FEd April 1999 Newsletter - From the Editor

April 1999



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From the Editor

This spring issue of the Fed Newsletter will reach many of its readers after they return from the Centennial APS meeting in Atlantaa meeting which promises to be not only the largest but the grandest of physics conferences. This newsletter continues the focus on the centennial, with a look both backward at where we have been, and forward to what might lie ahead.

Physics education has made many transitions this century, and we have reason to say that we know more now than in 1900 about how students learn, what they should learn, and how best to teach them. We still have profound gaps in our understanding of the teaching - learning process, but ongoing research in physics education gives us a strategy for enlightening our ignorance.

There will be more exciting new methodologies and technologies in the coming century that will revolutionize the way we teach physics. But new questions are emerging, such as just what is, and what isn't, physics. Our audience is changing, and the traditional physics major is an endangered species. The issue of what is physics, and how should we be training future physicists, is one which demands more attention from us.

K-12 science education is an issue that has received considerable attention this century, especially since Sputnik. It is a growing concern of the physics professional community, which sees not only future scientists, but also future informed citizens in the pre-college classrooms. Recently, the concerns of two-year colleges have also received our attention. All these and other issues are the focus of this issue.

This has been an exciting century of physics discovery, and of physics education discovery. It is still true that the more we learn, the more we realize the vastness of what we do not know. The next century will prove to be exciting, too.