Browsing Through the Journals
In the April issue of The Physics Teacher is an anecdotal article
about salt fountains by Arnold Arons. It illustrates, according to
the author, "that classical physics is not devoid of opportunities
for discovery of new and interesting phenomena." In the same issue
is a thought-provoking editorial about precision, error analysis and
science standards by Cliff Swartz. These are two master teachers from
whom many of us have learned so much about teaching physics.
Making physics attractive to women requires positive measures and
a change in culture, Paul Slattery and Priscilla Auchincloss remind
us in an article "A climate and culture for women" in the March issue
of Physics World. Recognizing that research experience often correlates
strongly with college students' long-term retention in science, the
authors established a Research Experience for Undergraduates program
that achieved its goal of 50% participation by women and minority students.
The Education Exchange column in the MRS Bulletin (Materials Research
Society) highlights the experiences of scientists and engineers with
local schools, along with helpful hints and resources. In the April
issue, Douglas Ivey described demonstration experiments with high-temperature
superconductors, nylon, and molten tin, among other things.
A thought-provoking editorial by Neal F. Lane, Director of the National
Science Foundation appears in the April issue of American Journal of
Physics. In the 50th anniversary year of Vannevar Bush's treatise Science:
The Endless Frontier, it is appropriate to note how well Federal government
is contributing to "promoting the flow of new scientific knowledge
and the development of scientific talent in our youth." One criticism
of the current system, he points out, is a perceived lack of connection
between research and undergraduate education. The author observes,
however, that many of our most distinguished researchers are also among
the most outstanding teachers of undergraduate and well as graduate
students, both in their classrooms and research laboratories.