The New Jersey Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers (NJAAPT) is a professional organization whose focus is on physics education and educational research.  NJAAPT is committed to outreach and support for Physics teachers.  The majority of NJAAPT members are high school and college faculty teaching in New Jersey.    Activities and resources include Workshops, Conferences, Meetings, Sharing Sessions, Lectures, a Listserve, and a Website.

Click on “Calendar of Events” on the top menu to see the events that are offered this year.

Northeast Regional Meeting Announcement

The American Association of Physics Teachers

and Bergen Community College


A High School and College Physics

Teachers Workshop


400 Paramus Road

Paramus NJ

Technology Building – Room 128


October 2 and 3, 2015


All professors, teachers of physics and earth sciences, and students are welcome to attend.





Friday October 2, 2015


3:30 – 6 pm – Registration


4:00 – 6:00 pm – Introduction to Physics Union Mathematics (PUM): How to help your students develop science practices and master crosscutting concepts

Eugenia Etkina, Rutgers University, Michael Boan and Josh Smith, North Arlington High School


This workshop will introduce the foundational philosophy of Physics Union Mathematics (PUM) curriculum modules (http://pum.rutgers.edu ). PUM seamlessly integrates learning of science practices, cross cutting concepts and fundamental mathematical ideas into student-centered learning of traditional physics content. The participants will experience several PUM activities as students and then engage in the discussions of practical implementation with the teachers who use the curriculum. PUM modules can be used in middle school physical science, Physics First, college Prep Physic, Honors Physics and AP physics I and II.


6:00 pm – dinner


7:30 pm – Talk – Student of physics: listeners, observers or collaborative participants in the practice of physics? Eugenia Etkina, Rutgers University


Dr. Eugenia Etkina is a Professor of Science Education at Rutgers University and is also part of the Graduate School of Education

10 Seminary Place, New Brunswick. She was born and educated in Russia, where she was awarded her PhD in Physics Education from Moscow State Pedagogical University. She has over 30 years of physics teaching experience (this includes middle school, high school and university physics). Professor Etkina designed and now coordinates one of the largest programs in physics teacher preparation in the U.S., she conducts professional development for high school and university physics instructors, and participates in reforms to undergraduate physics courses. In 1993 she developed an approach to learning physics in which students learn physics using the processes that mirror scientific practice. The approach was enriched when she began collaborating with Alan Van Heuvelen in 2000 and now is known as Investigative Science Learning Environment (ISLE).  Since 2000 they have developed curriculum materials based on ISLE, conducted over 100 workshops for physics instructors, and published College Physics – a textbook in which ISLE is implemented. Eugenia is an active researcher who published over 50 peer-refereed articles and a dedicated teacher, who in 2010 received the highest teaching award at Rutgers University and the Millikan Medal in 2014.



Scientists and especially physicists have their own, very special ways of developing new knowledge, solving new problems, and talking about what they do. Is this valuable aspect of physics something that our students could learn in high school or introductory college courses or it belongs exclusively to professionals and is acquired through years of participating in “doing physics”? Development of the Next Generation Science Standards, revisions of AP courses and new MCAT indicate that this aspect of physics (and other sciences) is something that is as valuable as the final product of scientific labor – concepts and mathematical representations that have been traditionally the focus of our science courses. Science practices are the central points of all these innovations. The talk will share educational ideas and curriculum approaches that make these practices an integral part of learning physics without losing conceptual and mathematical focus.



Following the talk – An evening of astronomical observations using the Bergen Emil Buehler Trust Observatory’s 16” Telescopes (weather permitting).


Saturday October 3, 2015


8:30 am – 9:30 am registration and breakfast


9:30 am – 10:30 am Talk #1 – Dr Kimberly Ennico Smith – “Pluto Revealed: First Results from the First Mission to this distant world.”


