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TheoryNet Meeting Minutes. May 16, 2015

TheoryNet Meeting Minutes

May 16, 2015


Rick Dower, Roxbury Latin School

Matthew Headrick, Brandeis University

Mike Wadness, Medford HS

Brent Nelson, Northeastern University

Michael Hirsh, Needham HS

Ken Olum, Tufts University

Adam Iaizzi, Boston University

Nick Nicastro, Wachusett Regional HS

Russell Sears, Cohassett HS (new participant)

Not Present:

Tomasz Taylor, Northeastern U.

Jesse Thaler, MIT

Richard Levergood, Londonderry HS

Per Berglund, U. of New Hampshire

Nivedi Das, Sharon HS

Nancy Najmi, Reading Memorial HS

Noreen Scarpitto, Reading Memorial HS

Ann Kaiser, La Salle Academy

Brandon Murakami, Rhode Island College

Chris Siren, Groton-Dunstable Regional HS

Scott Goelzer, Coe-Brown Northwood Academy

Elaine Picard, Concord-Carlisle HS

John Samperisi, Monadnock HS

Daniel Jefferis, Harvard

Agenda Items:

1) Introductions: We welcomed a new participant, Russell (Russ) Sears from Cohassett HS.

2) New faculty for 2016: In the Boston area, B.U., MIT, Northeastern, and Tufts are all hiring new junior faculty to begin in the fall term of 2016. We will reach out to these new hires (and to other recent hires who are not yet participants) and invite them to our fall meeting in September. 

3) Classroom visits

Ken Olum/Concord-Carlisle: Ken’s visit centered on cosmology and the recent BICEP2 results.

Matt Headrick/Roxbury Latin: Matt visited on May 19 (a few days after the meeting). He spent the day with three physics sections. In the first section, which he had not seen at his earlier visit in January, he talked about the career path and daily routine of a theoretical physicist. In the other two sections, after showing videos from a blog post about his work at Brandeis, he talked about his current interests in quantum gravity and entanglement. There was Q & A in all sections and appreciative interest all around.

Tom Taylor/Cohassett HS: Tom’s visit was mostly of the Q&A type.

Daniel Jefferis/Needham HS: Daniel ga ve a talk entitled “What is an Electron?”, based on a Minute Physics piece which involved some elements of quantum field theory. This lead to an interactive Q&A session.

Jesse Thaler/Medford HS: Jesse will visit for a second time in early June to discuss particle physics.

4) Purchasing new equipment: After some discussion, the group decided on a priority list for how to dispose of our equipment budget for new demonstration items. The ranking of priorities is as follows: (1) Dry ice-less cloud chamber, (2) Cavendish experiment (Pasco), (3) General purpose microwave apparatus (Pasco, capable of doing Michelson interferometry), (4) Michelson interferometer (Lambda Scientific). We will try to make these purchases as soon as possible this summer.

5) Next meeting: Our fall meeting will be Saturday, September 26. At that meeting we will establish and update school visit pairings, as needed.

Brent Nelson
Associate Professor
Department of Physics
Northeastern University
110 Forsyth Street
111 Dana Research Center
Boston, MA 02115