From the Chair: Mini-Grants, Meetings, Members (New and Past), and More!

Catherine Crouch, Swarthmore College

As I write my first “From the Chair” article, I’m grateful for the many outstanding colleagues that I get to work with through the Forum on Education, and for the work of those who FEd will recognize at this spring’s meetings through awards and invited talks. I’m also grateful that the FEd will continue our mini-grant program for 2021, offering both personal and professional grants for those who have found themselves facing funding challenges or who see new research opportunities due to the pandemic. Many thanks to Secretary-Treasurer Laura Ríos for spearheading this effort, and to many members of the FEd Executive Committee for assisting.

The upcoming all-virtual March and April meetings will include ten FEd-sponsored or co-sponsored invited sessions and five contributed sessions. (There will also be an education session at DAMOP for which I as FEd Program Chair advised the organizers.)  In our sessions, we seek to highlight some of the breadth of activity in education across APS through collaboration and cosponsorship with other units including DBIO, DCOMP, DNP, DQI, FOEP, GDS, and GPER. (Here’s a list of APS units for your decoding purposes!) We would love to expand our collaborations next year, so if you have ideas for good educational connections with another unit you are part of, please be in touch! There are also many sessions that are likely to be of interest to FEd members which were organized by other forums, such as FDI, FOEP, FPS, and FECS, and by COM and CSWP. 

Although talks at these all-virtual meetings will be mostly given live, for the March meeting, registering gives you access for 90 days to any talks that speakers are willing to have recorded, which includes nearly all of the FEd-sponsored talks. Consequently, even if you have heavy responsibilities to work, family, or both on the days of the meetings, there is great flexibility for when you can listen to the talks. In addition, APS Meetings staff are working hard to find ways to offer networking opportunities in spite of the limitations of a virtual meeting. 

APS offers a limited number of caregiver grants to cover extra childcare expenses associated with participating in either meeting. The March meeting associated deadline is Feb. 19 and the April one is March 26.

The FEd helps the APS honor outstanding contributions to physics education through our awards and through APS Fellowship. I invite you to start thinking now about who you might nominate for 2022, as well as to congratulate the 2021 award winners. Our 2021 FEd APS Fellows include Geraldine Cochran, Scott Franklin, Laura Henriques, Suzanne Amador Kane, and Jonathan Reichert; you can find more about their accomplishments in our last newsletter. At the March meeting we will honor Linda Barton (RIT) and Enrique Galvez (Colgate), recipients of the 2021 and 2020 Reichert Awards, and at the April meeting we will honor Dr. Anderson Sunda-Meya (Xavier), recipient of the Excellence in Physics Education Award, and Gordon Jones (Hamilton) recipient of the Prize for Research at an Undergraduate Institution. 

Sadly, the pandemic means the usual Education & Diversity reception to honor awardees and APS Fellows will not happen. Here’s hoping we can  have a big three-year celebration in 2022!

Finally, it’s my honor to introduce the new members of the FEd Executive Committee. We are excited to be joined by Melissa Eblen-Zayas (Carleton, APS/AAPT Member-at-Large), Amber Stuver (Villanova, Member-at-Large), and Charles Ramey (Texas Tech, Grad Student Member). We look forward to their ideas and energy as we seek to sharpen our pursuit of the FEd’s mission.

Susan Blessing (Florida State) is our new Vice Chair, and will lead this year’s Nominating Committee. If you are interested in serving on committees or as an officer of the Forum, or have recommendations for individuals we should consider, please respond to the calls for nominations that will be coming later this spring. 

Eric Brewe (Drexel), formerly Vice Chair, becomes Chair-Elect for 2021 and with that role, becomes Program Chair for FEd sessions at the 2022 March and April meetings, and advises the planners of the DAMOP education session. Requests for session ideas will come soon, but if you have ideas don’t hesitate to send them any time! 

