Fall 2020 Meeting of NES-AAPT

21 Sep

On behalf of the board of the AAPT-New England Section, we wish to announce the 2020 Fall Meeting to be held remotely (via Zoom) on Saturday, October 31, 2020.  10:00 am to 2:00 pm; workshop(s) from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm

The meeting theme is Improving Physics Instructional Lab Experiences.  We encourage participation from across the span from elementary and secondary education through first-year and beyond the first year (BFY) of college.  We invite all from early-career to experienced to retired, and especially recent or new-to-physics teachers to join us!

Our keynote speaker is: Dr. Natasha Holmes, Cornell University Physics, and we welcome contributed talks.  There will be workshops, including  a PTRA session with information that can be used in a remote-classroom setting, held on Saturday afternoon. 

If you would like to contribute a talk, please use this form:

Or paste this link to contribute.  https://forms.gle/9jyMzMZtrvfoEk2RA


Boston University Improving the Teaching of Physics (ITOP)

19 Aug

The graduate courses offered by Improving the Teaching of Physics (ITOP, https://sites.bu.edu/itop/) are a collaborative effort by the Boston University Department of Physics and BU Wheelock College of Education. The ITOP course sequence consists of ten two-credit graduate level courses that merge physics content with readings from the history of physics, the philosophy of science, and the physics education research literature. The courses are blended in nature. There are seven synchronous meetings (via an online platform) for 3 hours each week and six online assignments.

This Fall we will offer:

CAS NS 540 Force and Motion:  Mondays 4:40 – 7:25 September 14 — October 26

CAS NS 541 Gravitation and Rotational Motion: Mondays 4:40 – 7:25 November 2 — December 14

These courses are intended for:

  • Teachers who are working towards physics licensure
  • Teachers who need graduate credit including for Professional Licensure

Credits: 2 Graduate Credit Hours per course

Synchronous Online Meetings:
Each course meets for 3 hours per week for 7 weeks; Monday 4:40 pm – 7:25 pm

Independent Work: 3 hours per week

The goals of the ITOP courses are:

  • Improve participants’ understanding of fundamental physics principles.
  • Provide participants with practice solving typical physics problems.
  • Increase participants’ understanding of the conceptual history of physics
  • Provide participants with opportunities to distinguish between historical models, and discuss the relationship between data, empirical models, and theory.
  • Increase participants’ awareness of the physics education research literature including the literature on students alternative conceptions
  • Provide participants and opportunity to apply the above in the development of lesson plans. 
  • Fall courses will emphasize using resources appropriate for remote learning.

Participants grades will be based on

  • Two take home exams
  • Online homework
  • Lesson plan
  • Class participation

For more information about registration or questions contact
Dr. Nicholas Gross (gross@bu.edu)

Prof. Peter Garik (garik@bu.edu)

Prof. Andrew Duffy (aduffy@bu.edu)

Course Descriptions

NS 540: Concepts in Physics I: Forces and Motion

Sept. 14th – Oct. 26th

Fall 2018, Monday evenings in September and October

This is the first course in the ITOP sequence.  It builds the fundamentals of kinematics (motion) and dynamics (forces). A major component of the ITOP courses involves reading and discussing the conceptual history of physics and reading on identifying and confronting students’ prior knowledge.

Physics Topics will include:

  • Kinematics and the study of motion
  • Dynamics and Forces that generate motion
  • An understanding of gravity in light of the above
  • Conservation Laws
  • The concept of energy and the work-energy relationship

Conceptual History and Pedagogy Topics Include

  • Readings from Aristotle, Galileo, and Newton
  • Contrasting these three approaches to physics
  • Readings on students’ preconceptions about motion and force.

NS 541: Concepts in Physics II: Circular Motion, Gravity, and Rotation

Nov. 2nd – Dec. 14th

In this course, participants will apply kinematic definitions and Newton’s Laws to solve problems in circular motion, systems such planetary, and rotating bodies.

Physics Topics will include:

  • Circular Motion
  • Universal Theory of Gravity and Planetary Orbits
  • Kinematics and Dynamics of Rotational Motion
  • Conservation of Angular Momentum

Conceptual History and Pedagogy Topics Include 

  • Readings from Aristotle, Galileo, and Newton on Gravity
  • Readings on students’ preconceptions about circular motion, gravity, and rotational motion.


