Reston, VA

Bill Phillips, a physicist who shared the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1997, dove into physics and other topics with students at Ideaventions Academy for Mathematics and Science, an independent school for the gifted in Reston.

Phillips offered two presentations to students in 4th through 11th grade at the school. He discussed topics like atomic clocks, absolute zero and how physicists make atoms get cold. His presentation, which touched on topics like the National Institute of Standards and Technology and quantum principles, also included demonstrations with liquid nitrogen.

Here’s more from NIST on Phillip’s work:

Phillips began his experiments with laser trapping and cooling shortly after he arrived in 1978 at the National Bureau of Standards (the agency that became NIST), with the intent of creating a more accurate atomic clock. Several of his innovations in the following years became landmarks in the field. These included a device using a laser along with a magnetic field to decelerate and cool an atomic beam (the “Zeeman slower”); demonstrating the first device that trapped electrically neutral atoms (a magnetic trap); and measuring a temperature far below that predicted by the accepted theory of laser cooling at the time (known as sub-Doppler cooling).

The academy’s assistant head of school and director of admissions, Juliana Heitz, said that students enjoyed the presentation.

“One of our 5th graders said that Dr. Phillips’ visit was one of his two favorite days in school ever,” Heitz told Reston Now.

Phillips, a NIST fellow, shared the Nobel Prize in Physics with Steven Chu of Stanford University and Claude Cohen-Tannoudji of the École Normale Supérieure in Paris, France. The team developed methods to cool and trap atoms with laser light.

Photo via Ideaventions Academy

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Ideaventions Academy for Mathematics and Science, a Reston-based school for gifted children between  grades 4 and 12, received an award recognizing the school’s emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics.

The school is the first in Virginia to receive the certification, called AdvancED STEM, from AdvancedED, a non-profit, non-partisan organization that involves educational professionals around the world.

School officials said the certification demonstrates the school’s commitment to preparing students for future opportunities. In order to earn the certification, the school had to demonstrate it meets STEM standards across 11 indicators. The organization also interview stakeholders to verify the school’s commitment to connecting learning from the classroom to the local community and the world.

In a statement, Ryan Heitz, head of school, said the certification was a boost for the independent school:

This certification is a reflection of Ideaventions Academy’s commitment to preparing students for top colleges and universities and to becoming the leaders of tomorrow. In this age of tremendous technological revolution, struggling educational systems, and changing workforce needs, the STEM certification acknowledges us as an international model for preparing students for the future with real-world skills and experiences to succeed. It also signals the private-sector that we are committed to exceptional levels of student ability and achievement for their STEM pipeline.

Ideaventions Academy is located on 12340 Pinecrest Road. The academy has small class sizes of 10 students per class or less. To learn more about the certification, email [email protected]

Images courtesy of Dee Donavik

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Ideaventions Academy/Credit: IdeaventionsIdeaventions Academy for Mathematics and Science will expand in the Fall of 2017, adding high school grades to the Reston private school.

Ideaventions launched in Reston in the Fall of 2015 with 18 students in grades 4 to 8.

Ideaventions’ mission statement is to allow students “to experience a personalized education in an environment where they can grow and explore their interests as they prepare for college. “

“Too often, our schools are overly-standardized, uninspired, and test-driven,” school co-founder Ryan Heitz said in a release. “They are focused more on processes rather than people. … We are a vibrant community designed for the intellectually curious — those who seek to engage in significant endeavors that reach beyond the classroom.”

The Ideaventions Academy Upper School is now accepting freshman applicants for the 2017-2018 academic year. The first high school class will graduate in 2021.

Heitz says the Upper School academic program will have a specialized focus on research and innovation, requiring students to pursue an individual research project over multiple years.

There will be an open house for prospective students and their parents on Saturday, Nov. 12 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The school is located at 12340 Pinecrest Rd.

For more information on the school, visit Ideaventions Academy website.

Photo: Ideaventions Academy/Credit: Ideaventions

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