PHYSICS EDUCATION NEWS (PEN) March 1994, No. 2 An electronic newsletter of the AIP Educati

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PHYSICS EDUCATION NEWS (PEN) March 1994, No. 2 An electronic newsletter of the AIP Education Division NSF ANNOUNCES NEW MATHEMATICAL SCIENCES INITIATIVE The National Science Foundation (NSF) has announced a new initiative, Mathematical Sciences and Their Application Throughout the Curriculum, intended to spur projects that increase student understanding of the mathematical sciences and their ability to apply the mathematical sciences in other disciplines. Initially, NSF expects to award 10-20 planning grants of up to $50,000 each for projects that involve a full range of goals such as improving student learning through alternative instructional practices, and the effective use of computational technologies. These planning grants are expected to provide a basis for the preparation of in- depth proposals that will lead to several awards of up to $1 million per year for 3-5 years. Proposals for planning grants are due June 6, 1994, with full proposals due February 6, 1995. (Information concerning this new initiative is available in an addendum to NSF-93-164, and is available by calling 703-306-1669.) TRIANGLE COALITION RELEASES MEMBER DIRECTORY The 1993 edition of the Triangle Coalition Member and Affiliate Directory is now available from the Triangle Coalition for Science and Technology Education. The Directory provides in-depth profiles on Coalition members and affiliates, representing business, industry, and labor; science and engineering societies; education associations; four federal agencies; and seventy-one alliance affiliates. The Coalition was founded in 1985 to join the ideas, influence, and resources of national organizations to bring about the reform of science and technology education. (For prices and ordering information, contact: Triangle Coalition for Science and Technology Education, Attn: Membership Directory, 5112 Berwyn Road, College Park, MD 20740-4129; 301-220-0870) PROGRAM PROMOTES SUPERCOMPUTERS IN SCIENCE The National Educational Supercomputer Program (NESP), administered by the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Livermore, CA, is designed to promote the use of supercomputers in the classroom. The program enables students to create high-quality, nearly 3-D graphic images that simulate the scientific phenomena discussed in chemistry and physics classes. The NESP involves a continuous loop of work leading to the creation of a supercomputer-rendered graphic movie that runs on Macintosh or IBM computers. The applications combine math, art, science, and engineering. The software and "on- line" funding for the program are provided by the Department of Energy. Schools, however, must provide their own computer equipment. You will need a color Macintosh or IBM compatible computer with a VGA card and mouse, a telephone line, and a modem. (For more information, contact: Brian Lindow, c/o Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Mail Code L-561, P.O. Box 808, Livermore, CA 94551; 507-294-5464) COLLEGE FRESHMAN DROP IN PHYSICAL SCIENCE PREPARATION A comparison of the scholastic achievement of college freshmen in the fall of 1987 and 1992 indicates that the more recent freshmen were better prepared in most subjects. According to UCLA's Higher Education Research Institute, a higher proportion of 1992 freshmen had completed or exceeded the recommended years of high school study in English, Mathematics, Foreign Language, Biology, History, Art, and Music. Preparation in Physical Science and Computer Science, however, experienced a slight drop. The percentage of students completing the recommended years of study in Physical Science fell from 49% in 1987 to 47% in 1992. In Computer Science, the percentages fell from 58% in 1987 to 55% in 1992. (Source: "The American Freshman: National Norms for Fall 1992 and 1987," published by HERI, UCLA Graduate School of Education, 405 Hilgard Avenue, Los Angeles, CA 90024) COMMERCE DEPARTMENT TO AWARD TECHNOLOGY GRANTS The U.S. Commerce Department has approved a $26 million grant program to help schools and nonprofit groups improve access to telecommunications technologies. As part of its National Information Infrastructure Initiative, the Department's National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) recently announced that it is accepting proposals from schools, libraries, and other organizations for technology grants. The grant program consists of two separate categories. The first will support projects that utilize diverse telecommunications technologies and can serve as model programs. The second will support planning projects that suggest applications of technology at the local, state, regional, or national level. Proposals are due May 12, 1994. Grants are expected to be awarded by September 30, 1994. (For more information, write: DLC-NTIA-OTIA, 14th & Constitution Ave., N.W., Room 4889, Washington, DC 20230; or call 202-482-2048) ***************************** PEN is being published on a trial basis through December 31, 1994. Please tell us your opinion of PEN. To subscribe, send your name, address, phone number, e-mail address, and how you heard about PEN. American Institute of Physics Education Division Contact: Mr. Tracy Schwab 301-209-3007, tschwab@aip.org *****************************

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