Spring 2014 Section Meeting

The Section meeting for Spring 2014 of the Idaho-Utah Section of the AAPT will be held March 21st and 22nd at The College of Idaho in Caldwell, Idaho.


Contributed talks are welcome from all aspects of physics education.  All physics faculty, particularly high school faculty, are encouraged to contribute a talk or poster.  Students interested in physics pedagogy and learning are also encouraged to present. Presentation topics can include, but are certainly not limited to: assessment, “best practice” teaching techniques, and curriculum design.  Presenters are also encouraged to share novel physics classroom ideas, laboratories, and demonstrations.  Papers on current physics topics are welcome, where such information would be of use and interest in the student classroom experience.

Oral presentations will be limited to 15 minutes, including questions.  Poster presentations are also invited.  Also welcome are demonstration items for the Friday evening public physics demo show. Please submit an abstract with title and author information via the online registration form, or directly to Katie Devine at kdevine@collegeofidaho.edu no later than Wednesday March 12th.


In person registration will be held at the main entry of the Boone Hall Science building 4:00pm-6:00pm, Friday March 21st and 8:00am-9am Saturday March 22nd.   Participants may also pre-register online at the following link:



Rooms are available for $65/night at the Best Western Inn & Suites, 908 Specht Ave in Caldwell.  Reservations may be made by calling (208) 454-7225.  Please make your reservation by March 1st and mention the AAPT to get the group rate.  The Best Western is located approximately 1 mile from The College of Idaho campus.  Ample free parking will be available on campus for attendees that wish to drive from the hotel to campus.

Travel and Parking:

The most convenient airport is located in Boise, ID (BOI).  Driving directions to The College of Idaho Campus may be found here: http://www.collegeofidaho.edu/about/maps/directions-campus .

Information about public parking may be found here:  http://www.collegeofidaho.edu/about/maps/parking.  The Jewett Auditorium lot is most convenient for accessing the buildings in which we will be meeting.

A campus map is available here:  http://www.collegeofidaho.edu/sites/default/files/CampusMap/CofICampusMap.pdf

About The College of Idaho:

Founded in 1891, The College of Idaho is the state’s oldest private liberal arts college. It has a century-old tradition of educating some of the most accomplished graduates in Idaho, including seven Rhodes Scholars, three Marshall Scholars, and another 11 Truman and Goldwater Scholars. The College is located on a beautiful campus in Caldwell, Idaho. Its distinctive PEAK curriculum challenges students to attain competencies in the four knowledge peaks of the humanities, natural sciences, social sciences and a professional field, enabling them to graduate with an academic major and three minors in four years. For more information on The College of Idaho, visit www.collegeofidaho.edu.


