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Joss Ives, University of the Fraser Valley (British Columbia, Canada)
This past October, a special session on Upper-year Lab Instruction was held at the Annual Meeting of the Northwest Section of the APS. With the excitement of the 2012 Conference on Laboratory Instruction Beyond the First Year of College (BFY) still fresh in my mind, I approached the section meeting organizers with the idea of putting on a session to serve the upper-division laboratory instruction community in a regional setting. To my delight, they supported the idea and a very successful session resulted.
Last minute cancellations took the invited speaker count from five down to three, but the talks we did have were excellent, and those in attendance indicated to me that they thoroughly enjoyed the session. First, Nancy Forde described a senior undergraduate lab course in Biological Physics at Simon Fraser University which teaches the students biophysical techniques as well as basic molecular and cell biology. Next, Georg Rieger discussed an advanced lab course at the University of British Columbia which places heavy emphasis on communication skills and has been organized to recreate, on a smaller scale, the experience of a graduate student in a research group. The final talk came from Erik Sanchez where he outlined his Advanced Experimental Class which includes in its offerings labs involving Plasmonics, thin film deposition and scanning probe microscopy. After the talks there was a scheduled discussion period in which all the speakers and session attendees participated.
The Chicago Section of the AAPT plans to follow Joss’ lead at our Fall 2013 meeting. ALPhA, the organizer of last summer’s BFY (Beyond the First Year) Lab Conference, hopes to that others will have special Advanced Lab sessions at their local section meetings. Feel free to contact a member of the ALPhA board if you need advice, or would like to make a presentation or workshop at a local APS or AAPT section meeting (www.advlab.org).
Disclaimer–The articles and opinion pieces found in this issue of the APS Forum on Education Newsletter are not peer refereed and represent solely the views of the authors and not necessarily the views of the APS.