I’m also grateful for the service of many who are concluding their formal roles in the FEd (though we are sure they will continue to be consulted for their wisdom!). Although Laurie McNeil (UNC) is leaving the role of Past Chair, she is also becoming our APS Education Councilor, so it hardly seems like she is leaving! We thank Noah Finkelstein (CU) for his years of service as Councilor; Eleanor Close (Texas State) and Mackenzie Stetzer (Univ of Maine) for serving as members-at-large; and Julian Gifford (CU) for serving as our inaugural grad student member. We will miss their wisdom and contributions. 

The APS Forum on Education seeks to support all APS members in their engagement with high quality physics education, whether in public outreach, K-12 through graduate education, or ongoing professional development. Please reach out if you have ideas for other ways we can accomplish this mission!

Message from the Past Chair

Gerald Feldman, George Washington University

It is the tradition in the chair line of the Forum on Education for the Past Chair to head the Fellowship Committee.  Our Forum has had an enviable record of nominating excellent candidates for APS Fellowship, honoring those members and colleagues who have dedicated themselves to the enhancement of physics education in various sectors.  Statistically, 0.5% of the overall APS membership achieves the status of APS Fellow, and as such, it is indeed quite a distinction to be nominated for this recognition.  

The basic instructions for preparing the nomination package are easily found at the APS Honors website.  The deadline for Fellowship nominations is early June of this year.  The nomination package consists of a nomination letter, 2-4 letters of support, a CV, copies of the candidate’s most important publications, and a suggested citation for the Fellowship award. 

While it is clear that all APS members understand the concept of APS Fellowship and know some of their own colleagues who are APS Fellows, it is perhaps more striking to realize how many of your exceptional colleagues are not APS Fellows!  The most obvious reason for some of these omissions is that no one actually took the time or spent the energy to nominate them!  You can check the list of FEd-nominated APS Fellows on the Fellowship page, and it would indeed be worthwhile for you to take a quick look and see if you happen to notice a deserving colleague or collaborator who is missing from the list.  If so, please give serious consideration to making a nomination.  

While we are on the subject of nominations, as an additional reminder, FEd also has two specific awards that you should be aware of:

  • Reichert Award for Advanced Laboratory Instruction
    • To recognize and honor outstanding achievement in teaching, sustaining (for at least four years), and enhancing an advanced undergraduate laboratory course or courses at U.S. institutions.
    • Excellence in Physics Education Award
      • To recognize and honor a team or group of individuals (such as a collaboration) or, exceptionally, a single individual, who has exhibited a sustained commitment to excellence in physics education.

      Furthermore, the APS Committee on Education (on which three FEd representatives sit) also has two significant education-related awards that you should consider:

      • Prize for a Faculty Member for Research in an Undergraduate Institution
        • To honor a physicist whose research in an undergraduate setting has achieved wide recognition and contributed significantly to physics and who has contributed substantially to the professional development of undergraduate physics students.
        • Award for Improving Undergraduate Physics Education
          • To recognize departments and programs of distinction who have demonstrated excellence in undergraduate physics education and who support best practices in education at the undergraduate level.

          Please give some thought to these various education-related APS awards, including potential candidates for APS Fellowship through the Forum on Education.  The time invested in promoting such recognition is really worthwhile, and it truly benefits all of us in the larger APS community to be able to honor our exceptional colleagues in this manner.

          Director's Corner

          Theodore Hodapp, APS Director of Project Development

          Twenty-twenty may go down as one of the most confusing and game-changing years in recent history. The pandemic has forced all of us to rethink how we do our jobs, and the global and national economies have been shaken in ways that will reverberate for years. We are already hearing from a number of (mostly smaller to medium-sized) physics departments who are being closed, reduced, or combined with other departments – mostly because of significant budgetary woes experienced by colleges and universities. This trend is (unfortunately) not new – APS has been witnessing this for many years and helping when we can. A lesson we have learned is that departments that plan for this potential are the ones that end up doing better when the dust has settled. Planning is not a guarantee, but it helps faculty members gain clarity on the realities facing university administrators and consequently allows them to synthesize solutions which can ameliorate consequences. 

