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AAPT Announces 2010 Summer Meeting Plenary Speakers


For more information, please contact:
Marilyn Gardner, American Association of Physics Teachers
office: 301-209-3306 Email: mgardner@aapt.org

College Park, Maryland, United States, July 14, 2010—The American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT; http://www.aapt.org) has announced that its 2010 Summer Meeting in Portland, Oregon, will feature some of the nation’s top physics educators. The meeting will take place on July 17–21. Plenary sessions will celebrate 50 Years of the Laser, the Millikan Medal and Klopsteg Awardees, and awards for excellence in teaching as well as the AIP Children's Science Writing Award.

Monday, July 19
Celebrating 50 Years of the Laser: APS/DLS Symposium on Laser Physics
10:30 a.m.–12 p.m.

Breasts and Brains, Similarities and Differences: Using Novel Physics to Enhance Clinical Molecular Imaging
Warren S. Warren, Duke University
Molecular imaging—the use of targeted molecular and chemical signatures to visualizing function instead of just structure—is one of the most rapidly growing fields in biomedical science. Applications range from molecular medicine, to early and improved disease diagnosis, to reducing health-care costs. The major techniques in common use (positron emission tomography, CT, magnetic resonance imaging, optical imaging) often have quite complementary strengths and applications. This presentation will give an overview of the physical principles behind these methods, then focus on optical imaging—specifically on approaches that exploit optical nonlinearity to enable microscopic resolution without excision.

Femtosecond Optical Frequency Combs
Steven T. Cundiff, NIST and University of Colorado
The ability to detect the carrier-envelope phase evolution of the pulse train emitted by a mode-locked laser has led to the field of femtosecond combs. Femtosecond combs have solved the problem of optical frequency metrology, enabled optical atomic clocks and been essential to the development of attosecond technology. This address will give an introduction to the basic concepts of femtosecond combs and include a discussion their applications, both current and future possibilities.

Lasers and the Eye
3:20–4:20 p.m.
Vasudevan (Vengu) Lakshminarayanan, University of Waterloo
We celebrate the 50th anniversary of the laser which now has a huge range of applications, from consumer electronics to optical metrology. One of the very first applications of the laser was in biomedicine—namely photocoagulation process to weld a detached retina back into place in the eye. This talk will feature a discussion of laser applications in ophthalmology and deal with laser-tissue interaction, laser safety and more recent work on photorefractive procedures, such as LASIK as well as some recent work on predicting vision from measurement of wavefront aberrations and its use in predicting post-operative vision following photorefractive procedures.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010
10:30 a.m.-11:15 a.m.
Millikan Medal Address
Guiding the Future: Developing Research-based Physics Standards
Patricia Heller, Associate Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Minnesota and a founding member of the Physics Education Research (PER) Group

Almost two decades after the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s “Benchmarks for Science Literacy” and the National Academies’ “National Science Education Standards” set in motion attempts to systematize science standards in K-12 education, there is a growing realization at both the state and national level that those standards need to be revised to be based more firmly on learning research. Physics educators need to be heard on what physics concepts and related skills are truly essential for student success in higher education and in the workplace. These concepts and skills then would be linked to the necessary supporting knowledge that can appropriately be learned at earlier points in a student’s K-12 education. This address frames the task by addressing important questions about developing K-12 physics standards for college success.

11:15–11:45 a.m.
Excellence in Undergraduate Physics Teaching Award
Stumbling on a Tightrope
William P. Hogan, Professor of Physics at Joliet Junior College, Joliet, IL

This address will be a discussion of the issues, struggles, and the spectacular mistakes made along the way to finding what works to achieve high student performance and positive teacher evaluations.

11:45–12:15 a.m.
Excellence in Pre-college Physics Teaching Award
Who’s In??
Diane Riendeau, physics teacher, Deerfield High School, Deerfield, IL

Mentoring helps shape all phases of a teaching career. Being a mentor is a vital role we should all play during our time as physics teachers but being a mentee is equally important. This address will challenge your beliefs on the importance and benefits of mentoring relationship at ALL times in your career.

Wednesday, July 21
8:30-9:40 a.m.

Klopsteg Award Address

Science and Science Fiction
Robert Scherrer, Department of Physics and Astronomy Chair, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN.

As a practicing physicist who has written science fiction, Scherrer will explore the similarities and differences between the process of writing science fiction and the process of "producing" science, specifically theoretical physics. What are the ground rules for introducing unproven new ideas in science fiction, and how do they differ from the corresponding rules in physics? How predictive is science fiction? (For that matter, how predictive is theoretical physics?) While science fiction has been dubbed "the literature of ideas," there are crucial differences between the role that ideas play in science fiction versus their role in science, as well as differences in the actual way in which ideas are presented. Finally, Scherrer will examine whether a background as a research scientist provides any advantage in writing science fiction, or whether it can actually be a hindrance at times.

Key Web Sites

About AAPT
AAPT is an international organization for physics educators, physicists, and industrial scientists—with more than 10,000 members worldwide. Dedicated to enhancing the understanding and appreciation of physics through teaching, AAPT provides awards, publications, and programs that encourage teaching practical application of physics principles, support continuing professional development, and reward excellence in physics education. AAPT was founded in 1930 and is headquartered in the American Center for Physics in College Park, Maryland.

More Information for Journalists
The 2010 Summer Meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) takes place from July 18-24 in Portland, Oregon.
The meeting hotel is the Hilton Portland and Executive Tower, which is located at 921 Southwest 6th Avenue, Portland, OR 97204.

Registering as a Journalist
Science writers intending to go to the meeting should contact Marilyn Gardner (mgardner@aapt.org) or 301-209-3306 about free registration. Journalists are encouraged to register in advance. Press badges can be picked up at the meeting registration desk and will allow you to attend all scientific sessions and exhibits.