March 8, 1998

Dear Palo Alto PHYSLab Participant,

On behalf of the three Palo Alto instructors, Lettie Weinmann, Dave Cross and myself, I would like to formally welcome you to the Palo Alto PHYSLab 98 program. The 20 of you hail from 14 different states, with four coming from California.

I will be sending you materials over the next four months, a little more now, and perhaps a little less later on. If you would please archive these messages you may find it useful to refer back to them from time to time. Also, you can capture the whole list of e-mail addresses from the heading on this message, including the instructors and our support staff.

In this first note, I would like to tell you a bit about where you are headed come July 5th. First, plan to arrive in the early afternoon if possible. We will have a welcoming barbecue at Lettie's house around 6:00. Her house is a drive and 9-iron from the motel (that's relatively close, for you non-golfers). Besides getting to associate faces with names, this is a chance to see the group in its entirety for the first time and meet the staff.

Going to the other end, we plan to adjourn around 1:00 pm on the last day, July 24. If you wish to make airline arrangements to return home that day, you are welcome to do so. PHYSLab will put you up at the motel over the evening of the 24th, so you won 't *need* to rush

Palo Alto lies between San Francisco (SFO) and San Jose (SJC) airports. In either case, a shuttle service can bring you to the motel. Specific directions will follow for those flying in as well as those driving. It takes a good 30-45 minutes to reach e ither airport during weekdays, so the earliest practicable flight time on the 24th will be around 3:00 pm.

You will be staying at the Palo Alto Motel 6, which is around a mile from school. The motel was renovated a little over a year ago; the rooms are relatively large, and it is well maintained. Our budget is based on two people per room. If you wish a si ngle, you will need to pay the difference. Essentially, that comes to around $25 per night, as the pricing policy at Motel 6 makes it much less expensive for the second person. The motel phone number is 650-949-0833. If you have any special arrangement s you wish to make, please don't hesitate to forward these to me.

PHYSLab will meet at Gunn High School, in the Physics rooms and Science office. Maps will be provided at the motel, along with directions to everything from restaurants to coffee houses to movie theaters to.... The main north-south surface street, El Ca mino Real, runs in front of the motel, and you are less than a block from a bus stop. On the bus, you can go as far as San Francisco to the north and San Jose to the south. Food is as near as right across the street, and short distances in either direct ion.

Palo Alto and surrounding cities is relatively flat. If you are driving in, you might consider bringing a bicycle, as it will enable you to get around almost everywhere. You will get maps and suggestions for where to go in the evenings or on weekends. If you are flying in, or even if you don't want to tote a bike along with you, we will line up a bicycle for each participant to borrow during the three weeks. These may not be the latest 21-speed racers, but they were reliable transportation for the par ticipants last summer.

Plan on good weather, not too hot, and probably little or no rain. Last summer was dry the whole time, and the temperature didn't go over 80 F. Jackets might be nice in the morning or evening, but casual, summer dress is appropriate. The motel has a sm all pool for those who enjoy a quick dip. Tennis courts are available, both on campus and between the motel and school. I'm always looking for a golf partner, so speak up if this is an interest for you.

Our teaching days begin at 8:00 am sharp, but are preceded by breakfast which starts around 7:15. If you have specific requests, our chief provider, Kristine Bakken, will try to meet your needs. We are vegan friendly and try to offer healthy fare. The teaching day will end around 4:00 when you are free to ride over to Stanford, go downtown Palo Alto, etc.

Each day we also serve lunch. Kristine will give you choices most days, and does a great job of providing a variety of good food for you. Our school is not convenient to food except if you have a car. In addition to the opening barbecue, we are planning a second barbecue and a sit down dinner at the close of the workshop. Your meal allowance is just for the weekdays, but frugal types have been known to make it stretch over the weekends, too.

We will schedule several weekend activities for those who are interested. One will be a train/bike/ferry trip to San Francisco, including riding across the Golden Gate Bridge. Another will be a bike trip through the Napa Valley wine country. Others may include trips to the beach or other nearby sites. These are not required activities, but we don't want you just sitting around the motel for two days.

We have planned two field trips. One will be to the Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, SLAC, and the other will be to Great America, our local major amusement park. Yes, we'll be collecting and analyzing data at the park. We will also have one or more guest speakers during your three weeks.

To check up on things, go to the Palo Alto PHYSLab web site: I will put some things including our projected schedule and a FAQ page on a link "Information about PHYSLab 98". This is now in operation.

My school phone number is 650-354-8246 (that will be the number for PHYSLab during July). I use e-mail a lot to communicate, so don't hesitate to jot off your questions as they occur to you.

That's a lot of information for one message. In the next message, I'll be asking you to send me some information for our data base. If you have any questions, don't hesitate to write.

I hope your teaching year is going well, and that you have a great final semester, what's left of it. And congratulations on being selected to participate in PHYSLab 98!


Clarence Bakken
Palo Alto PHYSLab Director