          To this end, APS is developing a toolkit to help departments think and act strategically and to prepare to face budgetary or programmatic shifts that can imperil their mission. Two of our colleagues, Jim Borgardt (Juniata) and Courtney Lannert (Smith / UMass) are leading this along with an advisory team that includes Eric Brewe (Drexel), Scott Franklin (RIT), Jesús Pando (DePaul), and myself. We hope to have this out in draft form by the end of January 2021. It is being embedded in the soon-to-be-released Effective Practices for Physics Programs (EP3) Guide, also having an initial release in January. EP3 contains specific, actionable advice on how to improve undergraduate physics programs with topics that include recruitment, retention, advising and mentoring, help with external program review, guidance for new (and existing) chairs, equity and inclusion, introductory courses, assessment of student learning, undergraduate research, and much more. 

          I encourage everyone to take a look at the Toolkit and the EP3 guide. You can find them both at  This release will include about half of our planned sections with releases of the remaining ones throughout 2021. You can sign up for our somewhat infrequent email updates (we won’t clog your inbox) on the site to hear about developments. 

          Finally, a Toolkit spoiler alert: develop a good working relationship with your dean (and/or provost) and understand the metrics they use to evaluate departments (e.g., student credit hours).

          New White Paper from AAPT: How to Work With External Evaluators

          Stephanie Chasteen and Alexis Knaub, STEM Education and Evaluation Consulting

          Have you wondered how to work effectively with an external evaluator, or budget for their work appropriately? We’re pleased to announce a new white paper for the community, authored by experienced evaluators Stephanie Chasteen and Alexis Knaub, for the AAPT Professional Concerns committee. The paper is peppered with practical advice and quotes from experienced PIs and evaluators.  Read it here:  We would also like to remind everybody that they can find a variety of physics education consultants (including external evaluators), or list themselves as a consultant, at

          Below are some highlights from the paper:

          Speaking broadly, project evaluation is an objective assessment of a project. Evaluation provides both a feedback mechanism to improve the project and an examination of the degree to which it has achieved its goals. Evaluators use a variety of strategic and purposeful data sources (e.g., surveys, interviews, document review, tracking outputs, etc.) to identify project successes, challenges, and provide recommendations for improvement and sustainability. The nature of evaluations and evaluators varies widely, and finding the right fit between the evaluator and your project is critical in terms of the evaluator’s knowledge but also in terms of the working relationship.

          Evaluations, and the programs themselves, are most successful when clients are eager to learn from the evaluation results to inform their planning and decision-making processes. - Heather Thiry, EER CU Boulder; experienced evaluator

          Evaluators can be thought of as a “critical friend;” the inquiry and outside perspective of the evaluator can help the project team work through important issues in a supportive way. There are many types of evaluators -- part-time, full-time, self-employed, employed at a private firm or academic institution, with or without formal training in evaluation. Regardless of their position or background, evaluators are assessment experts who want to bring that expertise to bear to help projects thrive. A good evaluator will help project leaders think through their goals and strategies, how to measure those goals, and the implications of data and results.  

          I help a project identify its successes. We (as project PIs) often aren’t really aware of what we’re accomplishing, either because we’re just scrambling to get through each week or because we lack perspective. I also help a project identify its problems. People are usually most aware of their problems, but they think that when they talk about them they are just complaining or “venting” to me, when I see them as identifying important obstacles to their continued success. - Rachel Scherr, University of Washington Bothell; experienced evaluator and PI

          A primary aim of the evaluation is to be useful to the project. In the words of senior evaluator Michael Quinn Patton, “the purpose of an evaluation is not to produce a report.”