August Remote Teaching Workshop

26 Jul
AAPT-NE is hosting a virtual workshop designed for secondary physics teachers 3-5 pm on August 8th. Please register using the Google Form below:
Remote teaching strategies will include but are not limited to:
  • CK-12 free online textbook, grading syncs with Google Classroom
  • EdPuzzle – documentaries and/or upload lessons and ask questions; includes online gradebook
  • Virtual Tutoring – students point their camera at their paper while they problem solve as teacher corrects their work in real time; utilizing Breakout Rooms for students to practice problem solving in partners
  • Virtual Blackboard – techniques including Zoom annotations and writing notes (use phone and a notebook as a “Whiteboard”)
  • Phet simulations including but not limited to those posted by University of Colorado and Andrew Duffy from Boston University
  • Lab Activities that can be done at home and emphasize lab analysis with Google Sheets

New book by Tom Marcella:

26 Jul

New book by Tom Marcella:


Quantum Entanglement and the Loss of Reality.

202 pages Self published
Paperback $13.95
The first chapter is available at

Quantum mechanics is all about doing experiments. But it predicts only the possible results and the probability of obtaining each result. Results and probabilities. That’s all there are! The ultimate question is, “Is this all there is to know about the quantum experiment?” Bohr answers, “Yes. If we know the results and the probability of occurrence for each result, then we know everything there is to know about that experiment. There is nothing else!””Not so,” says Einstein. “Surely, there must be more to an experiment than just results and probabilities. Obviously, quantum mechanics does not tell us the whole story.”Bell’s theorem says they cannot both be correct. There can be no quantum mechanics that embraces the tenets of classical physics. Nature has to choose one or the other. We answer the question by taking the reader from classical physics through Bell’s theorem in the context of the Bohr-Einstein debate over the meaning of reality. The classical approach of Einstein is pitted against the quantum mechanics of Bohr, common sense against the counterintuitive nature of the new theory. Entanglement is the essential characteristic of quantum mechanics that makes it different from classical theory. And with entanglement there is no reality as we know it. In particular, we discuss the EPR experiment and Bell’s theorem in detail. At the end of it all, we are forced to conclude, as did Bell, that quantum mechanics is incompatible with classical physics. Subsequent experiments confirm that local realism, as professed in classical theory, is untenable.

Spring Meeting update

26 Mar

Due to the threat posed by the coronavirus pandemic, we have decided to cancel the Spring, 2020 Meeting of the New England Section of AAPT. If you have paid the registration fee for this meeting, you will receive a refund, shortly

Spring 2020 meeting is Postponed

12 Mar

As our host site has closed down for the remainder of the semester, the spring meeting is being postponed.

Workshop: Energize your physics class with computation/modeling, April 4, Boston

25 Feb

There is a 1-day workshop on Saturday, April 4 2020, at Tufts University on integrating computation into high school and college physics courses. More information including registration can be found here:

  I speak from personal experience that you will leave the workshop having learned something that you will want to use, be it an activity with spreadsheet, a problem with Python, or just an idea to try. Please share this email with your colleagues whom you think might be interested. Early bird registration ($20) ends March 22.

Who should attend:
Any physics educators within striking distance of the Boston area that want to energize their physics courses! The scope of this workshop is appropriate for physics teachers from high schools, 2-year colleges, and 4-year colleges and universities.

The workshop will include demonstrations and discussions about various aspects of integrating computational activities into physics courses at all levels from introductory to advanced.  There will also be guided working time wherein participants will explore tested computational exercises, and will build an outline that will serve as the beginning of a plan for integrating computational activities into their specific courses. Finally, by participating in this workshop participants will become plugged into a growing and supportive community of like-minded physics educators dedicated to improving the physics curriculum. The support system includes a repository of developed computational materials as well as dedicated online and personal community support.

Best wishes,
Jay Wang
Physics, UMass Dartmouth

POSTPONED: Spring Section Meeting

21 Jan

The New England AAPT Meeting will be this spring in CT.

Please use this link to submit poster or oral presentations.

or cut and paste https://forms.gle/B5ntWiRyHjVVKEiE6

  • Location:  
    • Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT
      Exley Science Center, 265 Church St, Middletown, CT

To register for the conference, register on our Wild Apricot Page.

Or paste this link: https://aapt-nes.wildapricot.org/event-3733429

  • Date
    • May 1 and 2 (Friday/Saturday), 2020
  • Host Contact:
    • Vacek Miglus, Wesleyan University

Summer Workshop in Making at M.I.T.

27 May

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Andrew Duffy receiving this year’s Janet Guernsey Award from Mark Greenman, a former awardee.

1 May