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On Friday April 5th and Saturday April 6th all McMurry physics faculty and three physics freshmen: Taylor Freehauf, Kent Grimes and Nicholas Conklin traveled to the Texas section of American Physical Society (APS), American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) and Society of Physics Students (SPS) spring meeting at Tarleton State University in StephesmAPS_March_2013nville, Texas. For physics students it was the first professional meeting they have ever attended. So, even though it was too early for them to present, they have gained some valuable experience on how professional presentation should look like and what to do and not to do during such presentations.

Some of the notable talks during the meeting were the ones given by the national experts in their respective fields. Dr. Wolfgang Christian of Davidson College is the nationally recognized leader in using computer simulations for teaching physics. He was talking about “Building a national library for computational physics education at all levels”. Dr. Christian’s physics java applets, also known as “Physlets”, have been successfully used in physics education during the last decade in many universities around the country including McMurry University. The theme being set by Dr. Christian’s talk has been further exploited in other presentations, including Dr. Bykov’s talk devoted to “Integrating computational physics problems into upper division physics curriculum” at McMurry.

Another interesting talk was by Dr. Joseph Nagyvary from Texas A&M University, who studied power spectra of vowels in old Italian violins, including those of Guarneri and Stradivari, and compared these spectra to the spectrum of human voice in operatic singing. Dr. Nagyvary was inspired to start studying physics of string instruments back in the 1950s, when he had a chance to play and study the violin which originally belonged to Albert Einstein.