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Minutes, Physics Theorynet meeting, September 16, 2017

Physics Theorynet Meeting, September 16, 2017


Room 218 Dana Building, Northeastern University







Daniel Donovan, Andover H.S.

Scott Goelzer, Coe-Brown Northwood Academy

Jim Halverson, Northeastern University

Matthew Headrick, Brandeis University

Michael Hirsh, Needham H.S.

Nancy Najmi, Reading Memorial H.S.

Ken Olum, Tufts University

Elaine Picard, Concord-Carlisle H.S.

John Samperisi, Monadnock H.S.

Russell Sears, Cohasset H.S.

Chris Siren, Groton-Dunstable Regional HS

Tomasz Taylor, Northeastern University

Mike Wadness, Medford HS



John Jannetti, Andover H.S.

Liam Fitzpatrick, Boston University

Brent Nelson, Northeastern University

Per Berglund, University of New Hampshire

Jesse Thaler, MIT



A. Introductions.


We welcome Dan Donovan who teaches at Andover High School. It is a big high school, with approximately 170 students taking physics this year. All 9th graders take physical science.


B. Visits and Recollections.


Last year was rather slow, with Tom and Per on traditionally synchronized sabbatical leaves. We also had a couple of founding teachers retiring: Rich Dower from Roxbury Latin and Nick Nicastro from Wachusetts Regional. We wish them all the best, hoping that they show up at one of the future meetings to tell us about new chapters of their lives. According to the archive http://cosmos.phy.tufts.edu/mhonarc/physicstheorynet/index.html#00035 maintained by Ken on the iconic cosmos at Tufts, the group met for the first time on Saturday, December 13, 2003. We may be one of the longest operating outreach programs in the world! We are grateful to the National Science Foundation for supporting us, even during lean years.

The reason for organizing this meeting so early in the school year was to set up pairings, explore some new opportunities, and to start school visits as soon as possible.


C. Equipment


We have a self-explanatory google doc spreadsheet with the list of equipment available and contact information. If you are interested in one of demos, please contact the person who is presently in its possession:




In addition, we have here at Northeastern one more diffusion cloud chamber and the photoelectric effect experiment:


It is still in boxes, so we are looking for a volunteer to test it. Please get in touch with Tom or Brent to arrange transfer.


We are also planning to purchase an infrared camera. Please let us know what you think about



D. Pairings


******* CONFIRMED**********

Chris Siren -- Matt Headrick

Mike Hirsh -- Jim Halverson

Nancy Najmi -- Ken Olum

Russ Sears -- Brent Nelson

Elaine Picard -- Jim Halverson

Scott Goelzer -- Per Berglund

Mike Wadness -- Liam Fitzpatrick

Dan Donovan -- Tom Taylor




Russ Sears mentioned schools in Berkshire region that may be interested in our visits. Since it is quite far from Boston, we could try to pair them with junior faculty from U. Mass Amherst -- Jim Halverson will contact them. They could also visit John Samperisi in Monadnock NH which is only 1hr drive from Amherst.

Mike Wadness mentioned schools in Wakefield (and Dedham?) that are potentially interested, so we decided to keep, for the moment, one of our most active and experienced physicists, Jesse Thaler, in reserve for this new venture. We also have several faculty members who are not paired yet, but will ask for help if more schools are interested.

We would like to continue our activity in RI, so we hope that JiJi Fan can reach out to some local schools.



E. Next Meeting will be scheduled for January 2018.



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