Idaho-Utah AAPT Meeting, March 21 and 22, 2014 The College of Idaho

Program Outline:
Friday, March 21st
4:00 – 6:00 PM Registration Boone Hall Main Entrance
6:00 – 7:15 PM Dinner (no host) Stewart’s Bar and Grill
2805 Blaine St., Caldwell ID
7:30 – 9:00 PM Physics Demo Night Langroise Recital Hall
Phil Matheson, Utah Valley University, “Poor Man’s Blue Tooth”
Chris Stoker, Mountain View High School, “The Marshmallow Gun (and a few others)”
Harold Stokes, Brigham Young University, “Singing the Harmonics”
Richard Hills, Weber State University, “Waves and Superposition of Standing Waves on Cords”
James Coburn, Utah State University, “Optical Illusions, Lenses, and Lasers” Duane Merrell, Brigham Young University, “Pop Can Energy” Brian Pyper, Brigham Young University—Idaho, Various Demos
Saturday, March 22nd
8:00 – 9:00 AM Registration Boone Hall Main Entrance
(All talks are held in: )
9:00 – 9:10 AM Welcome Boone Hall, Room 101
9:00 – 10:15 AM Talk Session I (Session Chair: James Dull, The College of Idaho)
9:15 – 9:30 AM Dan Black, Snow College
Service Learning Contracts for Improved “Real” Service
9:30 – 9:45 AM Cameron Vongsawad, Brigham Young University Development of Educational Stations for the Acoustical Society of America Outreach Activities
9:45 – 10:00 AM Brian Pyper, Brigham Young University – Idaho Adventures in Supporting Public Education
10:00 – 10:15 AM Dewey Dykstra, Boise State University
Is it Fair?
10:15 – 10:30 AM Snack Break Boone Hall Main Entrance
10:30 – Noon Talk Session II (Session Chair: Katie Devine, The College of Idaho)
10:30 – 10:45 AM Chris Stoker, Mountain View High School Four Ways to Engage Students in Building Mental Models
10:45 – 11:00 AM James Dull, The College of Idaho Re-thinking Intermediate Electrodynamics: A First Step Toward Flipping an Upper-level Electrodynamics Course
11:00 – 11:15 AM Jean Francois Van Huele, Brigham Young University JITT for large classes
11:15 – 11:30 AM Harold Stokes, Brigham Young University The Mysterious Static Friction
11:30 – 11:45 AM Larry Smith, Snow College
The God Particle for Mortals: A Review of the Higgs Boson
11:45 – noon Sean Boston, Capital High School, Boise ID Labs: Data Analysis Made Easy
Noon – 1:30 PM Lunch/Raffle Prizes/AAPT Business Meeting/Lab Set-Up Open House
(Lunch available in Simplot Dining Hall, South Dining Room)
(AAPT business meeting and raffle at 12:15 in Simplot South)
(Lab Set-Up Open House 1pm-1:25pm in Boone 116)
(GROUP PHOTO AT 1:25 SHARP – Boone Hall Main Entrance)
1:30 – 2:30 PM Talk Session III (Session Chair: James Dull, The College of Idaho)
1:30 – 1:45 PM David Oliphant, Brigham Young University – Idaho Physics Problem Set Database
1:45 – 2:00 PM Katie Devine, The College of Idaho Using Pencasts to Flip Upper-Division Physics Courses
2:00 – 2:15 PM Gary Parkinson, The College of Idaho Using Wolfram Mathematica to Create Interactive Lessons
2:15 – 2:30 PM Cynthia Tang, Diana Gomez, Matthew Goodwin, The College of Idaho Analysis of Figure-Skating Jumps
2:30 – 2:40 PM Break
2:40 – 3:30 PM Optional Event: Planetarium Show Boone Hall Planetarium
Amy Truksa, The College of Idaho Planetarium Director
Using the Planetarium to Enhance Introductory Astronomy Courses

October 2013 Announcements

Two items:

The National AAPT winter meeting in Orlando is up for registration. see http://www.aapt.org/Conferences/wm2014/

Also: Beth Cunningham from the National Office sent me this today. Shout if you’re interested.

“I am seeking your assistance in finding an AAPT national member in your section to represent AAPT at an upcoming important conference in the region of your section.  The Conferences for Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWIP) are three-day regional conferences for undergraduate physics majors.   The goal of the conferences is to help undergraduate women continue in physics by providing them with the opportunity to experience a professional conference, information about graduate school and professions in physics, and access to other women in physics at all career stages with whom they can share experiences, advice, and ideas.  The program includes research talks by faculty, panel discussions about graduate school and careers in physics, presentations and discussions about women in physics, laboratory tours, student research talks, and opportunities for students to interact.

The conferences are held simultaneously at eight different institutions of higher education.  The 2014 conferences will run Friday evening, January 17th, through Sunday afternoon, January 19th.  For more information about the conferences, see http://www.aps.org/programs/women/workshops/cuwip.cfm.  One of the locations for the conferences is University of Utah which is located in the Idaho-Utah section.  I need your assistance in finding a local AAPT national member who could represent AAPT and provide materials about careers in physics particularly involving teaching in high school or at the college or university level.  In addition, this representative can provide information about AAPT and the value of an AAPT membership in supporting careers in physics teaching.  The national AAPT office can provide materials for this representative to distribute.  If needed, we may be able to provide modest travel reimbursement if the volunteer requests support.