          It’s best to bring an evaluator into a project early in the grant proposal-writing project, to ensure that they can weigh in appropriately on the evaluation scope and budget, and that expectations are clear on all sides. At the proposal stage, you will need to identify the evaluator, the general scope, and the budget for the evaluation. The best evaluations are planned collaboratively by the evaluator and the project team so that the evaluation is responsive to the needs and interests of the project while reflecting the expertise and approach of the particular evaluator. Once the project is funded, more detailed planning must be undertaken, including identifying expectations for the client- evaluator relationship.

          Throughout the project, effective collaboration with your evaluator will help you get the most value from their engagement, ensure the working relationship goes smoothly, and maintains the professional integrity of the project. Ideally, the evaluation is a partnership between the evaluator and the program team. This requires setting clear expectations, maintaining regular communication, responding appropriately to changes in the project or evaluation, ensuring the evaluator has access to project data, and responding to evaluation feedback. You should expect ethical behavior from your evaluator, and should also treat your evaluator ethically. Such open, respectful communication and collaboration ensures that the evaluator, the evaluation, and the project are set up for success.

          Please see the full white paper for more discussion about choosing an evaluator, budget and scope for evaluations, writing the evaluation plan, and effective collaboration with an evaluator:

          Stephanie V. Chasteen, Ph.D.
          , has a doctorate in Condensed Matter Physics. She has been working professionally in the field of physics education and education research since 2005, and as a consultant and external evaluator for over a decade. She has served as a consultant for 43 STEM education reform projects (21 as external evaluator), including the Workshop for New Physics Faculty, Effective Practices for Physics Programs, Phys21, PhysTEC, and various conferences. She is ever grateful to those who let her develop this expertise by engaging her on their projects in the early years of her evaluation career. She is an active member of the American Evaluation Association, as well as the American Association of Physics Teachers and the American Physical Society. Within physics, she has worked to promote the value and professionalization of external evaluation as a field. More at

          Alexis V. Knaub, Ed.D, earned a bachelor’s in physics, a master’s in physics, and a doctorate in science education (specializing in physics education). She started working in external evaluation as a postdoc in 2014 and has continued working as a consultant and external evaluator since then. As a researcher and external evaluator, she has worked on a variety of projects in postsecondary STEM education. Much of this work focuses on the sustainability and propagation of projects, sustained change, and equity, diversity, & inclusion. For more information, please visit .

          Teacher Preparation

          Alma Robinson, Virginia Tech

          As colleges and universities continue to offer remote instruction, physics teacher preparation programs have found creative ways to recruit future teachers and keep their preservice teachers engaged.

          A few months ago, Dimitri Dounas-Frazer invited me to participate on a panel for his introductory physics for future teachers course at Western Washington University. I agreed, hoping that the students would enjoy hearing from panelists with a wide range of experiences and perspectives. But the students were even more engaged than I had expected, so following the panel, I asked if Dounas-Frazer and Isabel Mills, the teaching assistant for the course, if they would be willing to write an article about this activity. In their article, they describe the course activities and pedagogies leading up to the panel, the implementation of the panel, and the students’ responses. 

          Allison Daubert and Jeff Williams of Bridgewater State University (BSU), a PhysTEC recruitment grant site, explain how they pivoted their original recruitment and retention plans to match the constraints of remote learning. They partnered with local community college faculty to share recruiting videos, successfully recruited a new tutor at one of the community colleges and new learning assistants at BSU, and implemented a new physics teaching seminar course for BSU students.

          Incorporating Virtual Panels Into a Physics Course for Future Teachers: One Teaching Team’s Experience

          Isabel F. Mills, SMATE Program, Western Washington University

          Dimitri R. Dounas-Frazer, SMATE Program, Western Washington University

          Here, we describe our experience incorporating virtual panels in two sections of an introductory physics course for future teachers. The article is split into two parts. First, Dimitri (the instructor of record) describes the motivation and preparation for the panels. Next, Isabel (the teaching assistant) describes our implementation and the students’ responses.

