Monday, February 18, 2008

A few weeks ago I took the Flying Circus of Physics talk to South Dakota. In Brookings, I visited South Dakota State University where I talked about physics education with the physics faculty in the afternoon and then gave the FCP talk to the faculty, students, and public in the evening. Both talks went very well in spite of my weak voice due to a previous sore throat.

Professor Joel Rauber stood on top of me, steadied by Professor Larry Browning. (In a small-world effect, Professor Rauber revealed that one day when he was a teenager, on a trip to the University of Maryland to see his brother, I recruited him to look after my older son for a while. That was a very long time ago!)

There was added excitement in the molten lead demonstration when some of the lead drops were blown up into my face. Only minor burns occurred, but it sure did wake me up. SDSU is a very good place to go to school because the professors are very interested in teaching and in the success of their students.

The next day Professor Browning drove me to Huron, where I visited the Joint Professional Development Conference of the South Dakota Science Teachers Association and the South Dakota Council of Teachers of Mathematics. There I gave a session talk in which I explained the purpose of the Flying Circus of Physics. Then I gave the banquet talk, where Professor Micheline Hickenbotham of Black Hills State University stood on top of the bed of nails, steadied by Professor Browning. I also had the opportunity of meeting the Brenda Murphey of Rapid City Academy. These K-12 math and science teachers are extremely dedicated, in spite of their rock-bottom salaries. They are driven by their love of teaching.

I’ll try to post photos soon.