This years KITP Teacher's conference was held on February 26th with a theme of “Physics and Biology: Evolution of Life and Evolution of Science.” This conference brings over a hundred science teachers at the middle and high school levels from across the country to Santa Barbara for a day of 'what's new' in different areas of physics with world renowned scientists.This years key speakers included Boris Shraiman from UCSB, Rob Phillips and Michael Elowitz from Caltech, and Richard Neher from the Max Plank Institute in Germany. These scientists are part of a program at KITP about microbial and viral evolution. Cheryl Harper, a teacher from Pennsylvania and a recipient of the Raab prize in 2010 also gave a presentation. Rachel Ross also gave an overview of what is new at LCOGT. A town-hall style discussion also took place about science in the classroom and the problems it faces.
On the next morning, a tour was offered to the KITP teachers at LCOGT. A very enthusiastic group of about 12 (many of whom have been participants in previous workshops) received an in-depth tour of the 0.4m and 1.0m assembly areas, the machine shop, and the back parking lot test site (BPL). We did have to make sure that no one slipped a 1.0m telescope into their back pocket!
Overall, it was a very interesting conference and all the speakers were excellent. And a big thank you to KITP for inviting us back year after year!
A comment shouted at the end of Rachel's talk: “It gets better every year!” complete with a thumbs up.
For more information: http://www.kitp.ucsb.edu/outreach/teachers/conferences
Online talks: http://online.kitp.ucsb.edu/online/viralt-c11/