          Motivation and preparation (Dimitri)

          When I started working at Western Washington University in January 2019, I embraced a new-to-me teaching principle: knowing physics means knowing who physicists are, what they do, how they do it, and why. After floating an idea with anti-oppression consultant Regan Byrd—with whom I was then in an accountability partnership—I began implementing a featured physicist activity in the classes I teach [1-3]. The activity involves short in-class presentations about women and nonbinary physicists, mostly women of color. The featured physicist activity supports me in disrupting the incorrect perception that all physicists are white men—a perception that, as a white man myself, I unintentionally reinforce through my presence in the classroom.

          I recently embraced another new-to-me teaching principle: students need dedicated time at the end of the term to process what they learned. Accordingly, I have stopped introducing new content during the last week of class. Instead, I now aim to create opportunities for students to revisit ideas from class. Last fall, I taught two sections of a physics course for future teachers, each culminating in a four-person panel during which students could engage with panelists about ideas from class. Panelists were men and women from diverse racial and ethnic backgrounds with at least a bachelor’s degree in physics, geophysics, or astronomy. The panels helped me align my teaching practice with both of my new principles: providing students with end-of-term synthesis time and teaching them about the ‘who, how, and why’ of physics.

          When organizing the panels, I reached out to my personal network for recommendations, and I contacted several of the people whom I featured in class even though I had never met them before. I was upfront with people about the fact that I could not pay them for their time, energy, and expertise. I offered to write (and followed through with writing) letters on official letterhead acknowledging their contributions to science education and teacher preparation in the State of Washington. The following people agreed to be panelists: physics researchers Moumita Das and Munazza Alam; education researchers Charles Ramey II and Johan Tabora; secondary teachers Bouakham Sriri Perez and Tamia Williams; Alma Robinson, a teacher in residence; and Harjit Singh, a community organizer.

          Throughout the planning process, I regularly updated Isabel about progress and copied her on key messages between me and the panelists. Once all panelists had confirmed their participation, Isabel and I worked together to implement the panels and support students in preparing for them.

          Implementation and responses (Isabel)

          Students used one class period to research the panelists and form relevant questions for them. Afterwards, Dimitri and I collected all the students’ questions into a question bank for students to refer to during the panels. In order to best facilitate a powerful learning experience, we modified the questions to be consistent with our expectation of meaningful engagement between students and panelists. Prior to the panel, we shared the question bank with panelists.

          On the day of the panel, Dimitri and I read short bios for each panelist when introducing them, and we prompted them to describe any current projects they were working on. Students then had the opportunity to virtually raise their hand and ask spontaneous questions or pull questions from the bank. Panels lasted one hour, leaving time for about three student-led questions in one panel and about six in the other. Students inquired about topics ranging from issues of identity in the fields of physics and education, strategies for engaging young learners in physics, and impacts of virtual learning on students. Panelists and students engaged energetically and thoughtfully throughout the panel. 

          After the panel, students were asked to write commentaries about the activity. In their commentaries, most students expressed that participating in the panel was a new and enjoyable experience for them. As I read the responses, I observed two themes common among the majority of students. First, students voiced appreciation for the panelists’ commitment to reducing the fear of physics that many students feel when entering the classroom. Second, most students drew meaning from the personal stories the panelists told about their physics journeys in relation to their identities. Some students described the significance of seeing their own identities represented among the panelists, while others indicated that the intersection of physics and identity was a new concept for them. Below is an excerpt from one student’s commentary (shared with permission): 

          “Throughout my student years, kindergarten through 12th grade, I have only had one teacher that wasn’t white. So to see these panelists, who also served in the education field, kind of just proved to me that I do belong there. Honestly, I wasn’t quite sure about what this panel would entail but it was an incredible experience, that I will never forget. It also gave me a lot of hope and it truly inspired me to be that representation to future generations.” ~ Jennifer Escobar Lopez

          Conclusion (Isabel and Dimitri)

          We are grateful to the panelists for volunteering their time and energy, without which the panel would not have been possible. Further, we thank Alma Robinson for providing us with the encouragement and opportunity to externalize our experience in the FEd Newsletter. We look forward to continuing to learn from and with physics educators about how to humanize physics education. 