Dr Kimberly Ennico Smith is a research astrophysicist at NASA’s Ames Research Center, Moffett Field, California, with an emphasis on astronomical instrumentation. At present she is Co-Investigator and deputy Project Scientist for NASA’s New Horizons Pluto Fly-by Mission, Instrument Scientist for the Regolith & Environment Science and Oxygen & Lunar Volatile Extraction (RESOLVE) Near-Infrared Volatile Spectrometer System, and Instrument Scientist for the Mid-Infrared Spectroscopy Mode for the Stratospheric Observatory for Infrared Astronomy (SOFIA) FORCAST Instrument




10:30 am – 11:30 am – Talk #2 – Dr. Jessica Sunshine “The Wonderful Diversity of Comets as Revealed by Spacecraft Encounters”


Dr. Sunshine is a Professor of Astronomy at the University of Maryland, and is a member of the science team for multiple space missions including Galileo’s lunar and asteroid flybys, Dawn at the asteroid Vesta, the Moon Mineralogy Mapper instrument onboard India’s Chandrayaan-1 mission, and the Deep Impact and Stardust NeXT cometary encounters.



11:30 am – 12:30 pm – Poster sessions, View the Sun through Bergen Community College’s Solar Telescope (weather permitting).


12:30 – 1:30 pm – lunch


1:30 2:30 Talk #3 Dr. Nima Arkani-Hamed

Institute of Advanced Studies, Princeton University.. title TBD (CERN Related)


Dr. Nima Arkani-Hamed earned his Ph.D. in Physics from the University of California-Berkeley. He was an assistant professor at the University of California, a professor at Harvard University, and is currently a faculty member of the Institute of Advanced Studies in Princeton, NJ. He is the recipient of a Phi Beta Kappa teaching award from Harvard (2005), the Gribov Medal of the European Physical Society (2003), and a number of fellowships, including a Packard Fellowship and a Sloan Fellowship, and the Raymond and Beverly Sackler Prize in Physics (2008).   In July 2012, Nima was an inaugural awardee of the Fundamental Physics Prize, the most lucrative academic prize in the world.


New Jersey professional development credit will be awarded to each attendee from New Jersey who attends the conference:


Four hours of New Jersey professional development credit for Friday evening attendance

Seven hours of New Jersey professional development credit for Saturday attendance


For directions, please visit: www.bergen.edu/directions

Physics Positions in Newark

Newark Public Schools has an incredible opportunity to transform the school system into one that ensures that all of its students graduate to succeed in the college or career of their choice. This is an ambitious goal, and to get there we need the most knowledgeable, talented and dedicated teachers to apply!

We need educators who:

1. Believe all students can achieve at high levels

2. Are reflective and actively seek opportunities to grow

3. Effectively communicate with others

4. Treat all people with respect and dignity

5. Are content experts

We are actively recruiting Physics teachers for the 2015-2016 school year! We encourage you to apply for these positions by visiting the Teach Newark website at http://www.teachnewark.com/New Jersey has reciprocity with many states. Check the NJ State Department of Education website for more information.

Lauren Spillane

Manager of Recruitment and Selection

Newark Public Schools

Teach Newark

Lead Newark

Bergen CC Teaching Positions

Bergen Community College is looking for two people to teach Conceptual Physics in the fall. The textbook is Hewitt’s Conceptual Physics.

A Master’s or PhD degree in physics and teaching experience is required.

The two classes meet on:

Tuesday and Thursday from 9:30 am to 12:15 pm

Tuesday and Thursday from 1:45 pm to 5:40 pm – this class is a late start offering that begins on Sept 22.

Please contact Dr. Lynda Box (lbox@bergen.edu) if you are interested in teaching one of these classes. Please send her your current resume.

thank you!

Paul J. Griffo
Bergen Community College
Department of Physics

President’s Message

President’s Message



The 2014-15 year has come to an end and we can all be proud of the New Jersey Section for a very active term. Many members thoughts will be of relaxation for a couple of months before beginning a new school year, but the executive board will have the planning of the activities for 2015-16 to decide upon.


This past year provided many opportunities for the membership to be active in the life of the Section. So a summary of the sponsored events may encourage others to take part in the programs offered in the next school year.


