Physics Education Research at CU-Boulder

News Archive


Steven Pollock named US Professor of the Year

Steve is name Carnegie/CASE US Professor of the year. The second US Professor of the Year in the group!


3 PER Students Celebrate Graduate degrees, Sp2014

Benjamin Spike, PhD
Jack Olsen, MS
Rosemary Wulf MS


CU-Boulder hosts AAPT CO-WY Sectional Meeting

PER Group leads Wilcox and Hinko run the regional section of AAPT meeting!


Wulf wins Knowles Teaching Fellowship

One of 35 nationally and one of two here at CU, Wulf wins prestigious 5 year fellowship


Olsen named oustanding graduate in enginnering

Jack will be named as one of two oustanding graduates from the College of Engineering for his service


Albert Bartlett, pioneer in physics education, dies at age 90

Professor emeritus and internationally celebrated lecturer Al Bartlett died on Saturday, September 7, at the age of 90. We are grateful for all that Al has done for physics, for the University of Colorado Boulder, for the Boulder region, and for his work nationally and internationally. A full obituary and kind thoughts from his friends and colleagues can be found in the CU Alumni Association press release.


PhET sims featured in Colorado Public Radio Story

PhET simulations are labeled as a key staple in engaging students' interest in science at Conifer High School taught by PhET's own Trish Loeblein. See the transcript of the story at this link.


Stephanie Chasteen to give Clicker Talk

Stephanie Chasteen is scheduled to give a seminar on writing effective clicker questions. The seminar will focus on increasing student engagement and making clicker sessions more effective and fun. Chasteen, a Science Teaching Fellow for the Department of Physics will hold her seminar on Wednesday, August 15, 2012 in ATLAS 200 from 2:30 - 4:30 pm. See the posting for more information.


Sciencegeekgirl featured in ASSETT article

Stephanie Chasteen and her acclaimed podcast series Learning about Teaching Physics were featured on the ASSETT news page. The article outlines the mission of the podcast and praises the course improvement strategies that Chasteen and Boulder High School science teacher Michael Fuchs strive to accomplish.


Spring Break Fun!

This year's spring break was accompanied by beautiful weather which made for an excellent opportunity to enjoy what Boulder is vastly known for. Noahs Finkelstein and Podolefsky organized a group to hike the Flatirons during the final weekend of the break.





NEW Book on Physics Teacher Preparation!

Check out the newly published book from the collaboration of the Physics Teacher Education Coalition (PhysTEC). The book is a compilation of many research articles involving the science of preparing teachers in physics and physical sciences. It is the product of the increased recognition of the necessity to improve physics and physical science teachers. Follow the link to view the abstract, goal, and objectives of the book!



Kathy Perkins and Noah Podolefsky are finalists for the PERC proceedings best paper! Other finalists also include Ben Van Dusen and Valerie Otero, and Stephanie Barr and Mike Ross. CU alumna Heidi Iverson won best paper. Congratulations to all!


Kathy Perkins featured on CU Connections

Kathy was interviewed by the CU Connections side which periodically features a five question interview with professors from all of the CU campuses. In her interview, Kathy mentions the education and career paths that brought her where she is today, her PhET project and its success.


PhET wins Tech Award!

PhET Simulations has been bestowed the honor of being one of 3 laureates of the 2011 Tech Awards. This success comes at the heels of such feats as creating 106 simulations which have been translated into 64 languages, and have acquired 50 million uses in over 200 countries and territories. Congratulations, PhET! This honor is greatly deserved.


Stephanie Chasteen starts new PER podcast

She has helped create a podcast miniseries on how research on teaching and learning science relates to the classroom. It is directed at physics but relevant to all science teachers!


Congratulations to Laurel Mayhew and Noah Finkelstein!

Laurel and Noah have won the 2011-2012 Outreach award presented by the University of Colorado Office of University Outreach and Associate Vice Chancellor of Outreach Anne Heinz.



On Wednesday, April 6, 2011, Colin Wallace and Lauren Kost-Smith had successful Ph.D. defenses. Colin's thesis, Understanding Students' Difficulties with Cosmology, focuses on methods of teaching introductory astrophysics. Lauren's thesis, Investigating the Gender Gap in Undergraduate Physics Courses, researches tools to encourage women to continue in the study of physics. Congratulations Colin and Lauren!


CU Boulder's Noyce Fellows Part of STEM Education

An article in the latest edition of Colorado Arts & Sciences Magazine features the Noyce Fellows' efforts in STEM education through the Learning Assistant program. Noyce, along with other affiliated STEM education programs, is working to increase the number of science and math teachers in schools in Colorado and across the country. The push for more teachers is in response to what has been called the education emergency in the United States.


Katherine Perkins Wins PERC Proceeding Paper Award

Congratulations to Katherine Perkins for her winning and finalist papers in the PERC Proceedings Paper competition. Her coauthors include Mindy Gratny for their winning paper on "Who Becomes a Physics Major? A Long-Term Longitudinal Study Examining the Roles of Pre-College Beliefs about Physics and Learning Physics, Interest, and Academic Achievement" and Steven Pollock, Stephanie Chasteen, and Michael Dubson for their finalist study on "The Use of Concept Tests and Peer Instruction in Upper-Division Physics."


Ben Van Dusen Featured on APS PhysicsCentral

Check out Ben's featured biography on the American Physical Society's PhysicsCentral site!


PhET Simulations Receives $2.5 Million in Grants

The National Science Foundation and the O'Donnell Foundation have granted the PhET Interactive Simulations Project $2.5 million to expand to middle school science classrooms. The project, which has 87 simulations used globally, offers students astounding advantages in understanding complex phenomena. Originally the sims were focused on physics material, but in recent years, it has added lessons in chemistry, mathematics, biology and earth science.


