Adopting Physicists and Mac & Cheese

Why did you become a physicist?
Do you enjoy mac and cheese?

How does particle physics contribute to future advances in the United States and the world as a whole?

Are you an outdoorsman?

Ever want to ask a physicist one of those questions? One of the projects I’m working on for the American Physical Society is called Adopt-a-Physicist and I thought I’d tell you a little about it today because it’s just that cool! Don’t worry, I’m not soliciting anything – it’s a totally free project that is already underway.

This program is designed to show high school students what it’s like to be a REAL physicist – by giving them a chance to interact with physicists one-on-one via online discussion forums. Participating physicists include researchers at all kinds of labs and companies, computer programmers, doctors, science writers, and many others.

Classes that participate in this program “adopt” up to three physicists (a physicist is defined as anyone with a bachelor’s degree or higher in physics). Each physicist hosts a forum where he or she interacts with the students and answers any questions they have about life, careers, their field of study, etc. Hopefully they will help students realize that you don’t have to have bushy white hair to be a physicist.

And the coolest thing? Anyone can read their discussion!

To browse the forums:

1. Go to the comPADRE registration form* (Digital Resources for Physics and Astronomy – don’t ask me how that makes up the acronym comPADRE…) and create a login
*it’s free and easy and you don’t get spam

2. Go to the Adopt-a-Physicist website

3. Click on the “Log in” option at the top of the homepage (the regular login, not “student login”)
and log in with your new comPADRE login

4. Click on the “Forums” option at the top of the page and choose the “Fall 2006 Physicists” forum list

5. Click on any physicist’s name to view his or her discussion forum
-The most current threads in each forum are at the top, so you might start by scrolling down to the bottom when you open a new forum
-You can view a physicist’s profile by clicking on his or her name once you are in the forum

PS – Gary White does enjoy mac & cheese

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