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So far Jeff Phillips has created 223 entries.

“Physics Library” Open House – Oct 7

There will be an OPEN HOUSE on Saturday October 7 of the SCAAPT Physics Library.  The library is a collection of books, videos, and laboratory and demonstration equipment that is freely available to teachers of Southern California to borrow from.  Normally, the library is open by appointment with the librarian (James Lincoln), please let James know if you would like to stop in at another date.

The open house will be from 9am to 2pm and takes place at the library location:
The Physics Library
43 Hartford Drive
Newport Beach, CA

We are always seeking donations of equipment, books, and journals.  This library’s initial operations have been supported by a grant from the Brown Foundation who also funds the SCAAPT New Physics Teacher Workshops.  SCAAPT is a 501(c)(3) non-profit and monetary donations are tax-deductible if you would like to support this effort as we try to grow and continue the collection into the future.  Please let James know if you have equipment to donate or have other questions.

At the open house there will also be a kids table of science toys and books (if you have kids) and some light refreshments.  This is an open house so you don’t have to RSVP, simply drop in.  If you would like to let James know you are coming you can email him or make an appointment by phone which is typical of library patrons.

Call for Fall Meeting Submissions

SCAAPT is pleased to announce that the Fall Meeting will take place November 4 at Saddleback College.

Details about the meeting will be announced soon, but first we need your help to complete the schedule.  Please consider giving a presentation at the meeting.  These member-contributed presentations are what make the meeting useful. You can share an activity that you have done with your students, show off a demonstration (old or new!), describe a research study that you did on student learning, etc.  Anything that enhances teachers’ understanding of physics or physics teaching is welcomed.

Submissions can be made via the online submission form.

2018 Conference of Undergraduate Women in Physics

A Conference of Undergraduate Women in Physics (CUWIP) will be held January 12 – 14, 2018 at Cal Poly Pomona, Pomona College, and Harvey Mudd.  See and for more information.

Please encourage your female undergraduate students to apply by the October 13th deadline. The local hosts are extending a special invitation to community college students.

Tenure Track Assistant Professor in Astronomy and Astrophysics

The Department of Physics and Astronomy at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona invites applications for a tenure-track position at the rank of Assistant Professor to begin in August 2018. We welcome applications from observers and theorists across the full range of specialties in astronomy and astrophysics. Applicants must have a Ph.D. in physics, astronomy, or a closely related discipline by August 2018. Applicants are expected to demonstrate a strong commitment to excellence in teaching and the ability to teach introductory and advanced undergraduate courses in physics and astronomy. The successful candidate will demonstrate a commitment to contribute, teach, and engage in a multicultural environment with a diverse student body. Previous teaching experience and evidence of independent scholarship is preferred.

The successful candidate will establish a research program involving undergraduate students. Astrophysical research areas of current faculty include star formation, the ISM, H II regions, massive stars, black holes, relativity, and astronomy education. The Department offers a wide range of courses in astronomy and astrophysics, including a new lab course in observational astronomy or computational astrophysics. Cal Poly Pomona is the lead institution for two programs aimed at increasing diversity in astronomy and physics, CAMPARE ( and Cal-Bridge ( The department also hosts the Milky Way Project citizen science initiative, one of the original 10 Zooniverse projects ( The department has a large, active, and diverse student body with close faculty–student interactions and a history of success in obtaining funding from NSF and other external sources.

More information can be found at or by contacting the search chair, Dr. Matt Povich (

CSULB Colloquium- Sept 25

California State University, Long Beach
Monday, September 25, 2017 11:15am in PH1-223
(Refreshments served at 10:45am in HSCI-224)

Neutron Stars – Challenges and Opportunities
Prof. Thomas Klähn
California State University Long Beach

During the last decades numerous theoretical investigations, laboratory experiments as well as astronomical observations have been conducted to constrain thermodynamic properties and chemical composition of stellar matter relevant to the description of compact stars, core collapse supernovae and neutron star mergers. These systems are of particular interest as they provide conditions where matter reaches densities several times the saturation density of nuclear matter, viz. the density of an atomic nucleus. This raises the unique possibility that, given sufficiently large density or temperature, the postulated transition from nuclear to quark matter degrees of freedom can be realized in nature. By this fact, the study of dense astrophysical objects, in particular neutron stars, is an invaluable complement to the ongoing search for the quark-gluon plasma in terrestrial high energy collision experiments. New techniques such as gravitational wave astronomy or the recently launched NICER mission promise exciting new data and future insights. The intrinsic connection between the macroscopic structure and evolution of such astrophysical objects and the underlying fundamental interactions between the constituent particles at the microscopic level makes the study of neutron stars and related systems difficult and at the same time very rewarding. It challenges our understanding of nature on both scales. In my presentation, I will discuss mainly the connection between neutron star phenomenology and the underlying equation of state which reflects our current understanding of (not only) the strong interaction.

Assistant/Associate Professor in Physics

The Department of Mathematics and Physics at Azusa Pacific University invites applications for a full-time faculty position in physics.  Applicants with the ability to teach courses in optics, astronomy, computational physics, engineering, statistics, or applied mathematics may be given special consideration.

