On December 6, 2008, the Department of Physics and Astronomy held the first annual Union College Physical Constants Workshop for high school physics teachers and students. Seven teachers and 17 students worked in teams to perform experiments to measure fundamental physical constants and gain experience with modern instrumentation and laboratory techniques such as high-resolution video analysis, scattering experiments with a particle accelerator, and scanning electron microscopy.
The workshop included five schools from the Capital District, and also two Union alumni, Justin King ’06 and Nicole Sabbatino ’06, who are now teaching at Commack and North Shore high schools on Long Island. Six faculty members from the Department of Physics and Astronomy ran experiments for the workshop, along with two current students, Brandon Bartell ’10 and Tom Perry ’09.
The goals of the workshop are to stimulate students to study physics and pursue careers in science, provide teachers with an exciting and enriching professional development experience, and to establish a network through which the Department of Physics and Astronomy can support local high school physics education. The workshop was supported by the New York State Section of the American Physical Society and the Department of Physics and Astronomy.
(See also the story in the Union college Chronicle)