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St. Lawrence University Associate Professor of Physics Daniel W. Koon participated in the 8th Interamerican Conference on Physics Education in Havana, Cuba, which had as its theme "Teaching Physics For the Future."

Koon described teaching projects undertaken in collaboration with a St. Lawrence professor and a student at the conference, which drew over 200 participants from more than 25 countries. Koon discussed his and Adjunct Associate Professor of English Jonathan Gottschall's science fiction-themed First-Year Program courses "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?" and "To Boldly Go: The Science and Fiction of Space Travel -- Time Travel and Extraterrestrials."

Koon also presented a poster describing Jeremy Ouellette '04's measurements of cosmic muon flux to test Einstein's special theory of relativity, an experiment which Koon has been using to teach undergraduate nuclear and particle physics at St. Lawrence. The experiment, which requires measurements at two or more locations at very different altitudes -- in Ouellette's case, St. Lawrence and Mt. Washington -- is "well suited to undergraduate laboratories throughout the Americas, and researchers at the conference expressed interest in recreating it in their labs in Central and South America," according to Koon.

In addition to the presentations, Koon participated in a working group of the Interamerican Council on Physics Education drafting recommendations for improving the training of physicists throughout the hemisphere, recommendations to be implemented before the Ninth Interamerican Conference, in 2006, in Costa Rica.

Posted: August 6, 2003