          Isabel F. Mills is a Graduate Student in the Woodring College of Education at Western Washington University and a Teaching Assistant in the Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education (SMATE) Program. She is pursuing a master's in teaching with a physics endorsement. Her anticipated graduation date is June 2022.

          Dimitri R. Dounas-Frazer is an Assistant Professor of Physics and Astronomy and of Science, Mathematics, and Technology Education at Western Washington University. He specializes in physics education research, with an emphasis on understanding and describing student and instructor experiences in laboratory courses. Through the WWU SMATE Program, Dr. Dounas-Frazer teaches introductory physics to aspiring K-5 teachers.

          [1] Regan Byrd Consulting,
          [2] D. R. Dounas-Frazer, R. Byrd, and S. A. Hyater-Adams, “A model for self-accountability in academia,” PERCoGS Newsletter 14, 4 (2018).
          [3] A. Agrawal, “Featuring Diverse Physicists,” Optics & Photonics News 31, 22 (2020).

          Virtual Physics Teacher Recruitment at Bridgewater State University

          Allison Daubert, Bridgewater State University

          Jeff Williams, Bridgewater State University

          Bridgewater State University (BSU) in Bridgewater, MA is a state university with a student population of about 10,000 students and a rich history in teacher preparation. At the end of summer 2019, we were awarded a $25,000 PhysTEC recruitment grant to increase the number of physics teachers we graduate. The original proposal was a two-pronged effort with a focus on offering early teaching experiences. We planned to visit local community colleges to engage students with Get the Facts Out material and then follow up with offers for them to become paid peer mentors for their community college classes. At BSU, we would recruit physics majors who were open to teaching as a career to become learning assistants for our algebra-based physics sequence. Both groups of students would be mentored by our Teacher in Residence.

          With pandemic restrictions in place at BSU and our partner community colleges, we had to adjust our strategy to make the best of our new reality. We pivoted our plan to focus on fully remote recruitment into our physics teacher preparation program and to reinforce retainment of the physics education majors we already had. Our new recruitment strategy would need to work for the asynchronous community colleges courses as well as the synchronous remote courses at BSU.

          Early in the pandemic, we created Get the Facts Out videos on YouTube to share with students at the community colleges, but the community college students were not engaging with the videos based on viewership statistics. With that lesson learned, we partnered with our community college professors to create new videos that would serve as graded quizzes or homework assignments in the targeted introductory classes. The new videos featured the teacher in residence, along with BSU physics education students, demonstrating a physics experiment and setting up a problem to be solved. We highlighted different aspects of the Get the Facts out material in each video through testimonial segments and ‘Did you knows’ from the Get the Facts Out material. At one of our participating community colleges, we had eight students express some level of interest in considering teaching science as a career at the end of the semester, and we have hired one of them as a tutor at his community college. Though it was more difficult than we anticipated to work virtually with the community college professors and students, we edged the plan forward and hope to continue to grow this partnership after the pandemic.  

          At BSU, physics classes became fully remote and synchronous. For those classes, we presented Get the Facts Out materials through Zoom. We identified two students who expressed interest in teaching physics but were still undecided. Both of these students participated as paid learning assistants and have now entered our physics education program.  

          The second part of our new plan focused on the retainment of our current physics education majors. Knowing that our students would face many challenges continuing their college education during the pandemic, we made it a priority to support and retain them. In the spring of 2019, we began teaching the first of a one-credit physics teaching a seminar on a four-semester rotation of topics (Mechanics I, Mechanics II, Electricity and Magnetism, Waves and Optics). We decided to focus efforts in this seminar on community building, physics teacher identity, and the foundations of physics pedagogical content knowledge. 

