Astronomy Forum at Southern CT State U. on Nov 16

30 Aug
I wanted to let you know about an astronomy forum coming up this fall at Southern Connecticut State University that might be of interest to you.
The event is called, “Missions Possible: A Manned Flight to Mars, & Finding ‘New Earths’ in the Milky Way Galaxy.” It will be held on Monday, Nov. 16, from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at SCSU’s Michael J. Adanti Student Center, Grand Ballroom.
The program will explore two hot topics in astronomy – the Kepler Mission (which seeks to identify potential Earth-like planets elsewhere in the Milky Way Galaxy); and plans for a manned mission to Mars. We have two excellent speakers lined up to talk about these subjects. Steve Howell is the project scientist for Kepler and will be the keynote speaker. And Jennifer Stern, space scientist and an expert on Mars, will talk about the potential for human exploration of Mars and the challenges associated with it. Both Steve and Jennifer are from NASA.
We’ll also have a panel discussion following the two speakers that will include three astronomers — Elliott Horch, professor of physics at Southern and an astrophysicist who developed a telescopic device that has been used during the Kepler Mission; Jim Fullmer, associate professor of earth science at Southern; and Tabetha Boyajian, post-doctoral fellow at Yale University. We’ll have Q & A after the panel discussion.
We anticipate having some light refreshments, but there is a food court on the first floor of the Student Center that is available.
If you or your colleagues/members are interested in attending, or if you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to contact me. The event is free and open the public, but I thought I would mention this to you and your organization because of the topic.
If you would be willing to pass the word along to your members, via emails/social media/Web or any other method you think would be appropriate, we would certainly appreciate it. I should have a flyer or poster within the next couple of weeks that I could send you, as well.

Fall Northeast Regional AAPT Meeting

7 Aug
The American Association of Physics Teachers
and Bergen Community College
A High School and College Physics
Teachers Workshop
400 Paramus Road
Paramus NJ
Technology Building – Room 128
October 2 and 3, 2015
All professors, teachers of physics and earth sciences, and students are welcome to attend.
Friday October 2, 2015


3:30 – 6 pm – Registration
4:00 – 6:00 pmIntroduction to Physics Union Mathematics (PUM): How to help your students develop science practices and master crosscutting concepts: by  Eugenia Etkina, Rutgers University, Michael Boan and Josh Smith, North Arlington High School: This workshop will introduce the foundational philosophy of Physics Union Mathematics (PUM) curriculum modules ( ). PUM seamlessly integrates learning of science practices, cross cutting concepts and fundamental mathematical ideas into student-centered learning of traditional physics content. The participants will experience several PUM activities as students and then engage in the discussions of practical implementation with the teachers who use the curriculum. PUM modules can be used in middle school physical science, Physics First, college Prep Physic, Honors Physics and AP physics I and II. 
6:00 pm – dinner
7:30 pm – Talk – Student of physics: listeners, observers or collaborative participants in the practice of physics?  Eugenia Etkina, Rutgers University
Dr. Eugenia Etkina is a Professor of Science Education at Rutgers University.  She was born and educated in Russia, where she was awarded her PhD in Physics Education from Moscow State Pedagogical University. She has over 30 years of physics teaching experience (this includes middle school, high school and university physics). Professor Etkina designed and now coordinates one of the largest programs in physics teacher preparation in the U.S., she conducts professional development for high school and university physics instructors, and participates in reforms to undergraduate physics courses. In 1993 she developed an approach to learning physics in which students learn physics using the processes that mirror scientific practice. The approach was enriched when she began collaborating with Alan Van Heuvelen in 2000 and now is known as Investigative Science Learning Environment (ISLE).  Since 2000 they have developed curriculum materials based on ISLE, conducted over 100 workshops for physics instructors, and published College Physics – a textbook in which ISLE is implemented. Eugenia is an active researcher who published over 50 peer-refereed articles and a dedicated teacher, who in 2010 received the highest teaching award at Rutgers University and the Millikan Medal in 2014. 
Scientists and especially physicists have their own, very special ways of developing new knowledge, solving new problems, and talking about what they do. Is this valuable aspect of physics something that our students could learn in high school or introductory college courses or it belongs exclusively to professionals and is acquired through years of participating in “doing physics”? Development of the Next Generation Science Standards, revisions of AP courses and new MCAT indicate that this aspect of physics (and other sciences) is something that is as valuable as the final product of scientific labor – concepts and mathematical representations that have been traditionally the focus of our science courses. Science practices are the central points of all these innovations.  The talk will share educational ideas and curriculum approaches that make these practices an integral part of learning physics without losing conceptual and mathematical focus.
Following the talk – An evening of astronomical observations using the Bergen Emil Buehler Trust Observatory’s 16” Telescopes (weather permitting).

Saturday October 3, 2015

8:30 am – 9:30 am registration and breakfast

9:30 am – 10:30 am Talk #1 – Dr Kimberly Ennico Smith – “Pluto Revealed: First Results from the First Mission to this distant world.”


