From the Chair

Tim Stelzer, University of Illinois - Urbana

The hassle of booking airline tickets and hotel rooms for the upcoming conferences leaves me wondering if one can really justify the time and expense of attending these meetings in person, especially given the advances in video conferencing technology. However, in my own experience, there is no substitute for face-to-face meetings, and afterwards I am always happy that I chose to attend. Often it is a talk that I just happened into, or an unexpected conversation that began at a break between sessions that makes being there truly worthwhile. For amusement, I just did a quick calculation comparing the visual information available when you are physically at a presentation with viewing it online. Even with our high-definition megapixel displays, there is about 1000 times more visual information available when you are there in person. It really is a different experience.

It may seem premature to be planning for your spring conferences but April is coming early this year. In particular, the APS April Meeting 2017 will be held, January 28 - 31, in Washington D.C. We hope that being located in the capital in January will make the meeting accessible to our regular attendees as well as encourage new participation. Chair-Elect John Stewart and his program committee have assembled an outstanding set of invited sessions ranging from teacher preparation, to online communities supporting physics education, to using 21st-century physics, to educating 21st-century students.

The Forum on Education will again sponsor a diversity reception on Sunday night. It is an excellent opportunity to socialize, enjoy some complimentary beverages and hors d’oeuvres, and recognize our new Fellows and award winners. These include this year’s Excellence in Physics Education award and the award for Improving Undergraduate Physics Education. I encourage you to consider nominating your department for the award for improving undergraduate physics education, or your colleagues for the Excellence in Physics Education Award. You can find more details on the award on our website.

The March Meeting 2017 is staying true to its name, and will be held in New Orleans, March 13 - 17. In addition to the Reichert Award session John and his colleagues have organized invited sessions that include Preparing for a Job in Physics, Preparing Students for 21st Century Careers, and a “New Faculty Workshop in Three Hours”.

There is no denying the extra cost and effort required to attend these meetings in person, but I encourage you to make that effort. I’m sure, that like me, you will be happy you did.

Tim Stelzer

Tim Stelzer is Chair of the Forum on Education. He is a Professor of Physics at the University of Illinois, Urbana.

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.