The year began with a workshop on Energy at Georgian Court University chaired by Dan Kaplan and hosted by Anne Tabor-Morris of GCU. Numerous presenters, including Anthony Lapinski, provided valuable methods for teaching a difficult concept for students to grasp. A follow-up program on another topic is being discussed for next fall.


Also in October, the NJAAPT made its appearance at the NJSC with a table to promote our section and the national organization. Members of the section also conducted some sessions that were very popular from the attendance in the rooms.


November is the month that the northern part of the state gets to have a meeting at Bergen Community College in Paramus. Paul Griffo and Joe Civo put together a program of speakers along with the opportunity to view the sun through BCC’s solar telescopes. This year about 60 people attended and this included the general public.


December saw the return of Holiday Treats to our calendar. The site may have been different, Princeton University being our host, but the enthusiasm was as high as ever. Not only was a give-away table, and the presentation of the Holiday Treats boxes, but the door prizes donated by numerous organizations and suppliers provided a fitting end to a great evening. We look forward to being back at Princeton in December, 2015.


Congratulations to John Valente and Jessie Blair for the tremendous job they did in conducting the Physics Olympics in January. Over forty teams from more than twenty schools participated in the competition, not only demonstrating their knowledge of physics principles but also in answering the Fermi questions provided by Dave Maiullo and his student at Rutgers. Thanks to all who competed and volunteered their time to help conduct the Physics Olympics. This event is one of the most successful and longest running programs offered by the NJAAPT.


Our Sectional Meeting was held at Princeton University on Saturday, March 14 and was attended by over 50 of the Section. The theme was a follow-up to last year’s meeting to discuss the NGSS and the changes in the AP curriculum. In a similar format to the previous meeting, the morning session provided the group with information from our three speakers and the afternoon was devoted to breakout sessions so small groups could discuss the various topics that proved of greatest interest to the membership. The meeting concluded with a fast-paced demonstration show that captivated the audience.


On April 24th, a demonstration program was conducted at Princeton University and organized by Dan Kaplan. Ten of our members presented their favorite demonstrations and provided take home materials. A program that was supposed to last two hours extended to three and a half hours and they wanted more. It is our intention to repeat this event next year to excite even more people to attend.


Princeton University has been very supportive of the New Jersey Section and is willing to provide us with a site for future meetings and other events we may plan. We are extremely thankful to Geoff Gettlefinger, the Physics Dept. Manager, who has made it possible for us in the easiest possible way to use the facilities.


A very special thank you to Dan Kaplan for his proposing and conducting two workshops this summer. As you are well aware, Dan is teaching at the Governor’s School at Drew University for the second year. As he did last year, he will be leading a workshop in July for 20 of our members. He also will be conducting a QuarkNet workshop with Steve Schnitzer at Rutgers in July. Both of the events are completely filled and indicate that there is a need on the part of the NJAAPT to provide some events during the summer. These would certainly provide the spark for the new school year.


Personally, the work as president is made easier by the cooperation of the members of the executive board, especially this year. So a hearty thank you for all the hard work they put in during this year is warranted. To John Valente, Nancy Michelson, Tibi Dagiou-Luca, Dan Kaplan, Jessie Blair, Rich Urban, Dave Maiullo, Yitzhak Sharon, Joe Spaccavento, Jim Ferrara, Jim Signorelli, Carolyn Sealfon, and Pat Drury, thank you very much for all the hours spent in attending meetings and events to make the NJAAPT an organization that is so highly thought of by our colleagues at the AAPT. Special thanks must also be given to the members of our section who donate their time and efforts in presenting at the various workshops and events we sponsor. Without the help of the members of the section, we would not be able to provide the varied events that many attend. We are one of the most active sections of the national and it is something that all members should be proud.


As the summer is in full swing, a reminder that in October, the NJAAPT along with the New York and New England Sections will be meeting at Bergen Community College. The preliminary program is available at our website and we hope that you will take the opportunity to join us in attending the regional meeting.


Have a great summer and if you are attending either of the two summer programs, enjoy the time spent with your colleagues – it’s worth every minute of it.


Ray Polomski





Job Posting — South Jersey — Physics by the Sea!

