Summer 2003


Message from the Chair

Wolfgang Christian

 In keeping with the Forum on Education’s charter to promote “the advancement and diffusion of knowledge regarding the inter-relation of physics, physicists and education” and to involve its members in activities related to physics education, the FEd has undertaken a new initiative to sponsor an annual session at a national meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT). The first such session is being organized by the Division of Physics of Beams (DPB) at the 2004 AAPT summer meeting in Sacrament CA.

The DPB was chosen to organize the first FEd-sponsored AAPT session because of the expertise available at the national laboratories in Northern California. Speakers will be chosen so as to present a wide-ranging comprehensive picture of different aspects of beam physics and accelerators and their applications to a diverse range of research areas. Free educational materials will be provided and the FEd will sponsor a reception following this session. The DPB Education and Outreach Committee chaired by Ernie Malamud will be working closely with members of AAPT to maximize the usefulness of this session to the physics education community.

Sponsoring a session at an AAPT meeting is an excellent opportunity for APS Units to provide outreach to non-specialists in the physics teaching community. The FEd is currently seeking a Unit to organize a session at the 2005 AAPT summer meeting. If your Unit is interested in such a session, please contact the 2005 FEd Program Committee Chair, Ramon Lopez, with your Unit’s proposal. (Email:

As reported by Ken Krane in the Fall 2002 FEd newsletter, the Committee on Education (COE) appointed a subcommittee comprised of Beth Cunningham, Fred Stein, and me to study the feasibility of establishing an APS Education Award. We now have a preliminary proposal to present. Please feel free to contact me or any member of the COE if you have comments. If this or a similar proposal is approved, the FEd and the COE will work together to develop a fundraising plan in order to endow the award.

Finally, the FEd is seeking to develop resources and provide expertise for states developing standards for teacher licensure. If you know of teacher licensure activity in your state, or if you are knowledgeable about teacher licensure and would be willing to serve as an expert, please contact Ted Hodapp. (Email:

Excellence in Physics Education Award
Committee on Education
April 12, 2003

Awarded yearly to recognize and honor an individual, team, or group of individuals (such as a department) who have exhibited a sustained commitment to excellence in physics education. Such a commitment may be evidenced by, but not restricted to, such accomplishments as:

  • Outreach programs
  • A specific program or project that has had a major ongoing influence on physics education at the national level
  • Outstanding teacher enhancement or teacher preparation programs over a number of years
  • Long-lasting professional service related to physics education that has had a demonstrated positive impact

Nominations must be submitted to the Chair of the Selection Committee. A complete nomination packet consists of the following:

  • A letter of nomination outlining the candidate’s significant contributions related to education in physics
  • A current curriculum vita
  • A minimum of three additional supporting statements, of which at least two should come from individuals not associated with the nominee’s workplace

The awardee receives recognition during the APS April Meeting. Nominations must be received by July 1.

Wolfgang Christian is Professor of Physics at Davidson College. He is Chair of the Forum on Education.