2017 APS Excellence in Physics Education Award

Wendy Adams, Chair - Excellence in Physics Education Award Selection Committee, University of Northern Colorado

The selection committee for the Excellence in Physics Education Award had a difficult job this year choosing between several deserving nominations. We would like to extend our appreciation to the efforts of several APS members who submitted these nominations. I would also like to recognize Ken Heller, Vice Chair, Dan Crowe, Dawn Meredith and Robert Beichner (2016 recipient) for their time and efforts in selecting this year’s awardee.

The 2017 APS Award for Excellence in Physics Education goes to the Contemporary Physics Education Project (CPEP) for leadership in providing educational materials on contemporary physics topics to students for over 25 years.

Twenty five years ago the Contemporary Physics Education Project (CPEP) created materials to make the key ideas of particle physics and the Standard Model accessible to high school students and the public in general. CPEP began by creating the equivalent of a periodic table for the Standard Model. Since its inception 25 years ago, the project has expanded to include materials for nuclear physics, plasma physics, and cosmology and has impacted millions of instructors and students around the world.

This project has been successful in part due to the quality and effectiveness of materials and the foresight of the group to create a sustainable model for dissemination. CPEP has been attentive to research based practices during the creation of this initial table and other materials. When designing the table, they not only consulted experts to create the draft of the table, but followed up by testing it in high school classrooms and modifying based on feedback from teachers. The project has since created a web-based “Particle Adventure” which incorporates “chunking” the ideas into easily manageable elements, excellent use of visual aids, and questions to provide formative assessment. The project has been sustainable due to the creation of an international non-profit organization with the mission of supporting the dissemination of quality educational material on contemporary physics.

If you know of a team or group of individuals, or, exceptionally, a single individual, who have exhibited a sustained commitment to excellence in physics education, please nomination them before June 30, 2017. More information can be found on the award page.

Fundamental particles

Disclaimer – The articles and opinion pieces found in this issue of the APS Forum on Education Newsletter are not peer refereed and represent solely the views of the authors and not necessarily the views of the APS.