FEd August 1995 Newsletter - Browsing Through the Journals

August 1995



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Browsing Through the Journals

Tom Rossing

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.