Ocean City High School – Reposting
Teacher of Physics
Effective: September 1, 2015 through June 30, 2016

  • A Valid New Jersey Teacher of Physics or Teacher of Physical Science Certification required.
  • Criminal History background approval and proof of New Jersey residency required


As per contract

Interested applicants please apply online at:
Date of Posting:                  July 23, 2015

Deadline for Filing Applications:     August 3, 2015

Demo Shareathon

Physics Teachers will present a variety of physics demonstrations that will work well in Physics Classrooms.  This is a great chance to share ideas with fellow physics teachers.

Date: Friday, April 24, 2015   Start Time: 6:30PM

Free for members and their families, free for students.  $10 for non-members.  Non-member price includes a 1 year membership in NJAAPT.

To sign up, please link to: https://eventbrite.com/event/16270859579/

Refreshments will be served.

Attendees will earn 2.5 hours of education credit.  Attendess who also show some demonstrations will earn 3.5 hours of education credit.


NJAAPT 2015 Spring Meeting


Next Generation Science Standards information from Coleen Weiss-Magasic can be found at the top menu bar of the njaapt.org website.

Bob Goodman’s presentation from the NJAAPT Spring Meeting can be found here

On the website, you can also find posts about the Rutgers Irons Lectures, and Spring Fest. (scroll down, below).

John Roeder also offered a subscription to the Newsletter:  Teacher’s Clearinghouse for Science and Society Education.  Just email your request to John at      JLRoeder(at) aol.com

SciFest 2015

DATE: Saturday, March 28th, 2015 – Rain or Shine

Flyer:  click here

LOCATION: Activities will occur on Busch Campus at Rutgers University in Piscataway, NJ PARKING: Available in lots 54, 54A, 51A, 58, and 58A for vehicles without a Rutgers permit. LOCATION 1: Allison Road Classroom (ARC) Building Room 103, 618 Allison Road, Piscataway, NJ LOCATION 2: Life Sciences Building (LSB), 145 Bevier Road, Piscataway, NJ 08854

Welcome and Distribution of Raffle Tickets (ARC 103)
“Mad Science” Physics Demo Show (ARC 103)
Indoor Science “Side-Walk” Demos/Interactive Activities (LSB) Finale: Chemistry Demo Show by Bob Porcja (ARC 103)
Prize Raffle (ARC 103)

11:15 AM – 11:45 AM 11:45 AM – 12:30 PM 12:30 PM – 2:45 PM 3:00 PM – 4:30 PM 4:30 PM – 5:00 PM

Guests will be guided to and from these locations. Event starts at 11:15 AM in ARC 103.

Sandwiches will be served at 12:45 PM while supplies last. Local vendors will be around to purchase food.

A number of prizes and one grand prize will be raffled off at the end of the Chemistry Demonstration Show!

Indoor Side-Walk activities featuring the following Rutgers Organizations:

Astronomical Society

Association of Undergraduate Geneticists

Society of Physics Students

Science, Mathematics, & Engineering Outreach

Cognitive Science Club

American Institute of Chemical Engineers

Phi Sigma Rho

International Society for Optics and Photonics

Meteorology Club

Student Alliance of Computer Scientists

Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers

Photography Club

Biomedical Engineering Society

Material Advantage

Questions? Comments? Concerns? Email us at ru.scifest@gmail.com

Irons Lecture at Rutgers

Rutgers University Department of Physics and Astronomy

The 2015 Henry R. and Gladys V. Irons Lecture
in Physics and Astronomy

The Irons Lectures are free talks intended for the general public: high school students and teachers, college students and teachers, friends, neighbors, and anyone interested in science and science education.