The successful candidate will teach upper- and lower-division lecture and lab courses in physics, general education science, and possibly in related disciplines, such as engineering; conduct research involving undergraduate students; participate in mentoring and academic advising of undergraduate students; and participate in department and university affairs.

Azusa Pacific University is a Christ-centered, multicultural community that values and seeks faculty who are committed to diversity and engage others in ways that honor our rich cultural mosaic and biblical foundation. Candidates must align with Azusa Pacific University’s Christian identity. Faculty members are expected to sign a Statement of Faith (available at and to integrate the Christian faith in teaching and scholarship.

To apply, see detailed version of this announcement. Review of applications will begin immediately, and the position will remain open until filled.

Announcing the Fall Meeting

SCAAPT will hold it’s Fall Meeting November 4, 2017 at Saddleback College.  Please mark your calendars!  We’ll be updating our website (and sending out emails) with details shortly.

In the mean time, start planning a 15-minute talk or a 5-min Show & Tell that you can share with other physics teachers. We need your help to make the meeting a successful one.

Tenure-track position in biophysics

The Department of Physics at Loyola Marymount University seeks a tenure track Assistant Professor of Physics in the field of Biophysics (experimental, theoretical, or computational), starting Fall 2018. Applicants must have a Ph.D. in Physics at the time of employment.

The successful candidate will help spearhead the department’s initiative to expand its curriculum by developing an undergraduate Biophysics program, as well as enhance interdisciplinary connections within the College of Science and Engineering. In addition, he/she will be expected to develop a research program in Biophysics that can involve undergraduate student participation. The successful candidate will also teach undergraduate physics courses at all levels, as well as contribute to the University Core through first year seminars or courses for non-majors. LMU faculty are expected to contribute to service at the Department, College, and University levels.

Please submit a CV, list of publications, description of research interests, and statement of teaching philosophy, online at The applicant will also arrange for three letters of recommendation to be sent to (subject line: “Tenure Track search”). For full consideration, completed applications should be received by December 1st 2017

CSULB Colloquium- Sept 18

California State University, Long Beach
Monday, September 18, 2017 11:15am in PH1-223
(Refreshments served at 10:45am in HSCI-224)
Constraining Planet Formation with Directly Imaged Exoplanets
Prof. Quinn Konopacky
Physics in the Center for Astrophysics and Space Sciences at UC San Diego

In the past decade, several new jovian exoplanets at wide separations have been revealed using ground based telescopes equipped with adaptive optics systems. These planets, with masses between ~2-14 MJup, remain a puzzle for both major planet formation models – core accretion and gravitational instability. At the same time, they offer a powerful tool in the hunt for observational constraints of formation, as they can be characterized with both imaging and spectroscopy. I will describe our recent efforts to push beyond the discovery phase into the realm of detailed characterization of these planetary systems. Using the Keck adaptive optics instrument suite, we have been targeting the HR 8799 multiplanet system. Astrometric monitoring with imaging over the course of a decade has allowed for orbital constraints in HR 8799 based on a self-consistent data set. This has allowed us to minimize systematic uncertainties and determine that the planets are likely co-planar and have low eccentricities. Spectroscopic observations of HR 8799b and c have yielded the best-ever spectra for any exoplanet. Using these observations, we have measured the C/O ratio in these planets, which can be used as a diagnostic of formation. Finally, I will discuss a new discovery with the Gemini Planet Imager of a substellar companion to a debris disk host star, HR 2562.  This object seems to have the mass of a brown dwarf (~30 MJup), but orbits within a cleared inner hole in the debris disk. Future observations of the planet and disk could point to evidence of a “planet-like” formation process for this companion in spite of its high mass.

Teaching Colloquia

LMU’s Center for Teaching Excellence is sponsoring a visit by Nobel Laureate and distinguished educational researcher Carl Wieman.  To be assured of seating, please RSVP to:

Wednesday, September 6, 2017
Life Science Auditorium
Loyola Marymount University
4:00 – 5:30 pm

Advances in research on learning and teaching and their relevance to the evaluation of teaching

While there has been enormous progress in the knowledge and research methods in academic disciplines over the past 500 years, the teaching has remained largely medieval. This is starting to change, as there has been great progress in research on teaching and learning in the past few decades. When the insights from this research have been implemented in university classrooms, dramatic improvements in learning have been seen when compared to traditional lecture instruction, particularly on tests that capture how well the student is able to make decisions like an expert in the subject. Although the classroom studies have mostly been carried out in science and engineering, they are based on fundamental cognitive psychology/learning science principles that apply quite generally. This research makes a strong case that the extent of use of effective research-based teaching methods is a much better predictor of student learning and success than other methods for evaluating teaching. I will briefly review these advances in research on teaching and learning, and then discuss practical means to characterize teaching practices used in individual courses, followed by an open discussion.


Carl Wieman received the Nobel Prize in physics in 2001 for creating an incredible new state of matter, the Bose- Einstein condensate. He was named US Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation in 2004. Carl used his Nobel Prize money to create the popular PHET website, which provides numerous simulations in […]