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Section News

Spring Section Meeting

April 29, 2017

The 2017 spring meeting was hosted by the Department of Physics at Colorado State University. The theme for the day was Teaching Physics and Sustainability, and there were a wide range of activities on this theme and physics in general. Over 50 people including high school and college instructors, members of industry, and students attended the meeting. Here are some highlights and links to slides/resources (where available):

Invited Talks

Contributed Talks

Student Posters

  • IOLabs for PHGN200, Jacob Wikowsky, Colorado School of Mines
  • Perception and Dissonance: Exploring Combinations of Common Musical Instruments, Brendan Richards, Metropolitan State University of Denver
  • Frequency-Domain Indoor Location, Matthew Kowalsky, Colorado School of Mines
  • Biomimicry: Design and Construction of a Mulitlegged Robot, Arick Sweitzer, University of Northern Colorado
  • Investigating the Impact of a Solar Eclipse on Atmospheric Radiation, Josh Fender, John Ringler, Justin Morse, and Ryan Angstead, University of Northern Colorado
  • Postural Control: A Sample Entropy Approach to One-Legged Stance, Taylor McMillan, Matthew Semak, Gray Heise, University of Northern Colorado
  • Electroencephalograpy and the Mechanical Operation of an Exoskeletal Arm, Cody Helms and Kourteney Zadina, University of Northern Colorado
  • Psychoacoustics: Understanding Sonic Intelligibility, Alexandra Briggs, University of Northern Colorado
  • The Undergraduate Experience in Science Outreach, Fey Schnarr, McKenna Spillar, Damian Rupp, Ana Lopez, Max Meeks, Denny Heyrman, Heather Michalak, Brian Jones, Little Shop of Physics, Colorado State University



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Spring Section Meeting

April 23, 2016

The CO/WY AAPT  hosted a meeting at the University of Northern Colorado with over 50 people in attendance. The meeting was hosted by Section Vice President Wendy Adams. The theme this year was The Spectrum of Physics Education, referring the multitudes of approaches and levels to teaching and learning physics. Meeting highlights included a featured presentation of 30 Demos in 60 Minutes and a Keynote Talk Daniel Dale titled Studio Physics at the University of Wyoming.

Photos from the meeting can be found here.
liquid nitrogen demo animation

Contributed Talks

  • Possible Astronomy Major/Minor at MSU Denver
    Grant Denn
    Metropolitan State University Denver
  • Nonlinear Dynamics
    Richard J. Krantz, Nick Hoen, & Julie Zimmerman
    Metropolitan State University Denver
  • Learn more about the motion of a particle on different inclined surfaces under the influence of gravity.
    Masoud Asadi-Zeydabadi and Clyde Zaidins
    University of Colorado Denver
  • Mines-UNC STEM Teacher Preparation Program
    Stephan Graham
    University of Northern Colorado
  • The Sewing Machine and the Cadillac
    Courtney Willis
    University of Northern Colorado
  • STEM Major’s Awareness of White and Male Privilege
    Melissa Dancy and Katherine Rainey
    University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Sense of belonging and representation in STEM
    Katherine Rainey and Melissa Dancy University of Colorado at Boulder
  • Preparing Students for a Flipped Learning with Worked Examples
    Dr. Kimberly de La Harpe
    United States Air Force Academy
  • Observations from an “Outside the Gaussian Box” E&M Course
    Mark Mayer
    United States Air Force Academy
  • Anatomy of an On-Line Physics Class
    Andrew Young
    Casper College
  • Just-in-Time Teaching in Different Environments
    Tom Christensen
    University of Colorado, Colorado Springs



