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Sigma Pi Sigma October Meeting - Feb 11, 2004 at 7:04PM
2 Posts

Hi everyone,

There will be a joint Sigma Pi Sigma / APS Four Corners
/ SPS regional meeting in Albuquerque, NM this
October 15th and 16th.  Are you going?  There will be
special sessions on ethics in science, and a trip to the
Trinity site (where the first atomic bomb was
detonated).  Speakers include Jocelyn Bell Burnell, Carl
Weiman, John Marburger, and John Rigden.

Steve Kanim

Replies to Sigma Pi Sigma October Meeting

Ethics of Weapons - Feb 11 2004 7:55PM
T. Olsen
2 Posts

The first of four sessions on Ethics in the Profession of
Physics will address the involvement of physicists in the
development of weapons of mass destruction.
Now is a great time to get the ball rolling.
What would you want to think about if you were recruited
and had to decide if you would work on weapons

Sigma Pi Sigma Congress/Ethics - Feb 18 2004 3:30PM
Dr. Karen Williams
8 Posts

I am looking forward to the ethics sessions
at the Congress in Oct. 2004.  I think
graduate schools are becoming more concerned
with ethics as well.  Very little if any
about ethics is mentioned in an
undergraduate's coursework. With physics and
biology research becoming more and more
intertwined with cloning and the genetics
studies of today - ethics questions will be
more and more in the forefront of all of our

Professor of Physics AAPT Fellow (2014)

Ethics in Undergrad courses - Mar 17 2004 9:49AM
8 Posts

In one of my earlier physics courses, my professor said that we had to cover ethics in physics.  So he said "Be ethical in physics.  Now back to physics..."

So I agree, it has been ignored at the undergraduate level.  At first it was amusing when he said that, but now I have realized that it is important to research.  I certainly hope that students can share their ideas on the subject at the Congress, and not just in relation to weapons.  Professional integrity is another important factor to research, as in not faking or stealing results.  Wasn't that a big issue last year?  It seemed as though Physics Today was always buzzing about it.

(I also hope my school finds enough money to send people to New Mexico!)

west wing last night - Feb 12 2004 8:44AM
Society of Physics...
293 Posts

last night the west wing had a conversation between Martin Sheen as POTUS and some Iranian official, after Iran had been accused of testing a nuke, that closed with the guy from Iran saying,"Einstein, Oppenheimer, Teller--they're all Jewish bombs." Do others find this show as fascinating and infuriating as I do?
It was a provocative episode, alternately accusing and defending US policy, NASA, Israel, Moslems and Christians, but jarring mispronunciations of Bethe's name (and others)by POTUS Sheen and everyone being a way too clever work against the requisite suspension of disbelief. The argument that Hiroshima actually saved lives was trotted out, and countered---I hope these kinds of questions are discussed at the Congress, with real input from the scientists involved...

Adjunct Professor of Physics, Editor of The Physics Teacher, and GWU SPS Chapter Advisor

Trinity site - Feb 19 2004 12:14PM
2 Posts

I am very excited about the visit to the Trinity site. It's only open once a year except they are opening it specially for us. Also i spoke with one of my professors about it and he said there are interesting rocks where the sand was melted by the blast. I think it will be a great conversation starter for the ethics panel on weapons. I can't wait!

changing gears - Feb 26 2004 9:56PM
Society of Physics...
293 Posts, not many west wing fans in the Nucleus, so I'll try to change gears...I'd like to hear some feedback on cheating... What the most outrageous cheating scam you've ever heard of in a physics class? What kinds of cheating are most prevalent at your school? Do the black-market solutions manuals to famous physicis text skew the grades at your school, do you think?

Adjunct Professor of Physics, Editor of The Physics Teacher, and GWU SPS Chapter Advisor

- Mar 04 2004 3:13AM
2 Posts

test.  (last message got eaten by a ColdFusion error...)

The Art of Deception - Mar 04 2004 3:20AM
2 Posts

(Ugh.  My last message got eaten by a ColdFusion error.  Let's hope this one goes through...)

At CSU, I haven't seem much cheating in the Physics program.  Of the few cheaters, they tended to be the "C" students and not the "A" students (my own estimations...)

I haven't seen any terribly clever cheats, but you might want to look at the book "The Art of Deception" by Kevin Mitnick.  It's full of some very clever social engineering schemes (cons) that could be modified to suit the classroom.  Very good reading for anyone interested in computer security (or enforcing academic honesty...)


CF error - Mar 04 2004 11:41AM
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Dodge this.

Tables can be turned - Mar 23 2004 2:04PM
Dr. Karen Williams
8 Posts

I know of 2 cases in which profs took credit
for graduate student's work.  One was a
publication a student had written and not
given coauthorship, other was on a patent.  
So the cheating (or stealing)if you call it
that, goes both ways.

Professor of Physics AAPT Fellow (2014)

Other Congress Topics - Mar 29 2004 11:46AM
1 Posts

Hi,  Glad to see discussion of the Congress.  I think it's going to be super--I believe it is the only conference in the US dedicated to physics undergraduates.

I think the part on celebrating Einstein's three masterworks of 1905 will be a highlight of the meeting.  Most physics majors know of them but few have taken the time to learn about the papers themselves.  Have you?


Sigma Pi Sigma Congress - Mar 30 2004 10:08PM
8 Posts

So, it sounds like SPS chapters are for the most part on their own for funding to send their "one-and-one" represnetatives.  Any suggestions on where a very small physics department from a very small college in PA may be able to raise that kind of money?  

To pay for nearby trips, we've used a very successful lollipop sale on campus.  However, we'll need alot more than spare change for this kind of trip.  We've just asked administration for lots of money to update our labs.  I just don't know if they will give money for this (or if it's even approriate to ask!)

~SPS Chapter Prez-to-be

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