          Classwork in the physics teaching seminar in Fall 2020 was designed to promote discussion and collaboration among our pre-service teachers while minimizing any added stress during the semester. Opportunities to actively collaborate on physics in a low-stress way were the foundation of the course. “Teaching physics is a team sport” became a common refrain. The final for the course was an oral exam that featured physics problems written about marbles and then ended in a surprise marble racing competition on YouTube with a prize for the person who correctly picked the winning marble. One of our students ended our final exam block by saying “thank you, professor, I really needed that.” 

          Though this was a difficult semester, we managed to retain 100% of our physics education majors, recruit three new students into the program, and broaden our program’s visibility across the area.  

          Allison Daubert is a former high school physics teacher and currently Teacher in Residence at Bridgewater State University. 

          Jeff Williams is a Professor of Physics at BSU with an established interest in helping pre- and in-service physics teachers.

          Browsing the Journals

          Carl Mungan, United States Naval Academy,

          • An article on page 596 of the November 2020 issue of The Physics Teacher ( considers a race between metal rods that pivot from a vertical to a horizontal position when released at a corner between the floor and a wall. Theory, experiment, and computer simulation all compare well. The rods include no, one, or two point masses attached at points along their lengths. For light point masses, the winner is a rod with one point mass added at one-third of the rod’s length away from the pivot point. Page 625 of the December issue suggests that, while physics textbooks are making efforts to show more images of women and girls, they remain sexist in that such images are much more likely to be of ballet dancers, cooks, and mothers with children than say of soccer players. In the same issue, an article on page 656 analyzes theoretically and experimentally the spike in tension just as a yo-yo passes through its lowermost position to begin climbing back up the string.

          • An article on page 1036 of the December 2020 issue of the American Journal of Physics ( asks what happens to the length of an incompressible solid rubber cylinder if you twist it? The interesting answer is it elongates. Accompanying the article on page 1041 are some lovely movies of tea leaves showing flow vertices when a rapidly rotating bucket of water is suddenly arrested. In the January 2021 issue, I appreciated the letters to the editor (oops, I made the error Rod Cross points out in one of my articles in that same issue!) as well as the laboratory experiment of standing waves in a coaxial cable on page 105.

          • A group of Taiwanese educators show that it is not hard to account for air drag when doing a lab to determine g for a falling object in article 015014 of the January 2021 issue of Physics Education. I also liked the directive in article 015501 of the same issue that we should stop using the work function of the emitter rather than of the collector when analyzing the photoelectric effect. Vollmer explains why Cherenkov radiation appears blue in article 065304 of the November 2020 issue of the European Journal of Physics. Article 015008 in the January 2021 issue points out that a ball cannot roll without slipping around a loop-the-loop if the normal force gets small enough (but still nonzero). Both journals can be accessed online starting at

          • A fun discussion of student thinking about dividing four cubes (with sides of 6, 8, 10, and 12 cm) into two equal-weight piles is in article 2301 of the June 2020 issue of the Latin-American Journal of Physics archived at

          • The November 2020 issue of the Journal of Chemical Education discusses running a Jacob’s Ladder arc with salt-coated electrodes to produce stunning colors on page 4091. Circular dichroism is reviewed on page 4370 of the December issue. The journal archives are at

          • Bound Schrödinger states of spherically symmetric potentials are treated in the November 2020 issue of Resonance. I was also amused by the brief proof comparing the sizes of AB and BA on page 127 of the January 2021 issue. The journal can be freely accessed at

          • Article 020151 in Physical Review Physics Education Research at argues that physics education researchers should not only produce instructional materials that can be immediately used in a classroom, but also develop products that help instructors create their own resources.

          Web Watch

          Carl Mungan, United States Naval Academy,

          • The webpage is devoted to the history of and science applications on the International Space Station.
          • A fabulous online oscilloscope is at Try turning on the microphone and sweep, or the signal generator. Adjust the gain and milliseconds/div as needed.

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          Disclaimer — The articles and opinion pieces found in this issue of the APS Forum on Education Newsletter are not peer refereed and represent solely the views of the authors and not necessarily the views of the APS