As Guest Editor for this Newsletter of the APS Forum in Education, I am pleased that the theme of this issue is a particularly important and exciting form of physics education outreach.
For the Physics on the Road Conference in February, all roads led to Fort Collins Colorado. On the first day, fifty-five participants from 38 universities attended the annual open house of the highly regarded outreach program from Colorado State University, The Little Shop of Physics. That day, over 2,000 students, children, and parents strolled through the Little Shop of Physics, which was held in two huge ballrooms containing 150 physics displays. A staff of 20 CSU science majors helped with setting up, maintaining and explaining the exhibits.
The conference, on the next day, brought together physics faculty who are experienced in designing and providing year-round mobile physics displays and those who are interested in initiating similar outreach programs. Sessions were devoted to demonstrating, promoting, and disseminating the many approaches to traveling physics experiments using interactive exhibits and mobile demonstration shows. The next day, the conference began with Doug Osheroff from Stanford University giving an excellent keynote presentation on how a traveling science show was, for him, a defining moment in his career. Afterwards, the participants held panels, discussions, workshops and poster sessions and met in small groups to talk shop.
This newsletter is dedicated to those physicists who take demos and hands-on exhibits on the road to students of all ages in small rural towns, inner-city schools, and foreign countries. In addition, it relates the stories of those hard working and often insufficiently recognized physicists who prepare demonstrations on a daily basis for college and university physics students in order to engage, motivate, and excite them.
For more information on the participants and the conference, contact:
Fredrick M. Stein
Director of Education and Outreach
American Physical Society
One Physics Ellipse
College Park, MD 20740-3844
(301) 209-0865 fax