Physicists Welcome NASA Astronaut to 2014 AAPT Winter Meeting

Released: 12/19/2013 9:05 AM EST
Source Newsroom: American Institute of Physics (AIP)
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Citations 2014 AAPT Winter Meeting

Newswise — College Park, Maryland (December 18, 2013) — The American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) will host a Meet & Greet with NASA Astronaut Donald Pettit at its winter meeting in Orlando, Florida. The event will be held at the Rosen Plaza Hotel on Sunday, January 5th from 7:30 – 8:30PM. Pettit will also serve as a plenary speaker on the topic, Techno-Stories from Space during the meeting.

Donald Roy Pettit, a chemical engineer and NASA astronaut, is a veteran of two long-duration stays aboard the International Space Station, one space shuttle mission, and a six-week expedition to find meteorites in Antarctica. He received a BS in Chemical Engineering from Oregon State University and a PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Arizona. A veteran of three spaceflights, Pettit has logged more than 370 days in space and over 13 EVA (spacewalk) hours.

He was a staff scientist at Los Alamos National Laboratory, Los Alamos, NM, from 1984 to 1996. Projects there included reduced gravity fluid flow and materials processing experiments onboard the NASA KC-135 airplane, atmospheric spectroscopy on noctilucent clouds seeded from sounding rockets, fumarole gas sampling from volcanoes and problems in detonation physics. He was a member of the Synthesis Group, slated with assembling the technology to return to the Moon and explore Mars (1990) and the Space Station Freedom Redesign Team (1993).

In 2006, Pettit joined the Antarctic Search for Meteorites (ANSMET), spending six weeks in Antarctica collecting meteorite samples, including a lunar meteorite. He lived aboard the International Space Station for 5½ months during Expedition 6, was a member of the STS-126 crew, and again lived aboard the station for 6½ months as part of the Expedition 30/31 crew in 2011. During Expedition 30, Petitt made a video using an Angry Birds character to explain how physics works in space.

About AAPT

AAPT is an international organization for physics educators, physicists, physics education researchers, and industrial scientists—with members worldwide. Dedicated to enhancing the understanding and appreciation of physics through teaching, AAPT provides awards, publications, and programs that encourage teaching the practical application of physics principles, support continuing professional development, and reward excellence in physics education. AAPT was founded in 1930 and is headquartered in the American Center for Physics in College Park, Maryland. For more information, please visit