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Become Part of the Advanced Laboratory Physics Community

This page is provided as a service for all those involved in upper division laboratory education. The organizations and listservs described below offer venues in which faculty and staff from all over the world can exchange information and expertise.

Advanced Laboratory Physics Association (ALPhA)

You are invited to become part of an association dedicated to shining a spotlight on advanced laboratory instruction. The goal is to provide a forum for communication and to act as a centralized advocacy group spanning the American Physical Society and the American Association of Physics Teachers and including faculty from all over the world as well. It has already begun to forge a community of faculty and staff who can help each other to create and maintain superb upper division teaching laboratories.

Along with AAPT, APS and NSF, ALPhA helped to create the 2009 Topical Conference on Advanced Laboratories. During the summer of 2010, ALPhA initiated the Advanced Laboratory Immersions, a way to learn a new upper division experiment well enough to teach it with confidence. We wrote about the planning in our December 2009 newsletter. The experience exceeded all expectations of both participants and mentors and NSF Funding is now in place to support several more years of summer immersions. Watch the ALPhA website for updates.

This summer (2012) the same sponsors will bring you Beyond the First Year (BFY) - a conference on upper division laboratory instruction.

To sign up for ALPhA, please go to http://www.advlab.org.


Advanced Laboratory Listserv

An active advanced laboratory listserv is maintained by the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) . The service is free. You can subscribe,or just browse, at http://mail.aapt.org/read/login/.

To get started, without joining, do not put in your email address. Just click on All Forums and then click on advlabs-l (in the left column). You will be able to see previous submissions. Clicking on the upper right magnifying glass will allow you to search words in the subject lines of messages. If there is a thread with follow-up messages, you can view the whole set by clicking on the subject line.

If you want to subscribe, but would prefer to get the postings as just one collection each day in a single email, you can do this. Once you have subscribed, go again to http://mail.aapt.org/read/login. Log in and click on My Forums in the left column. Under Membership Type, you can select "digest: one daily email with all messages for that day" or other options. If you click on Advanced, you can set/change your password.


Physics Instructional Resource Association (PIRA)

Members of the laboratory community may also find information about PIRA of interest. You can visit them at http://pira-online.org. PIRA members are involved in building and supporting lecture demonstrations and the introductory laboratories as well as being involved in the entire range of undergraduate instructional labs. In addition, PIRA acts as a center for the exchange of ideas and information for outreach projects both in schools and the wider community.


AG Physikalisches Praktikum


European members of the TeachSpin community will be particularly interested in a coalition of faculty and staff who both teach and support the instructional laboratories in Germany and Austria. The official site for the AG Physikalisches Praktikum is http://www.physikalische-praktika.de/index.html

A major focus of the group’s efforts is the Praktikumsleitertagung which is hosted by a different university each year. The following link takes you to a page from which you can browse the programs of previous conferences or learn about the one scheduled for next September. http://www.physikalische-praktika.de/plt/index.html

In September of 2009, 2010, and 2011 Barbara and Jonathan Reichert represented TeachSpin at conferences held in Berlin, Vienna and Chemnitz where they enjoyed meeting many of the people with whom they have been talking to over the years.

A special part of the conference is the Thursday morning talks at which individual vendors are invited to describe and demonstrate one of their products. In 2009 Jonathan introduced the Torsional Oscillator. In 2010, he showed off the very first production version of Noise Fundamentals and in 2011 he put Optical Pumping through its very impressive paces.  At the 2011 conference, the first AGPP Certificate of Excellence was awarded to TeachSpin’s Quantum Analogs apparatus.  The award, presented to Jonathan and Prof. Dr. Rene Matzdorf  by AGPP president Prof. Dr. Ilja Rueckmann,  honors an apparatus developed in a university lab and made available to the physics community through a commercial collaboration.

This organization also sponsors a spring meeting at which specific new teaching techniques and instruments are presented. TeachSpin’s own Prof. Rene Matzdorf was an invited presenter in 2009, when he gave a talk on the Quantum Analogs apparatus he helped to develop. Links to past and future programs are at http://www.physikalische-praktika.de/dpgschule/index.html.