Monday, July 11, 2011

TRIUMF by disCERNing teacher

National physics organization recognizes Notre Dame's Peter Vogel

The B.C. Catholic's technology columnist Peter Vogel has been awarded the Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) Award for Excellence in Teaching High School Physics for the British Columbia and Yukon region. Vogel is a long-time teacher at Notre Dame Regional Secondary School.

"Peter Vogel is a master at connecting the concepts of theoretical physics with the everyday world," the CAP wrote on their website. "For more than (three) decades he has organized a contest in which student must apply their knowledge of physics to build a bridge made of 100 grams of balsa wood that will withstand a maximal load."

This year, Physics 12 student Gino Ciro set a new record of 219.95 kg.

Among his various projects is a website dedicated to balsa wood bridge building, where students get to put the theoretical aspect of classwork into practice. He maintains a very active Twitter account.

As part of the award, Vogel has been selected to participate in a physics teachers' symposium held at the European Organization for Nuclear Research (or CERN) in Geneva, Switzerland, from July 3 to 23.

His participation and expenses will be covered by the Institute for Particle Physics, the Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, TRIUMF, and this award.

"Just before graduating from Simon Fraser University, I was fortunate to be taken on an 'inside' tour of the magnets at TRIUMF and have forever carried with me the amazement at feeling a tug on the metal parts of my jacket and seeing my analogue watch stopped by the field," Vogel said. "(It was an) experience I share each year during the physics 12 unit on electromagnetism. To now have TRIUMF be a co-sponsor of my trip to CERN brings my physics teaching career full circle as it were."

Look out for a full story on Vogel's award in an upcoming issue of The B.C. Catholic.

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