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Minutes of September 24, 2011 Physics Theorynet meeting

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Physics Theorynet meeting, September 24, 2011
Room 218 DA, Northeastern University, Boston




Rick Dower, Roxbury Latin School
Don Fries, Community School, Tamworth, NH
Scott Goelzer, Coe-Brown Northwood Academy, NH
Michael Hirsh, Needham H.S.
John Jannetti, Andover H.S.
Ann Kaiser, La Salle Academy RI
Richard Levergood, Londonderry High School, NH
Nancy Najmi, Reading Memorial H.S.
Chris Siren, Groton-Dunstable Regional H.S.
Timothy Stamnitz, Monadnock High School, NH
Mike Wadness, Medford H.S.
Matthew Headrick, Brandeis University
Brandon Murakami, Rhode Island College
Ken Olum, Tufts University
Tomasz Taylor, Northeastern University
Xi Yin, Harvard University


Brent Nelson, Northeastern University
Nick Nicastro, Wachusett Regional H.S.
Noreen Scarpitto, Reading Memorial H.S.
Nivedi Das, Sharon H.S.
Albion Lawrence, Brandeis University
Jesse Thaler, MIT
Allan Adams, MIT
Jose Juan Blanco-Pillado, Tufts University
Per Berglund, University of New Hampshire


A. (Re)Introductions
We welcome Rich Levergood from Londonderry H.S. in New Hampshire. The 
minute-taker (T.T.) was reintroduced after an extended sabbatical leave, 
ready to help Brent with organizing meetings and coordinating Theorynet's 

B. Spring 2011 school visits 
Several school visits took place as planned, but the minute-taker was 
still warming up his old-fashioned pen, so he has no detailed notes, but 
an overall impression that the business was running as usual or even 
better than usual.

C. Theorynet Evaluation
We will be submitting a proposal for the renewal of the NSF grant in the 
Fall of 2012 (it's the outreach part of Northeastern's high energy theory 
group grant). Just as a reminder, the present grant covers teachers' 
stipends, travel expenses, equipment (overhead projectors for 
participating schools, physics demonstration equipment described in the 
minutes of past meetings etc), advertising costs (flyers, posters), 
coffee, donuts etc. From our experience with other proposals (submitted 
with Per and Ken), it is clear the the reviewers will be concerned with 
the "effectiveness" of our activities. So far we have been very casual in 
this matter, but now we need to keep track of:
1) the number of classes/students reached in each visit
2) students' and teachers' feedback
3) record the use of demonstration equipment
Since teachers are  more organized, they will collect and store this 
information. Michael H. offered to prepare a standardized form for the  
records. Scott G.  promised to send a link to a project completed by of 
one of his students using the Milikan apparatus, and we are looking 
forward to more such projects. Later in the Spring, we will collect all 
records and ask teachers to write letters describing the benefits of 
participating in the program.

D. Discussion
  * New Hampshire: we have 4 schools participating at the Northern 
frontier, but only one physicist, Per Berglund based there. After the 
meeting, T.T. contacted Marcelo Gleiser at Dartmouth College asking if he 
or some of his colleagues are interested. We are waiting for his response.
   * Rhode Island: Brandon M. talked to Anastasia Volovich and Marcus 
Spradlin at Brown U. who are interested in participating. We agreed that 
the best way to get them going is to contact some high schools in 
Providence:  Brandon and Ann K. will talk to some local teachers.
   *Southern Massachusetts. A name of a teacher in Brockton came up as a 
potential participant who could be paired with some faculty at Bridgewater 
State U. Please send his name and email to T.T. who will follow up.
   * Postdoc participation: There are no new faculty hires in Boston this 
year, but some excellent postdocs are moving in. Several names were 
mentioned. After the meeting, T.T. contacted Lara Anderson at Harvard. 
Indeed, she has already visited some high schools in the U.K., and is 
enthusiastic about getting involved in outreach activities. She will be 
paired with Nancy and Noreen in Reading.

E. Pairings

Nivedi Das  --        Ken Olum

Rick Dower --        Xi Yin

Don Fries  --          Per Berglund

Scott Goelzer --      Per Berglund

Michael Hirsh --      Jesse Thaler

John Jannetti --       Brent Nelson

Ann Kaiser  --         Brandon Murakami

Richard Levergood --  Tomasz Taylor

Nancy Najmi / 
Noreen Scarpitto --    Lara Anderson

Nick Nicastro --        Albion Lawrence

Chris Siren --          Matthew Headrick

Timothy Stamnitz --   t.b.a. from Dartmouth C or U. Mass Amherst

Mike Wadness --       Jose Juan Blanco-Pillado


F. Next meeting: January 21, 2012

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