  • Quantum Dot Nanostructure Fabrication Using DNA
    Alexander Lidiak and Zachary Blocker
    Physics and Astronomy, University of Northern Colorado
  • Characterizing Student Ownership of Final Projects in an Upper-Division Physics Laboratory Course
    Laura Kiepura and Heather Lewandowski
    Department of Physics
    University of Colorado Boulder
  • An Investigation of Atmospheric Re-entry
    Alexandra Briggs, Arick Sweitzer, Brock Loftus, JJ Peek, Ryan Angstead, Tre Tellez, Michael Nuzum, Taylor McMillan, Daniel Herrera, Stephen Lowery, Bryan Lopez, and Ryan Fabian
    University of Northern Colorado
  • Atmospheric Re-entry Probe: Design and Integration
    Ryan Angstead, Alexandra Briggs, Brock Loftus, JJ Peek, Arick Sweitzer, and Tre Tellez
    University of Northern Colorado
  • Developing a Model: Re-entry into the Earth’s Atmosphere
    Daniel Hererea, Stephen Lowery, Taylor McMillan, and Michael Nuzum
    University of Northern Colorado
  • DemoSat: Modular Payload Design and Radiation Flux with Altitude
    Veronica Buchanan, Ryan Fabian, Josh Fender, Thanabordin Lausatianragit, Bryan Lopez, and Tre Tellez
    University of Northern Colorado
  • Designing a Rover: COSGC Robotics Challenge
    James G. Harris, Uriel Aragon, Chad Garcia, Alec Helm, Cody Helms, Stefan Lamb, Casey Montoya, Seamus Severance, Carolyn Shaw, Matt Svetic, Brandon Williams, and Kourteney Zadina
    University of Northern Colorado
  • Object Recognition and Artificial Intelligence
    Brandon Williams
    University of Northern Colorado
  • Student Response to “Equality Through Awareness” Club at CSM
    Jessica Deters
    Colorado School of Mines
  • Assessing Student Led Discussions About Underrepresented Groups in STEM
    Libby Booton
    Colorado School of Mines


AAPT National Meeting

July 26-29, 2015

The Colorado/Wyoming Section sponsored two Colorado undergraduate students to attend and present at the National AAPT Meeting in College Park, MD. The students will present on their experiences at our next section meeting.

Additionally, one of the students, Jasmine Knudsen, wrote a response paper to her experiences:

AAPT Response Paper

Spring Section Meeting

April 18, 2015

The CO/WY AAPT and the SPS Zone 14 organizers hosted a joint AAPT and SPS meeting at MSU Denver/UCD on the Auraria Campus with approximately 40 people in attendance. The meeting was hosted by Section Vice President Richard Krantz. In honor of the Year of Light, the theme for this meeting was Illuminating Physics Education. Doug Shepherd is on the faculty of CU Denver and he uses light to investigate bio-molecules. He presented our keynote talk, More than Just Pretty Pictures: Quantitative Imaging in Biology.

Other highlights included:

Contributed Talks

  • Visual sensations during megavoltage radiotherapy due to Cherenkov radiation
    Masoud Asadi-Zeydabadi and Francis Newman – University of Colorado Denver
  • Kits and engagements to develop practical knowledge needed for physics-based innovation
    Randall Tagg – Department of Physics, University of Colorado Denver
  • Modeling a Satellite Microdosimeter
    James Heitmann – USAFA Class of 2015
    Collaborators: Lt Col Mario Serna, Capt Brett Castle, and Scott Alsid
  • Facilitating Student Reflection in a Physics Class
    Dimitri R. Dounas-Frazer and Daniel L. Reinholz – Physics Dept. CU- Boulder
  • Visualizing the Rotation of a Rigid Body
    Norm Hecht – Front Range Community College
  • How optics can be used to understand the interplay between gene expression and cell structure
    Evan Shapiro – Department of Physics, University of Colorado Denver


  • Acoustical Resonant Transmission in a 1D Duct
    Jasmine Knudsen – Department of Physics, Metropolitan State University of Denver
  • Fluorescent Imaging: Insight into Biological Regulation at the Nanoscale
    Eric Rupert – Department of Physics, University of Colorado Denver

Check out our photos from the day!

