PTSOS 2018-19 is here!

PTSOS logoPhysics Teacher SOS (PTSOS) is once again offering its excellent workshops in the SF Bay Area. This year’s start on Saturday, September 15th, at Los Gatos High School in Los Gatos. Get complete details and sign up here.

PTSOS is a workshop and support program for new high and middle school physics teachers in Northern California. We offer 3 all-day Saturday workshops during the school year. In addition to learning about the details of the craft of physics teaching from experienced teachers, participants receive continental breakfast, lunch, and physics equipment for them to use in their classroom. The PTSOS program is recognized as one of the most effective programs for training and retaining new physics teachers.

Save the Date! Fall Meeting at Bellarmine (San Jose) Nov 9/10!

Our next meeting will be at Bellarmine College Prep in San Jose on November 9 and 10.  On Saturday the 10th we’ll feature invited talks by Nobel Laureate Carl Wieman and JPL Engineer/Activist Tracy Van Houten.  Of course, we’ll also have a poster session, a panel, Share & Tell and tacos for lunch.

To register, go to  If your dues are current, you should have received an email giving you a free registration coupon code.  If not, then yearly dues are $20, which includes two meetings and a whole lot of food.

Many more details as our planning develops.

Spring Meeting – Mt. Diablo HS – April 28/29

We’ll be in Concord for our Spring Meeting!

Our keynote speaker is Jessie Dotson, project scientist for NASA’s K2 Mission.  Invited Speaker Jessie DotsonPictured to the right, she’ll tell us about recent Kepler results.  We’ll also have all of the other things that make our meetings so much fun,  Share&Tell, a panel, workshops and we are bringing back the poster session. If you paid dues last Fall, registration is free (we’ll send you an email with a discount code), otherwise dues are $20 through Wednesday night, $25 at the door. Click here to register for the main event: Continue reading “Spring Meeting – Mt. Diablo HS – April 28/29”

Keynote Speaker: Douglas Stone

Einstein’s scientific image was systematically distorted for historical reasons (not discussed here) however Einstein spent much more time on quantum theory than anything else (including relativity). Stone discovered and wrote an article on some of Einstein’s early and extremely lucid explanations of the problem with quantizing chaos. The article appeared in 2005 during the World Year of Physics and resulted in many speaking engagements which sparked Stone’s intensive research into Einstein’s life and works. Most of the available literature on Einstein’s research was too technical for the general public so Stone wrote his own. Continue reading “Keynote Speaker: Douglas Stone”

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Pascal Lee

Dr. Lee gave us information about the plans for the first human mission to Mars. He gave a background of the surface temperatures, pressures and topography all of which present unique difficulties to a human mission. Lee shared the mission goals and results from each of the successful rover missions. He was able to share several images from the Mars missions to discuss the difference in terrain, air quality and the sky. The sky on Mars is only blue at sunrise and sunset as the sky clears of dust. Conjuction vs Opposition timing plans each have their benefits and drawbacks to the amount of time in space and the amount of time spent on the surface of Mars. There are private endeavors including the Inspiration Mars program. Lee is more interested in whether or not Mars has alien life, as in different from our own, more than if there is life on Mars. He advocates the continued exploration and study of Mars and hopefully an eventual human mission to Mars. Lee believes that NASA plans and achievements will help increase science education and the number of students that graduate with upper level degrees in Science. A similar trend was seen after the Apollo missions in the 1960’s. Continue reading “Keynote Speaker: Dr. Pascal Lee”

Key Note Speakers: Dave & Christine Vernier

Dave and Christine shared their roots in teaching and the inspiration for and gradual start of their company. The Verniers began writing software for Physics teachers years ago and eventually partnered with Pasco to write their software. Both companies grew and eventually Vernier began creating their own part kits. Vernier partnered with Texas Instruments to create software for their CBL calculator program and eventually created their own interfaces. The Verniers also shared stories and information about their company, employees and plans for growth. They also shared new sensors, program updates, etc. coming soon.

Dave is also experimenting with the Arduino systems. More information about their endeavors are here on their website. He demonstrated a program using a motion detector that allows a laser pointer to move based on the motion of a hand above the motion detector. The program should be available on their website.