SPIE Interviews Noah Finkelstein

SPIE, an international society for optics and photonics, interviewed Noah about his work as the director of PER at Colorado as well as his work with STEM Education and research in student learning. In addition to the interview, Noah gave a presentation at the SPIE Optics + Photonics Symposium in August 2010.


Finkelstein Gives Key Note Speech at Puerto Rico Conference

On October 29, 2010, Noah Finkelstein was invited to speak at the Puerto Rico Louis Stokes Alliance for the Minority Participation annual Best Practices Conference.


STEM Education Studies the Effectiveness of Values Affirmation

Researchers and affiliates of STEM Education at the University of Colorado at Boulder and Stanford University have concluded that using Values Affirmation exercises in college-level introductory classes decreases the learning and performance gap between men and women.


AP Interviews Mike Dubson about clickers

The Associated Press interviewed Mike Dubson for an article about the use of clickers in college classrooms. The story was run in multiple publications.


Finkelstein Testifies Before U.S. House Subcommittee on State of STEM Education

Noah Finkelstein was invited to testify about strengthening undergraduate and graduate STEM education before the U.S. House of Representatives Research and Science Education Subcommittee of the Committee on Science and Technology.


CU STEM Education Initiatives are Highlighted in a Visit by the CU Chancellor to the White House

CU Boulder Chancellor Phil Distefano visited the White House on January 6, 2010 as part of a joint pledge to increase the number of science and math teachers in America.


ISTEM Symposium Brings CU Administrators and Programs together for STEM Education

The inaugural Symposium for Integrating Science, Technology, Engineering and Math Education brought together the Provost and Deans from Arts and Sciences, Engineering, and the School of Education as well as over 25 programs engaging in STEM education and 150 participants.


Otero Wins Provost Faculty Achievement Award

Dr. Otero wins the 2009-2010, Provost award for faculty achievement based on her article in Science. Award will be made at the Best Should Teach Awards.


Mayhew & Finkelstein win 2009 Campus Diversity Award

Dr's Mayhew and Finkelstein won a 2009 Campus Diversity Award for the Partners in Informal Science in the Community (PISEC) program


Physics Department wins CU System Wide Award

The Physics Department was recognized as the best graduate program in the system, winning the Presidential Leadership Award


CU Wins National Award:
NSF: I3 - STEM Education

Under the direction of the Provost, researchers in the PER and DBER groups will lead an effort to build a national center in STEM Education  


Pollock Named Presidential Scholar

Steven Pollock was named as a President's Teaching Scholars, one of CU's highest honors for teaching and scholarly endeavors.


CU Wins National mathematics and Science Initiative Award ($2.4M)

A coalition of researchers from education and science departments has won one of twelve awards from the NMSI, part of a $125M initiative in education.


Wieman Featured in AP News article on Transforming large-Enrollment courses

A popular piece on the efforts at CU, UBC and elsewhere to transform science courses. (Nov 24, 2007)


PhET Wins MERLOT Award

The Physics Education Technology Project, or PhET received the 2006 MERLOT Classics Award as the most outstanding online resource in the field of physics and also won its highest honor, the Editor's Choice Award,


PhET wins Science 2007 Visualization Challenge

The Physics Education Technology Project wins First Place in Science Magazines 2007 Visualization Challenge


NEW: Senior Teaching Fellow postdoc in Physics [job filled]

Join the Science Education Initiative and help physics transform its undergraduate courses.


Finkelstein wins campus teaching award and Others

Noah Finkelstein wins university-wide Teaching Excellence Award and the GTP Gold Pin Excellence in Teaching Award and was recently featured in Science Magazine's Careers


New Papers from PER@C

Several new papers from the PER group have appeared in Physical Review, Science, Physics Today, and Nature Physics


Wieman wins top AAPT Award

Carl Wieman is the winner of the 2007 Oersted Medal, the highest honor given by the American Association of Physics Teachers.


Dubson Article in Physics Teacher (and National Teaching Award)

Learn the 3 or 4 Golden Rules of Lecture from Michael Dubson . . .


LA Program Featured in Science magazine

Otero, Finkelstein, Pollock and McCray discuss the impact and potential of the LA Program for transforming science courses and recruiting future teachers


PhET Wins Merlot Award

The Physics Education Technology Project, or PhET received the 2006 MERLOT Classics Award as the most outstanding online resource in the field of physics and also won its highest honor, the Editor's Choice Award, as an exemplary model for all 17 disciplines.


PI's Otero, Pollock win $1.5M NSF TPC grant

As Continuation of the STEM Colorado program, Learning Assistant Model of Teacher Education in Science and Technology," is under the direction of Valerie K. Otero, Derek C. Briggs, Michael W. Klymkowsky, Steven J. Pollock.


Dubson wins National Teaching Award

Michael Dubson will be recognized by the AAPT with the Excellence in Undergraduate Physics Teaching Award at the upcoming national meeting of the AAPT


Otero / Finkelstein elected to PERLOC

PERLOC is organizing council the PER community - conducting elections, spending funds, compiling news letters, organizing committees, setting up the PERC committee, and PERC proceedingsā€¦


Wieman and Perkins lead Science Education Initiative at CU boulder

A new Science Education Project at the University of Colorado at Boulder created and directed by Distinguished Professor and Nobel Laureate Carl Wieman will incorporate research findings on effective science instruction in the classrooms of four CU-Boulder science departments beginning this fall.


Finkelstein elected as Member at large of the American Physical Society's Forum on EducaTION (APS Fed)

The Forum on Education (FEd) of the American Physical Society exists as a mechanism to involve its members in activities related to physics education, at all educational stages, from elementary to grad school.