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Andrew Zimmerman Jones

Adopt a Physicist

By October 17, 2008

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I strongly believe in the power of mentorship. Among other things, strong mentorship can help when you run into the challenges that we all face, which can make us give up. To the degree I have any success in this world - be it as a parent, a husband, a writer, or what have you - it's because of the people who have served as my role models and mentors in those roles.

In the realm of physics, I don't know that I really ever had a mentor. I had teachers, of course, but I don't think I would call any of them mentors ... at least, none that I knew. My mentors were distant, historical figures, and I didn't know enough about them at the time to fully appreciate the lessons I could have learned. Had I known more about Feynman, Bohr, Einstein, Galileo, and Franklin at the time, had I taken more time when younger to have paid attention to the lessons that this assortment of mentors had to offer, perhaps I would have persisted in the field and become a research scientist.

Don't worry ... this isn't sour grapes, but it is a commentary on how important mentors can be in studying the sciences.

I recently learned about a program which would certainly have helped me, I think, had it been available when I was young. The Adopt-A-Physicist program is a service provided by Sigma Pi Sigma, the physics honor society, in collaboration with the American Physical Society (APS), the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), and ComPADRE. It is supported, in part, by the National Science Foundation and the American Physical Society Campaign for Physics. For more information, including how to register, check out their About Adopt-a-Physicist page.

For an example of the Adopt-a-Physicist program in action, check out this newspaper article. If any of our readers have any personal experience with the Adopt-a-Physicist program (either as adoptee or adoptor), please leave us a comment and let us know how it impacted you!


October 19, 2008 at 9:42 pm
(1) Linda Snow says:

wow your cute babe!

October 20, 2008 at 11:12 am
(2) Anittah says:

Serendipity; I recently blogged about wishing I’d had a math mentor when I was in middle school.

October 20, 2008 at 11:39 am
(3) j says:

I wish that this was mailed to us before it was closed off! :(

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