Dr Kimberly Ennico Smith is a research astrophysicist at NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California, with an emphasis on astronomical instrumentation. At present she is Co-Investigator and deputy Project Scientist for NASA’s New Horizons Pluto Fly-by Mission, Instrument Scientist for the Regolith & Environment Science and Oxygen & Lunar Volatile Extraction (RESOLVE) Near-Infrared Volatile Spectrometer System, and Instrument Scientist for the Mid-Infrared Spectroscopy Mode for the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) FORCAST Instrument

10:30 am – 11:30 am – Talk #2 – Dr. Jessica Sunshine  “The Wonderful Diversity of Comets as Revealed by Spacecraft Encounters”

Dr. Sunshine is a Professor of Astronomy at the University of Maryland, and is a member of the science team for multiple space missions including Galileo’s lunar and asteroid flybys, Dawn at the asteroid Vesta, the Moon Mineralogy Mapper instrument onboard India’s Chandrayaan-1 mission, and the Deep Impact and Stardust NeXT cometary encounters.

11:30 am – 12:30 pm – Poster sessions, View the Sun through Bergen Community College’s Solar Telescope (weather permitting).

12:30 – 1:30 pm – lunch

1:30 2:30 Talk #3 Dr. Nima Arkani-Hamed

Institute of Advanced Studies, Princeton University.. title TBD  (CERN Related)

Dr. Nima Arkani-Hamed earned his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of California-Berkeley.  He was an assistant professor at the University of California, a professor at Harvard University, and is currently a faculty member of the Institute of Advanced Studies in Princeton, NJ.  He is the recipient of a Phi Beta Kappa teaching award from Harvard (2005), the Gribov Medal of the European Physical Society (2003), and a number of fellowships, including a Packard Fellowship and a Sloan Fellowship, and the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in Physics (2008).  In July 2012, Nima was an inaugural awardee of the Fundamental Physics Prize, the most lucrative academic prize in the world.

For directions, please visit:

New Engineering Education Web site

14 Dec

I found this new blog that has a list of Engineering Education Resources in the New England.

Upcoming Plans

19 May

Our tentative plans for the upcoming 2014-2015 Year:


AAPT Northeast Regional Meeting at Sienna College October 9-10 2014

AAPT New England Section Meeting at Salem State College March 20-21 2015

Final Scores of the New England Physics Olympics

13 Apr





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Today was a great day for physics in New England!   We had students from six school attend the 28th annual New England Physics Olympics!!!

We tried something new this year.  All of the participating teams took the actual AAPT Physics Bowl exam as one of the events.  So we had six schools (several of whom had never participated in the Physics Bowl before) taking the exam at the same time!  I will be mailing in the scantron sheets this week.  Many thanks to AAPT-New England for the grant to make this possible.

Another big thank-you to all of the Physics major undergraduates from Boston University who helped out as judges at this event.  Another win-win as we had young physics majors (and future AAPT members) working with aspiring physics students!


Directions and Room Locations for AAPT Meeting

11 Mar

Go to this page for updates on room locations and directions to campus.

AAPT Meeting this Saturday!

11 Mar
Dear NES-AAPT Participants,
We are looking forward to welcoming you to Salem State University for the NES-AAPT
Spring Meeting on March 14 and 15.
We will meet in the Ellison Campus Center (2nd floor) on Friday evening, and in Meier
Hall (4th floor) on Saturday. These buildings are both on North Campus.
Directions to North Campus, which is adjacent to the intersection of Lafayette Street and
Loring Avenue in Salem are available on the SSU website:
I have attached a campus map.  North Campus is on the right side of the map.
Ellison Campus Center is building #10, and Meier Hall is building #4.  General parking
is available in the Peabody Lot, which is south-most of the two parking lots on North
Campus.  There will be parking directional signs on the sidewalk starting at the
Lafayette Street entrance to campus (near the star on the map).  Please note: College
Drive is a one-way street.
For person’s requiring handicap parking, there are two spaces on Lafayette Street near
Meier Hall and there are two spaces in the small lot right near Ellison Campus Center.
Our events begin at 5 pm on Friday with registration and a poster session, followed by
demonstrations, dinner and our speaker, Richard Larson, from the MIT Blossom project.
Weather permitting, the North Shore Amateur Astronomy Club will open the Collins
Observatory for us around 8:30 pm. If you plan to visit the observatory, they recommend
dressing warmly.
On Saturday, we have a full day beginning with breakfast at 7:30 am near the Slater
Lecture Hall in Meier Hall.  In addition to six contributed papers, Ethan Danahy from Tufts
Center for Engineering Education and Outreach and Manher Jariwala from the BU Studio
Physics project will be making presentations. David Sturm from U. Maine and Vacek
Miglus from Wesleyan are planing a demonstration session, and Judy Donnelly from
Three Rivers Community College will present a Workshop on Problem Based Learning
in the afternoon.
Please contact me if you have any questions.
Deb Mason-McCaffrey


Deborah Mason-McCaffrey, Ph.D.
Associate Professor
Salem State University
352 Lafayette Street
Salem, MA 01970

New England AAPT meetings for 2013-2014

27 Aug

The objective of the New England Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers is the advancement and integration of the teaching of physics at all educational levels and the furtherance of an appreciation for the role of physics in our culture. Its membership consists of those interested in the teaching of physics. NES-AAPT membership is not contingent upon membership in the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT).