The leadership of AAPT understands the value of increasing the participation of women in physics careers.  AAPT’s current leadership includes four women: the current president, vice president, past president, and executive officer.  We are also keen to support programs to increase the number of women in physics, particularly as role models and mentors teaching physics to the next generation of scientists and citizens.  In fact, the AAPT Marketing Manager RaShonda Rosier (rrosier@aapt.org) is attending the conference at Florida State University and I am attending the conference at University of Maryland.


Can you find a local AAPT member who is willing to attend this conference as a representative of AAPT?  And, can you connect that individual to RaShonda and me by forwarding their contact information?  I would appreciate this information by October 31st so that RaShonda and I can coordinate registration and mailing of materials with this individual.  We can also assist this individual in contacting the conference local organizing committee.  As always, I appreciate your willingness to assist AAPT!

Warm regards,


I told her I’d do it if no one else wanted to.


Brian Pyper
BYU-Idaho Physics
Idaho-Utah AAPT section representative

2013 Section Meeting Report

AAPT Idaho-Utah Section Meeting Report March 2013
Section Representative: Brian A Pyper – Brigham Young University-Idaho Department of Physics
The Section Meeting for the Idaho-Utah Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers was held at Utah Valley University March 15-16 2013. The meeting was excellently organized by Phil Matheson, the section President-Elect, and was attended by 64 people, 4 HS Faculty, 26 College/University Faculty/Staff, and 34 students some of whom were jointly attending the combined SPS Zone 15 meeting.
The program included the ever-popular Demonstration Show, and a collection of contributed talks, a make-and-take ferro-fluids activity, and the section business meeting and annual section officer election.
The results of the election were as follows, with terms from 3-17-13 to 5/31/14:
Farhang Amiri from Weber State rotated off the presidential chain.
Brian Pyper, also the section representative, rotates from President to Past President.
Phil Matheson, of Utah Valley University rotates from President-Elect to President.
Kathryn Devine, of College of Idaho, rotates from Vice President to President-Elect.
Larry Smith, of Snow College was elected Vice President.
This means that the section meeting next year (2014) will be held at the College of Idaho in Caldwell, with Kathryn Devine as the local organizer, and the following year (2015) the section meeting will be held at Snow College in Ephraim, UT, hosted by local organizer Larry Smith.
ID-UT AAPT Group 2013

