Overview of the Foundations and Frontiers in Physics
Education Research Conference
Michael Wittmann, Paula Heron, and Rachel Scherr
The conference Foundations and Frontiers in Physics Education Research was held August 15–19, 2005 , in Bar Harbor , Maine . This week-long residential meeting was attended by 60 active researchers in the field of physics education. The conference provided a unique forum for examining and articulating the current state of the field, exploring future directions, and discussing ways to pursue the most promising avenues for future research.
The conference featured a series of plenary lectures given by established and emerging leaders in PER: Lillian C. McDermott (University of Washington). E.F. (Joe) Redish (University of Maryland), Ron Thornton (Tufts University), Karen Cummings (Southern Connecticut State University), David Meltzer (Iowa State University), David Hammer (University of Maryland), Steve Kanim (New Mexico State Uni-versity) and Valerie Otero (University of Colorado). Each addressed the theme of "Foundations and Frontiers" by synthesizing major accomplishments in the field and/or speculating on the directions they consider especially important and promising. Afternoons were unscheduled, and were variously spent exploring issues raised by the plenaries, developing collaborations, or enjoying the superb weather and natural beauty of Bar Harbor. Evening sessions included topical groups for specific research issues, a contributed poster session, and working groups on subjects of community-wide interest. Reports of the working groups appear on the pages that follow.
Feedback from post-conference surveys indicated tremendous satisfaction with the format, setting, and content of the meeting. Several participants described collaborations, papers, or projects that were cre-ated or revitalized at the meeting. Nearly half of all respondents felt it was among the best conferences they had ever attended. There was very strong support for holding a similar conference in 2007.
Infamous “Attacking Pinecone” sculpture on the College of the Atlantic campus
The conference organizers would like to thank the staff of the College of the Atlantic in Bar Harbor and the Center for Science and Mathematics Education Research at the University of Maine for their assis-tance. We are especially grateful for a grant from the Forum on Education of the APS that allowed graduate students to attend at a greatly reduced registration cost. The endorsement of the conference by the APS and the AAPT is appreciated.
Michael Wittmann, Paula Heron and Rachel Scherr are co-organizers of the Foundations and Frontiers in Physics Education Research Conference. Michael Wittmann is Assistant Professor of Physics, Cooperating Assistant Professor of Education and Co-director of the Physics Education Research Laboratory at the University of Maine. Paula Heron is Associate Professor of Physics at the University of Washington.