Physics In Your Future at Syracuse U

The Physics Department of Syracuse University is presenting Physics in Your Future, on Saturday afternoon, October 22, 2011, 2 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Physics in Your Future is a special program for high school students to inform them about college programs in physics. We invite you to extend the invitation to all of your students who may be interested in a college major in science. The high school students can come on their own volition or with their parents, or, if permitted, with their teacher or counselor. There are no fees associated with the program and a reservation in advance is not necessary.

The location is Rooms 202-204 of the Physics Building on the Syracuse University campus. If you are not familiar with the Syracuse University campus, maps can be found by checking the site and then clicking on Quad Lot 1 Directions.

Provisions have been made for parking adjacent to the Physics Building, for students, guidance counselors, teachers and parents.


After socializing, beginning at 2 p.m., there will be a talk by Professor Allen Miller of the Syracuse University Physics Department on the nature of college programs for physics majors and on employment opportunities for physicists who hold bachelor degrees. This will be followed by a conversational talk by undergraduate physics major Daniel Goldman.  All talks and discussions will be non-technical.

Next, during the 2:45 p.m. to 3:45 p.m. period, ten-minute tours of three of the research labs of the Physics Department will be given. The discussions of the labs will be led by graduate or undergraduate researchers or faculty. The tours will also include a ten-minute stop at Fizicks is Phun. Visitors here can, in hands-on fashion, perform some fun physics experiments that illustrate basic principles. 

Concluding remarks and the distribution of pamphlets from the American Physical Society on careers in physics will be held in Rooms 202-204 at 3:50 p.m.

Physics Alliance of Central New York

Saturday I got up dark and early and drove east for about 90 minutes to attend the Physics Alliance of Central New York meeting at Syracuse University.  The alliance consists of a group of physics teachers at both the high school and university level getting together on a monthly basis for professional development and support.

The meeting began with some general introductions and announcements, including a discussion of the upcoming Physics in Your Future Program on Saturday, 10/22 at 2:30 p.m. at Syracuse.  This two-hour program, geared for senior high school students, features undergrad seniors giving 10-minute talks about what it’s like to be a physics major, and a 20-minute faculty talk on the Syracuse Physics program.

Dr. Allen Miller also mentioned serendipitously hearing the “Don’t Lecture Me” program about Physics Education Research on NPR.  The entire program is just under an hour and can be downloaded in MP3 format.

Diving into the main program for today, we started with dual presentations on The Fantastic Things High School Physics Teachers do in the Summer.  Part I dealt with Josh Buchman (Fayetteville-Manlius High School) and Ranald Bleakley (Weedsport High School) spending the summer at CERN in France/Switzerland.  They opened with a brief overview of CERN’s activities as depicted in the video below, then went on to discuss the big-picture as well as “day-in-the-life” details of their experience.


areciboThis was followed with Part II by Marty Alderman (Cornell University) focusing on his experience as REU coordinator at Arecibo Observatory in Puerto Rico this summer.  Expanding beyond just his experience, Alderman also pointed out further REU and RET opportunities both within and outside the United States.

Anne Huntress of South Lewis High School then followed up with a description of her Rube Goldberg Lab Practical project, a program I was very interested in as it would meld quite well with my current physics program at Irondequoit High School.  I am especially fond of her method of providing her students with their task, then standing back to allow them to work through how to accomplish it without providing detailed instructions.  With Ms. Huntress’s permission, I will be adding this project to the Project Pages, and will likely look at replacing our 2nd Quarter Mousetrap Car project with this adventure in learning.  Check out some of her student videos below!

Overall, I had a very nice time and especially enjoyed the opportunity to meet and begin to get to know some colleagues in physics education I might not have run into otherwise.  Every time I speak with another physics educator, I seem to learn something new, and look forward to continuing my learning as I expand my network of known associates and colleagues in this field.  Thank you so much for welcoming me into your fold!