Joint Network for Informal Physics Education and Research (JNIPER)

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The Joint Network for Informal Physics Education and Research (JNIPER) is a community of practice for people involved in designing, facilitating, or studying informal physics learning activities and programs. By bringing together these individuals and groups, this community will foster collaboration and connection that addresses the isolation often experienced in informal physics education work.

What do we mean by informal physics education and research?

Informal physics education, also known as public engagement in physics, refers to a wide range of activities where facilitators and participants are mutually engaged in exploring physics phenomena and topics. The emphasis of informal physics activities is on promoting curiosity and excitement, rather than the content mastery standards found in formal schooling. Common examples include science camps, afterschool programs, museum exhibits, demo shows, and podcasts, among others. There are researchers who study effective practices and the impact of informal physics education.

The JNIPER Community

JNIPER community members are from inside and outside academia, and have a range of public engagement backgrounds, from novice to experienced. Members include students, postdocs, faculty, and part-time or full-time public engagement professionals. APS membership is not required to join.

Get Involved

Joining the JNIPER Community allows you to learn effective ways to engage with the public on physics topics and to assess and advocate for your informal physics education work. In addition, JNIPER members will play a role in shaping the direction of public engagement in physics. The community currently hosts monthly virtual coffee hours and a Slack space for idea and resource sharing and discussion of problems of practice. We will also be leading sessions at the APS March and April 2023 Meetings. As the community grows and matures, we will develop expanded learning and networking opportunities, such as the JNIPER academy, mentoring program, and workshops.

Want to register for the network (it’s free) and join our mailing list and Slack space?

Register Now

Vision and Mission

The long-term vision of the network is to elevate the value and recognition for public engagement in physics. Additionally, the network seeks to broaden participation in physics by fostering public engagement programs that are grounded in research and cultural competency, and oriented toward equity.

The community's mission is to empower those advancing informal physics education and to support them in enacting effective practices. We seek to achieve this mission by facilitating research-to-practice partnerships and providing a central convening space for the physics community’s informal physics education efforts.

These connections will promote visibility, recognition, and resource and idea sharing. Taken together, this will reduce the isolation and disconnection often present between informal physics education practitioners, programs, and researchers.

Upcoming Events:

December Coffee Hour

  • Date: December 8, 2022
  • Time: 10:00 a.m. P.T./1:00 p.m. E.T.
  • About this event: The coffee hour will be led by Lindsay House, creator of Dark Energy Explorers, and will discuss topics including online citizen science projects and assessment and education research possibilities with this form of public engagement.
  • Sign up for the December Coffee Hour Zoom meeting

Past Events:

Inaugural JNIPER Coffee Hour!

  • Date/Time: November 16, 2022 at 9:00 a.m. P.T./12:00 p.m. E.T.
  • View: Recording here.
  • About this event: The coffee hour was led by our colleagues at the Little Shop of Physics. They shared ideas and tips on what it took to start, grow, and sustain their science outreach program at Colorado State University.

Join the JNIPER Community

Register Now

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