All over the world physics education at graduate and post graduate level is undergoing considerable changes. Increasing opportunities in the disciplines of engineering and medicine are siphoning off bright students coming out of the 12th class. The ever increasing career openings in these sectors have resulted in the emergence of new colleges offering such courses and those allied to them in various places and this has given a spurt to this exodus. The revolutionary developments that are taking place in the fields of communication, computer engineering and information technology have further accelerated the flow of bright students to these sectors. This situation has, in fact raised technology to a seat of honor, hindered the growth of pure physics and strangled research.
Even the best optimist will accept the fact that the physics education in our schools and colleges now has changed from a secure and successful activity to a chunk of curriculum whose existence is threatened. We can see tremendous deterioration in the quality of higher education and of scientific research everywhere in the country. The physics teachers are disgracefully keeping back from willfully doing something to prevent this crisis. If this indifference continues for some more years, the doom of higher education wouldn’t be far away.
Can’t we do something to change the situation? Or, shall we remain as mere passive onlookers? What is required is that we should revamp the whole system. The teachers in our colleges and universities are quite capable of creating a proper scientific culture in the country provided they are given suitable assistance and sufficient motivation. The academicians must be given enough freedom and encouragement in order to keep their thoughts alive and spirits high. They in turn, must motivate and assist the students who are interested in advanced physics and research.
It was with this immediate aim and purpose that few energetic and enthusiastic physics teachers from Mahatma Gandhi University joined their hands and shared the minds to form an association, that, they hoped, would change the present atmosphere of sullen mediocrity that exist in our university system of education.
The launching of Academy
The academy of physics teachers (APT) was launched on Saturday, 31st July 1999 at B.C.M. College Kottayam. Dr K. Babu Joseph, the then vice chancellor of Cochin University of Science and Technology and noted theoretical physicist formally inaugurated the Academy by lighting the traditional lamp in the presence of more than one hundred physics teachers. The inaugural function was presided over by Prof. V. L. Charlotte, the then pro-vice chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi university. The idea of forming this professional organization was first born in the minds of few physics teachers who were participating in a workshop conducted by Mahatma Gandhi university Kottayam at Baselius college Kottayam in January 1999 for setting model question papers relating to the restructured under graduate curriculum in physics. During the workshop an ad-hoc committee was constituted to chalk out the details regarding the formation of the academy. The committee, with Dr. M.A. Ittyachen, the then Director of the School of Pure and Applied Physics, M.G.U at the helm framed a draft constitution and modus operandi of the academy, which was later approved by the General Body during the business session that followed the inaugural session. The first Executive Committee of APT was elected by the General Body during that session. It was also decided to publish a quarterly bulletin, ‘APT Tunes’ to propagate the policies, report the various academic programmes, update the knowledge of the readers and above all to encourage the teachers and students in physics to become good physicists.
The Academy of Physics Teachers was registered at Kottayam in 1999 with Reg. No. KTM- 1051/99.