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The APS Innovation Fund provides grants to advance collaborative projects that support the APS mission "to advance and diffuse the knowledge of physics for the benefit of humanity, promote physics, and service the broader physics community."
The APS Board of Directors has awarded funds to two projects in 2021. The projects receiving Innovation Fund awards are:
Addressing equity, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) in physics is a prominent goal of the APS Strategic Plan. One of the primary ways to foster inclusion and increase the retention of individuals with identities underrepresented in physics is to discuss EDI in the physics classroom. Despite the growing number of curricula, seminars, and workshops providing resources for physics educators to address EDI in their classrooms, many physics educators are hesitant to engage in critical conversations in their physics classrooms, due to lack of facilitation skills, fear of burdening minoritized students, and/or fear of causing harm due to lack of expertise. The APS EDI Fellows Program seeks to address the gap between available EDI resources and physicists' lack of expertise in critical conversations by training a cohort of physicists, paired with critical conversation specialists, to present interactive workshops that address fear and build capacity for physicists to engage in EDI conversations within the physics classroom context.
Project Leads: Martha-Elizabeth Baylor (PI, Carleton College), Jesús Pando (DePaul University), Peggy O'Neill (Smith College), Erika Brown (American Physical Society)
In a short period of time, the topical Group on Data Science has emerged as the largest topical group at APS, attracting physicists ranging from astronomy to biophysics and having presence in both the March and April meetings. There is feedback across the community that data science education will greatly benefit both physics research and career development, especially when it is well integrated into the physics curriculum, but guidance on how to best implement data science in physics teaching is lacking and presents an urgent need. To address this need and better serve APS members, this project intends to launch a multi-dimensional effort to address the integration of data science into the physics curriculum. These efforts will involve industry, national labs, and universities to determine and formalize learning goals and establish a community of practice. The project will recruit graduate students and postdocs as fellows to develop lessons and content, using peer review (including industry and national lab representatives) and classroom testing to vet the materials.
Project Leads: William Ratcliff (PI, University of Maryland and NIST), Maria Longobardi (University of Basel, Switzerland), Alexis Knaub (American Association of Physics Teachers), Wolfgang Losert (University of Maryland)