Save these dates for the 2013-2014 School Year

There are four great physics teaching events coming up this year I would like to encourage you to attend:
Sept 27-28: Northeast Regional AAPT meeting at Marist College in Poughkeepsie, NY (NJ, NY, and NES sections).  More info below.
Oct 11-12: New England Section American Physical Society Meeting in Bridgewater, MA with a theme a biophysics and optics in industry with cross disciplinary and industry related talks.  Including a strand of talks with an education emphasis.
Mar 14-15: New England Section AAPT meeting at Salem State College in Salem, MA

April 3-6: National Meeting of NSTA (National Science Teachers Association) in Boston, MA   One of the days will be a Physics Day with lots of workshops!

STEM Education Regional Meeting

18 Mar


Summer Modeling Workshops

11 Mar
Nearby Workshops in New England
Kennebunk – First Parish Unitarian Universalist Church
Dates: July 29-Aug 9

Content: Intro to Modeling Physics (9 core units of mechanics)
Leaders: Mike Waters & Chad Hodgkins
Dates: July 29-Aug 9
Content: Intro to Modeling Chemistry (9 core units of chemistry)
Leader: Tom Pfeiffer & Dean Meggison
Fees: $650/week  (can be taken separately), includes breakfast and lunch.
Free housing available for participants.
Optional graduate credit available from the University of Maine
Contact: Jamie Vesenka or 207-749-7913
Follow this link to a brochure and application form
For further details:
SUNY-Buffalo State College
Dates: July 22-August 9

PHY620 (6cr) Powerful Ideas & Quantitative Modeling in Mechanics
leaders: Dr. Luanna Gomez & colleagues
Contact: Luanna Gomez
PHY622 (6cr) Powerful Ideas & Quantitative Modeling in Electricity and Magnetism with supplements (microscopic models of matter).
leaders: Dr. Dan MacIsaac & colleagues
Modeling workshop master teachers TBA
tuition: $2245.20 in state, $3595.20 non residents
some financing available
housing available on campus, approximately $320 per week
parking permit $10
Contact: Dan MacIsaac or (716) 878-3802
Click here for further detailsTeachers College-Columbia University
Dates: July 22-August 9

Content: Mechanics
Leaders: Craig Buzska & TBA
Content: Electricity & Magnetism
Leader: Michael Crofton & Mark Schober
Content: Chemistry I (9 core units)
Leaders: Donghong Sun & Larry Dukerich
Contact: Fernand Brunschwig
Visit the Physics Teachers NYC for details

Clearview Regional HS – Mullica Hills, NJ
Dates: July 8 – 26

Content: Mechanics
Leader: Doug Valette
Content: Chemistry I (9 core units)
Leaders: Jim Navins & Maureen Huhman
Dates: July 29 – August 16
Content: Biology
Leader: Angela Gard
Limited housing is available – $700 for 20 nights
Follow these links to a brochure for details and for an application form
General information:
Fifty Modeling Workshops in high school physics, chemistry,  physical
science, and biology will be offered in summer 2013, in many states.
Modeling Workshops are peer-led. Modeling Instruction is designated
by the U.S. Department of Education as an Exemplary K-12 science
program.Some sites offer stipends, usually for in-state teachers.  Graduate
credit is available at some sites. Pre-service teachers and TYC
faculty are welcome too.

information:  <>
Most workshops are described at .

Teachers say:
*  “After the first year of teaching using the modeling method, I
wished I had learned about modeling years ago.”
— David Braunschweig (retired; consultant for Vernier Software &
*  In the one year that I have been modeling, I have seen wonderful results.
*  [As a graduate student in physics], I discovered the modeling method
of instruction to be a rigorous approach to physics instruction on
the high school level, and one that is consistent with the way
physicists understand the universe.
— Doug Vallette
*  Compared to “traditional” physics teaching, at our school modeling
has created:
(A) Larger enrollment in physics and AP Physics
(B) Higher retention of students majoring in engineering and science when
they go off to college
(C) Greater quantitative analytical skills
(D) Greater quantitative presentation skills
(E) Much higher ability for “future non-science students” to communicate
with science people
(F) No plugging and chugging.
*  We have had 3 physics teachers and 5 chemistry teachers enhance
their professional development at your ASU modeling workshops.
Modeling has made a world of difference in our science courses.
–Ray Howanski