APS News

May 2011 (Volume 20, Number 5)

The Education Corner

 Physics Education Funding and the Federal Budget
As details emerge about the bill that will fund the government for the rest of Fiscal Year 2011, it appears programs affecting science education have largely emerged unscathed. The budget of the National Science Foundation’s Education and Human Resources (EHR) directorate, which administers a number of science education programs, lost only $10 million relative to FY2010, although its allocation is $29 million less than the Obama administration’s FY2011 request. EHR’s total FY2010 budget was $872.76 million.

The Obama administration’s proposed FY2012 budget, released a few weeks ago, lays out some significant changes for science education programs. Within EHR, programs affecting undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral students would receive a substantial increase, whereas those affecting K-12 students would see a significant decrease. One new program to keep an eye on is “Teacher Learning for the Future (TLF),” to be funded at $20 million, which plans to “provide R&D awards to further understanding of the preparation and continuing education of STEM [Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics] teachers,” according to the directorate’s budget document. Of course, it remains to be seen how much of the President’s vision will make it into the budget that Congress eventually passes.

Committee On Education Departmental Award
The APS Committee on Education has established a new award to recognize departments and programs that support best practices in education at the undergraduate level. Programs will be recognized for a three-year term, acknowledged on the APS website, awarded a plaque, announced in APS News, and recognized at an annual meeting. These awards are intended to acknowledge commitment to inclusive, high-quality physics education for undergraduate students, and to catalyze departments and programs to make significant improvements. APS will recognize one to three programs and departments each year. Nominations for the award are being accepted until July 15.
Gray arrow  Award for Improving Undergraduate Physics Education

APS Excellence in Physics Education Award
Nominations for the are being accepted until July 1.
Gray arrow  Excellence in Physics Education Award

PhysTEC Conference
The 2011 Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC) Conference will be held on May 23-24, 2011 in Austin, Texas, with the theme of Sustainability for Teacher Education Programs. The conference will feature plenary speakers Carl Wieman, Associate Director for Science at the US Office of Science and Technology Policy and a Nobel Laureate in Physics, and Eugene Levy, Professor of Astrophysics and former Provost at Rice University. The conference will be held jointly with the annual conference of The UTeach Institute, which is a national program to educate more math and science teachers.

M. Hildred Blewett Fellowship
APS is now accepting applications for the M. Hildred Blewett Fellowship (formerly the Blewett Scholarship). This award is intended to enable women to resume physics research careers after an interruption. The deadline to apply is June 3, 2011.
Gray arrow  M. Hildred Blewett Fellowship

AAPT Summer Meeting
The American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) will be having its annual summer meeting in Omaha, Nebraska from July 30 to August 3, 2011. This meeting features sessions and workshops on a wide variety of physics education topics, and typically draws over 1,000 physics educators from universities, K-12 schools, and other institutions. The theme of this summer’s meeting will be “Communicating Physics Outside the Classroom.”
Gray arrow  2011 AAPT Summer Meeting

ALPhA to Offer “Laboratory Immersions”
During the summer of 2011, the Advanced Laboratory Physics Association (ALPhA) will be offering its second slate of “Laboratory Immersions.” ALPhA’s Laboratory Immersions offer an opportunity for participants to spend two to three days learning the details of a single experiment well enough to teach it with confidence. The 2011 Immersions will take place during July and August at a number of institutions around the country.
Gray arrow  Advanced Laboratory Physics Association

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Editor: Alan Chodos

May 2011 (Volume 20, Number 5)

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Articles in this Issue
Promise Lies Ahead for Superconductivity After 100 Years
Fukushima Disaster Alters Dialogue at Nuclear Session
March Meeting Teems with Graphene Talks
New Awards Issue a Call for Nominations
APS Website Hosts Ethics Training Materials
Materials Physicists Attracted to Spider Webs
Spice Ingredient Touted as Explosive Detector
Physics Sheds Light on Cancer and Bacteria Evolution
Letters to the Editor
The Back Page
Members in the Media
This Month in Physics History
The Education Corner
Inside the Beltway
Zero Gravity: The Lighter Side of Science
Profiles in Versatility