AAPT ID-UT Section Meeting Program

ID-Utah AAPT Meeting, March 15 and 16, 2013 Utah Valley University.
Program Outline:
Friday, March 15th
4:00 – 6:00 PM Registration Science Building Atrium (by SB 134)
6:15 – 7:15 PM Dinner Golden Corral 225 W. University Parkway
(Meet as a group to be seated as a group – $10.99/meal)
7:30 – 9:00 PM Physics Demo Night Science Building SB 134
Wayne Peterson, BYU Two Demos: The Siren Disk; Creating a Plasma in a Microwave Oven
Brian Pyper, BYU-I Miscellaneous Demos
James Coburn, USU Several demos and a new way to make them visible.
Adam Beehler, U of U Eyeglass Diagnostics
Richard Hills, WSU Galileo’s Regret, Newton’s Rocker, & Bossie’s Stutter-Step
Blake Centini, U of U Fun with magnetism and light
Paul Mills, UVU “Run of the Mills Demos”
Phil Matheson, UVU “Finger demos”
Saturday, March 16th
8:00 – 9:00 AM Registration Science Building Atrium (by SB 134)
(All talks are held in:)
9:00 – 9:10 AM Welcome Pope Science Building PS-202
Session Chair: Bonnie Andersen, UVU
9:15 – 9:30 AM Brent Bargeron, UVU Exit Interviews, a Useful Component of Departmental
Outcomes Assessments
9:30 – 9:45 AM Bill Evenson, UVU/BYU Improving Student Learning Through “Tuning”
9:45 – 10:00 AM Sarah Young, BYU-I Higher Test Scores Achieved by Students who Learn
Physics for the “Big-Picture”
10:00 – 10:15 AM Hector Davila, Joe Jensen, UVU Learning in Bigger Classes
10:15 – 10:30 AM Snack Break, Science Building Atrium
10:30 – 10:45 AM Tracianne Neilsen, Kent Gee, BYU The Physics of the Voice
10:45 – 11:00 AM Kent Gee, Tracianne Neilsen, BYU Teaching Sound Propagation at BYU
Football Games
11:00 – 11:15 AM Paul Weber, UVU Enhancing Modern Physics by Including Waves
11:15 – 11:30 AM Steve Wasserbaech, UVU In Class Demo: Solving the Schroedinger
Equation with an Excel Spreadsheet
11:30 – 11:45 AM David Ludlow, BYU Eliminating Algebra Mistakes in Physics Homework
With the Math Drag’n Application
11:45 – noon Dallin Durfee Exploring the Physics of Musical Scales with a MIDI
Noon – 1:30 PM Lunch/AAPT Business Meeting/ SPS Poster Session/Raffle Prizes
(Pick up your lunches in the Science Building Atrium, and eat in PS 202)
(SPS posters are in the Science Building Atrium)
(AAPT business meeting and raffle at 12:45 in PS 202)
(GROUP PHOTO AT 1:15 SHARP – In the Science Building Atrium)
AAPT continuing:
1:30 – 1:45 PM Rondo Jeffery, Fahrang Amiri , WSU Jumping Ring Levitation and other
Recent results
1:45 – 2:00 PM Bonnie Andersen, UVU Teaching LabVIEW with the Vernier SensorDAQ
2:00 – 2:15 PM Bonnie Andersen, UVU Applying Principles of Team Based Learning
In Lower and Upper Division Physics Courses
2:15 – 2:30 PM Dan Schroeder, Weber AJP and the Future of Physics Journals
2:30 – 2:45 PM Phil Matheson, UVU What should be taught in an “Energy Course”?
2:45 – 3:00 PM Cameron Summers, BYU-I Physics Attitudes Influence Learning
SPS Breakout meeting:
1:30 – 2:15 PM SPS leadership Pope Science Building 206
Optional Event: Hands on Workshop
1:30 – 3:00 PM Julie Callahan Cheap Ferro-fluids
Location to be announced

Optional Event: Planetarium Show
2:15 – 3:00 PM UVU- Planetarium Pope Science Building 206
List of SPS Posters
Monica Cervantes, UVU Real-time pathology with high-frequency ultrasound. A feasility study
using bovine tissues
Joseph Chandler, Merideth Gold, BYU BYU SPS Outreach Team
Margaret Jensen, USU Annual Solar Motion and Spy Satellites
Darren McKinnon, USU Mapping the Milky Way: Seeing the Galaxy at 1420 MHz
Rachel Nydegger, USU Effects of Light Pollution at Utah State University
Kelby Peterson, USU Simulation of UV Induced Discoloration on Space Polymers
Jordan Rozum, USU Modeling Spiral Galaxy Surface Luminosity to Explain – Non Uniform
Inclination Distributions
Laurel Thompson, UVU Methods for identifying aerosols by light scattering techniques
David Pease, UVU Testing Regions of Frequency Hysteresis of a Variable-Depth
Thermoacoustic Prime Mover

Just at reminder that Tuesday, March 5th is nominally the last day to submit abstracts for the March 15/16 ID-UT AAPT meeting. However, late submission may still be accepted up to March 12th. Please email any late submissions directly to phil.matheson@uvu.edu.

Registration begins Friday, March 15th at the UVU Science Building Auditorium, SB 134 at 4:00 PM. Saturday registration will begin at 8:00 AM at the same location. Regular registration is $15 and includes a box lunch and break-time snacks. Please pay with cash or check. We have no means of processing credit or debit.

A no-host dinner will be held at Golden Corral, 225 W. University Parkway, immediately adjacent to the UVU campus. Because it is a Friday night, the restaurant asks that at least a majority of the party be there at 6:15 sharp in order to be seated together. Stragglers will still be able to join us as long as there a sizeable group up front. We are planning for about 25.

