Web Watch

Web WatchCarl E. Mungan

  • My favorite physics blog is "Built on Facts" written by graduate student Matt Springer at Texas A&M. I like it because I share the author's interest in statistical mechanics, mathematical physics, and science fiction. It helps too that his posts are only a few paragraphs long, stick to a single topic at a time, and occur about 5 times a week. (Who has time for rambling posts several times a day?)

  • I also highly recommend the News & Advice columns and the blogs of the Chronicle of Higher Education. I make it a point to read them once a week, typically on Fridays. They are loaded with excellent commentary and opinions about all topics academic.

  • Speaking of Fridays, that's the day that the weekly issue of Bob Park's column "What's New" comes out. (You can subscribe at http://bobpark.physics.umd.edu/.) Always provocative and often humorous, it usually consists of about 5 news items at the intersection of science and politics that I don't hear about anywhere else. Not recommended for the thin-skinned.

  • While none of us wants to subscribe to too many email listservers (you do have a life beyond the internet, don't you?) I strongly recommend the PHYS-L digest (make sure you sign up for the digest version, unless you want to receive 20 or more individual postings per day). It's a good source for asking about and discussing issues related to physics teaching. For academics in general, two other excellent resources are Tomorrow's Professor and The Irascible Professor, each of which emails out articles a couple of times of week related to the life of a professor.

  • A good site for readable summaries of recent scientific research can be found at Spotlight, which highlights important new articles in APS's physics journals.

  • Did you know you can solve indefinite integrals online at http://integrals.wolfram.com/ using Mathematica?

  • Useful online columns in The Physics Teacher include the monthly Physics Challenge and Fermi Questions, as well as Figuring Physics (archived as Next-Time Questions). Note that there's an underscore after "past" and "CP" in the preceding three URLs.

  • Project Galileo at Harvard is a repository of materials based on Peer Instruction and Just-in-Time Teaching. A broader collection of online resources supporting teaching and learning in physics and astronomy is comPADRE.

  • You have signed up for free Educator Access to Cramster, haven't you? Many of your students are probably paying $9.95/month to get access to detailed solutions to textbook problems at this site. Have you looked to see what they can see?

  • Finally, there are some great physics movies on the web (other than on YouTube). Try the classic "Frame of Reference" (those are underscores before and after "of" in the URL), the complete 52-program set of "The Mechanical Universe and Beyond", and "The Video Encyclopedia of Physics Demonstrations".

Carl Mungan is a member of the physics faculty at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, MD.

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 APS.