatus in  Reading H.S. -- presented as an "electron mini-accelerator", where electrons are shot from the electron gun and circle in a uniform magnetic field.
3. Advertising:
We held a table and gave 2 parallel talks (Brent and Per) at Northeastern's 2009 NES AAPT/APS Spring Meeting on May 8-9, 2009. It paid off because we have new participants as well as enquiries from as far as Vermont, see below. Per's talk was in one session with MIT-LIGO's outreach talk by Gregg Harry -- so we agreed that it may be worth pursuing some joint outreach projets with "Einstein's Waves" experiments. We have a poster  that can be used to set up a similar "Physics Theorynet Table" at the forthcoming Fall meeting at UNH, Durham.
At this point, we are ready to present a plenary talk in the education/outreach session (Per will check it out).
4. Website: Jesus' student is working on it -- hopefully we can get it running before the end of school year.

5. Equipment: We agreed to purchase a Millikan's oil-drop apparatus to measure e, complementary to e/m. To make a powerful class-wide demonstration, we ordered Video Flex 7600 Projection Microscope that can be used to follow drops on a computer display or screen. Many thanks to Scott Goelzer who is working on a case for e/m apparatus, already v.2 due to Tom's measurement inaccuracies.

6. GK-12 Proposal. We have a letter of intent submitted and we are in process of preparing a proposal for a Brandeis- UNH- Tufts- Northeastern GK-12 grant, with Tufts as the leading institution (Ken Olum, PI; Per Berglund, Albion Lawrence, Tom Taylor Co-PIs). It looks that such an inter-instututional grant makes sense, with Tufts having a necesssary administrative infrastructure from a prior engineering GK-12, an with our group having almost 6 years of experience.

7. Expansion: Scott Pennington who teaches at Essex High School in Essex Junction, Vermont expressed interest in participating. Ken Olum has already contacted him with a colleague at Middlebury College. We will se how it works. In December, we had an enquiry from Gary Bent who teaches in Mansfield H.S. in CT, so we will try to contact U.C. Storrs in the Fall.
8. Pairings: Allan Adams will start collaboratiing with Chris Siren. Other pairings will remain unchanged for the next school year.

9. The next meeting is (tentatively) scheduled for September 26 or October 3, 2009.

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