The Friday Night Demo show will begin at 7:30 PM in the Science Building Auditorium. If you are able to present, please contact phil.matheson@uvu.edu to arrange for any supporting materials that you might need. Bring your local friends and relatives.

Saturday’s meetings begin at 9:00 AM

Julie Callahan will be conducting a hands-on workshop to manufacture low cost ferro-fluids Saturday afternoon. Please contact her directly to register for that event by email cosmic.callahan@gmail.com. Nominal workshop cost is $20.

We’re looking forward to seeing you then!

Spring 2013 Section Meeting at UVU!!

The Section meeting for Spring 2013 of the Idaho-Utah Section of the AAPT will be held March 15th and 16th at Utah Valley University in Orem, Utah.  The Society of Physics Students will be holding its regional meeting at the same time.




Contributed talks are welcome from all aspects of physics education.  Oral presentations will be limited to 15 minutes, including questions.  Poster presentations are also invited.


Please submit an abstract with title and author information to Phil Matheson at phil.matheson@uvu.edu no later than March 5th.

Contributions are welcome from all physics faculty particularly from high school faculty. This meeting is also an excellent venue for students interested in physics pedagogy and learning . Topics on “best practices”, student learning and effective program and classroom assessment are especially welcome.  Presentations of novel physics programs, laboratories, physics demonstrations and discussions about conceptual physics are highly encouraged.


In addition, dissemination papers on current physics topics are welcome, where such information would be of use, and interest in the student classroom experience. For example, information related to advances in fundamental physics such as the discovery of the Higgs Boson, embody a great deal of subtle physics. Similarly, topics such as climate change and energy use contain a great deal of interesting physics. Presentation of such information and ideas as would enhance educational aims are welcome.




In person registration will be held between 4:00 PM and 6:00 PM, Friday, March 15th in the Atrium of the Science Building at UVU, and again from 8:00 AM to 9:00 AM Saturday, March 16th.  Participants may also register at the SPS reception held Friday from 4:00 PM until 6:00 PM at the Hampton Inn and Suites.


Participants may also pre-register online at





Rooms at $74/night are available at Hampton Inns and Suites, 851 West 1250 South in Orem.


The hotel is directly across the street from UVU. A pedestrian tunnel now links the south side of the busy University Parkway where the hotel is located, to the north side of the street where UVU is located, making for an easy walk.


Pre-reservations may be made at the $74/night rate by calling 801-426-8500.  Please use the reservation code “BYU” to obtain the low rate. (We’ll not elaborate on why the code is “BYU” and not “UVU”!)


A link to the online hotel registration is pending




Utah Valley University will be enjoying Spring Break during the AAPT meeting, and parking on campus will be unrestricted.


Information about UVU:


Utah Valley University is just off of I-15 at exit 269. Please visit http://www.uvu.edu/visitors/visit/index.html for addition information and maps.


The UVU Physics Department is quite young. It has graduated just over 60 students since 2004 (its first graduating class).  The department’s graduates have been accepted to many graduate programs and several UVU physics alumni have their PhDs and are well established in research careers. The department has ten full time faculty. The faculty are active in several research areas including thermal acoustics, geophysics, medical physics, astronomy and aeronomy.


UVU has grown tremendously during the last decade and during the 2011-2012 academic year had the largest student body count of any of the institutions of higher education in the state of Utah. (The University of Utah has reclaimed that distinction for the present.)

AAPT Update to Sections 5-2-12

AAPT Collaborative Projects

AAPT sponsors or participates in many special projects designed to enhance the teaching of physics and astronomy. Many projects are funded in part by the National Science Foundation, as well as by partner organizations such as the American Physical Society, the American Institute of Physics and the Society of Physics Students. Details of the projects with which AAPT is currently involved are located here.

Ongoing Projects


Future Projects

If you are interested in developing a collaborative project please contact Beth Cunningham or Robert Hilborn.

In August 2011, the AAPT Executive Board approved updated guidelines for anyone considering submitting a proposal to NSF, Department of Education, etc.