Professor Sandra Faber

University of California, Santa Cruz
UCO/Lick Observatory

The Gift of Cosmic Time: Opportunity Seized or Opportunity Squandered?
2 P.M., Saturday March 28, 2015
Physics Lecture Hall, Busch Campus, Rutgers University

Flyer:  click here
A hundred years ago, astronomers did not know about the Big Bang, or that our Milky Way is a galaxy in a vast sea of billions of other galaxies. Our cosmic roots were a total mystery. Since then, a host of powerful telescopes in space and on the ground have revealed our cosmic past — how the Galaxy was formed, how the Sun and Earth were born, and how the very atoms that comprise our bodies and our planet were synthesized. Standing on this firm knowledge of the past, we can now look ahead to predict our cosmic future, and it is bright ahead. We appear to have been given the most precious gift of all — cosmic time — hundreds of millions of years of it. The supreme challenge is now before us: will we use this gift, or squander it? To what extent do we owe allegiance to a cause that is much larger than any of us: realizing the cosmic potential of a powerfully sentient species. Our growing cosmic understanding has finally raised the most profound moral question ever faced by our species — where is humanity headed?

Sandra Faber is University Professor at the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a staff member of the UCO/Lick Observatory. She is an observational astronomer with research interests in cosmology and galaxy formation. Some of her major discoveries include the first structural scaling law for galaxies (called the Faber-Jackson relation), large-scale flow perturbations in the expansion of the Universe caused by superclusters of galaxies, and black holes at the centers of galaxies. In 1984, she and three colleagues from UCSC and Cambridge University presented the first detailed treatment of galaxy formation based on which has since become the standard paradigm for galaxy and cluster formation in the Universe.
Faber was one of three astronomers who diagnosed the optical flaw in the Hubble Space Telescope, and she played a major role in its repair. She established the scientific case for the twin Keck 10m telescopes, which inspired a subsequent wave of giant optical telescope building all over the world. From 1994-2005 she was Principal Investigator of the DEIMOS spectrograph, a large optical multi-object spectrograph for the Keck 2 telescope that is the most powerful instrument of its kind in the world. She and colleagues used DEIMOS to conduct the DEEP redshift survey of the distant Universe, which collected spectra of 50,000 distant galaxies and exploited the immense power of Keck to see and study galaxy formation 10 billion years back in time. She now co-leads the CANDELS project, the largest project in the history of the Hubble Space Telescope, to extend our view of galaxy formation back nearly to the Big Bang. She has co-authored over 300 scientific papers, and her work has been cited over 46,000 times.

More information:

Directions to the department. Free parking will be in Lot 53A and Lot 53.
You may download a flyer (PDF format) for the Irons Lecture, suitable for copying and distribution.
For further information, contact Nancy DeHaan (nancy [at] physics.rutgers.edu, phone 848-445-8973)
to Rutgers Physics Home Page
Last revised: March 10, 2015

2015 NJAAPT Physics Olympics



Go to Information / Rules

Any questions, contact John Valente   jvalente@ctemc.org

We look forward to your school’s participation at the NJAAPT sponsored “NJ Physics Olympics” to be held on Saturday, January 17h, 2015 at Monmouth Regional High School. The competition is a lot of fun and your students will meet, share experiences, and compete with other students from various parts of New Jersey.

In order to participate you must complete the attached registration form and send your check within the deadline prescribed. Rules & directions can be obtained by e-mailing the event organizers at jvalente@ctemc.org. You can also request that your team be mailed the complete rules for the competition and directions to the event. The fee of $35.00 per team helps defray the cost of postage, supplies, trophies and donuts. IOU’s will be accepted in the case where school checks cannot be sent in time. No purchase orders can be accepted. The fee will be reduced to $25.00 per team if the team registers by December 15, 2014. Each team may have up to six members.

Each high school must have at least one faculty member accompanying the team who will be asked to help judge one of the events. More than one faculty member will be welcomed. We could really use the help.

On the day of the Olympics, plan on arriving for the final registration between 8:00 am and 9:00 am. The first event begins at 9:00am. The day’s activities should conclude around 2:30pm.

You may bring your own box lunches. The cafeteria will not be open. Morning refreshments will be served (coffee, tea, juice, bagels and donuts). Please note that there are no restaurants walking distance from the school. You may arrange to have pizza/subs delivered.

Since there are a maximum number of teams that we will be able to handle, we may have to ask for a multiple team school to only send one team. Should this happen we will notify you by January 7, 2015. Fees for eliminated teams will be refunded.