Spring Section Meeting

April 12, 2014

This year’s spring meeting was hosted at CU Boulder in the new JILA Building by Section Vice President Bethany Wilcox, along with Katie Hinko and Prof. Steve Pollock. There were approximately 40 people in attendance and the keynote address was given by Nobel Laureate, Eric Cornell. Meeting highlights include:

Invited Talks

  • Eric Cornell, How Symmetric is the Electron?
  • Steve Pollock, PER@C: Physics Education Research at Colorado State University

Workshops and Presentations

  • Mike Dubson’s Demo Show
  • Hank Weigel and Jared Kruger, Project Based Inquiry Workshop
  • Streamline to Mastery Workshop, Emilly Knapp and Shelly Belleau
  • Private tour of the newly remodeled Fiske Planetarium by Director Doug Duncan

Contributed Talks

Spring Section Meeting

April 20, 2013   This year’s spring meeting of the was held at Valor Christian High school on Saturday April 20, 2013.  This year attendance was over 50 teachers from 11 different colleges and 17 high schools.  Our keynote speaker was Steve Spangler, the founder of, who presented a talk titled “Exploding Soda & Flying Potatoes — Secrets to Creating Unforgettable Learning Experiences“.  Steve earned his credentials as an author, teacher, toy designer, and Emmy award-winning television personality.  The audience was inspired to not just be good Physics teachers but to be truly great teachers.   Teachers shared teaching pedagogies and demonstrations that excite and inspire students.  One of the highlights was watching a cinder block being smashed with at sledge hammer on top of two beds of nails with a teacher sandwiched between very pointed nails!  Steve Spangler and the speakers helped teachers to hone styles to turn ordinary moments into unforgettable learning experiences – the kind that kids talk about at the dinner table and remember for a lifetime. The complete meeting agenda can be found here (pdf) and here (docx) Other presentations included:


Spring Section Meeting

April 28, 2012 We had a successful spring meeting, with approximately 30 participants in attendance. The meeting was hosted by Section Vice President Brian Huang, at the new Institute for Science and Technology at Overland High School in Aurora — a very impressive facility. The keynote address was give by Brian Jones and it was a reprise of his Millikan Medal Talk from the national AAPT meeting last summer, “All I Really Need to Know About Physics Education I Learned in Kindergarten” The complete meeting agenda can be found here (pdf) Other activities included:

  • Chuck Stone talked about SOCKS science outreach kits from SPS
  • Chris Nichols presented on the Perimeter Institute’s videos and activities
  • Kathleen Hinko discussed an inquiry-based after school program through PISEC and CU Boulder
  • Bethany Wilcox gave a talk titled “Cell Phones in the Classroom: Digital Distractions and Student Performance”
  • Danny Caballero gave a talk titled “Computational Modeling: A tool we can teach”
  • Cherie Bornhorst and Adam Pearlstein gave a talk about QuarkNet@CSU, a program to provide high school teachers experience in particle physics.
  • Little Shop of Physics led a make and take workshop where participants had the opportunity to build cloud chambers, infrared goggles, diamagnetic levitation devices, and palm pipes. They also brought their Giant German Wheel.

Little Shop of Physics Open House

February 25, 2012 The 21st annual Little Shop of Physics Open House was  great success! The biggest one yet, with an estimated 8000 members of the public in attendance, surpassing the College of Liberal Arts graduation as the largest on-campus even at Colorado State University. Many section members participated in this event, which is free and open to the public.

Colorado Science Conference

November 18, 2011 The section was well represented at the Colorado Science Convention on November 18, 2011. Our members hosted several workshops, and we hosted a booth. During lunch, the section had a business meeting as members enjoyed pizza. The keynote speaker for the event was Bad Astronomy’s Phil Plait.

Brian Jones is awarded the Millikan Medal

July and August 2011 Long time section member and former President Brian Jones was awarded the Robert A. Millikan Medal at the national AAPT meeting in Omaha Nebraska. Brian’s talk, titled , All I Need to Know about Physics Education I Learned in Kindergarten was presented in a packed auditorium to an audience dressed in tie dye shirts. Tie dye is the uniform of Little Shop of Physics, an outreach program which Brian Jones directs.

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