BROWSING THROUGH THE JOURNALS
The May 1993 issue of American Journal of Physics carries a Guest
Comment by Chair-Elect Ruth Howes and Chair Ken Lyons that no FEd member
should overlook. The title is "Why the APS must concern itself with
One can learn much from reading an exchange of letters to the editor,
especially when the writers are experienced teachers. One example is
the dialogue on cross products and magnetic poles, which began with
a letter by Professor Marcel Wellner in American Journal of Physics,
60, 777 (1992). This letter prompted an editorial by the journal's
editor, Robert Romer (Am. J. Phys. 61, 1095 (1993)) and follow-up letters
by Wellner, Andrea Respini, and Morris Leen (Am. J. Phys. 62, 393 (1994)).
A second series, having to do with the voltage distribution and electric
fields of capacitors connected in series, began with a paper by Professor
Ludwik Kowalski in The Physics Teacher, 26, 286-7 (1988) and continued
in a paper at the Summer 1992 AAPT meeting. A response by Professor
A.P. French (Phys. Teach. 31, 156-159) led to a paper by Professors
Illman and Carlson (Phys. Teach. 32, 77-80 (1994)) and a letter by
Professor French (Phys. Teach. 32, 262 (1994)). Anyone interested in
the teaching of Electricity and Magnetism will profit from reading
both of these exchanges.
Another example of involvement by the local scientific community
is described in "Community Involvement in a Science Program" (Phys.
Teach. 32, 288-9 (1994)). The interaction took place in Hawaii, but
it could just as well have been your community.
The May 1994 issue of Physics Education (London) features several
papers on teaching optics and laser physics, including such timely
topics as digital-optical computing and microlens arrays. Also in this
issue is a report on a physics awareness workshop for girls.
"Teaching Science by Seminar" is the title of an editorial by Professor
George Greenstein in the May 1994 issue of Physics Today. Rather than
make great claims for the `new' compared to the `old', as is so prevalent
in the literature these days, Professor Greenstein discusses the difficulties
as well as the advantages of instruction in seminars.