APS News

Forum on Education Launches Two Initiatives

APS Forum on Education has recently announced two initiatives to encourage APS units to be involved in physics education and outreach.

First, the FEd will make available grants of up to $500 for APS units and sections to actively engage in physics education and to address issues concerning the preparation of K-12 teachers.

The FEd is prepared to receive brief proposals from APS members for unit-sponsored activities to be held at unit and section meetings and at National APS meetings. Joint activities with American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) sections are encouraged.

The activity could be a session or workshop for APS members who regularly teach, such as a professional development workshop, or the activity could be aimed at communicating physics to local high school science teachers. The form of the activity is up to the APS unit. "We don't want to be too restrictive," said Wolfgang Christian, chair of the FEd.

While there is no deadline for proposals for these grants, currently available funds will support about eight such proposals per year.

The second initiative allows an APS unit to organize a session, sponsored by the FEd, at a meeting of the AAPT. The FEd will invite units with strong educational programs to give these sessions, said Christian.

In these sessions, the APS unit will present speakers and educational materials to convey the excitement of research in that unit's area of physics.

"We don't want a research session per se, but we do want a physics session," said Christian. "The content of session is truly up to the APS unit," he added.

AAPT membership consists of both high school and college teachers. "These people are very knowledgeable. This is an opportunity to reach some real opinion leaders," said Christian.

The first of these sessions, to be held at the 129th National AAPT Meeting, in Sacramento, July 31- August 4, 2004, will be presented by the Division of Physics of Beams. The DPB Education and Outreach Committee chose speakers who will present a comprehensive picture of different aspects of beam physics and accelerators and their applications to a diverse range of research areas.

The Division of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics (DAMOP) has been invited to organize a session for the 2005 AAPT summer meeting. This initiative should help strengthen ties between APS units and AAPT, said Christian.

Bernard Khoury, executive officer of the AAPT, also believes the initiative will benefit both societies. "This developing arrangement will bring to the AAPT meetings current physics research topics in a format likely to assist physics teachers at many levels." he said.

"AAPT and APS have so many common and overlapping interests that both organizations will benefit from this formal linkage across our meetings. While AAPT and APS no longer sponsor joint national meetings, having APS-sponsored sessions at AAPT adds to our long list of cooperative activities."

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Editor: Alan Chodos
Associate Editor: Jennifer Ouellette