CU Nobel Laureate Carl Wieman Elected To Prestigious National Academy Of Education

Published: May 5, 2008

Nobel laureate Carl Wieman, distinguished professor of physics at the University of Colorado at Boulder, has been elected to the prestigious National Academy of Education for his pioneering efforts in educational research.

Based in Washington, D.C., the NAE has a total membership of only 169 members and 17 foreign associates. Current members include former Harvard University President Derek Bok and former University of Chicago President Hanna Gray. Previously anthropologist Margaret Mead and psychologist Jean Piaget were NAE members.

Wieman was one of six new members announced by the academy on May 1. He has been a CU faculty member since 1984 and is the sixth CU-Boulder faculty member elected to the NAE. Starting last year, Wieman began a 20 percent appointment at CU-Boulder to head the Science Education Initiative and an 80 percent appointment at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, where he is a physics professor and also heads a science education project. CU-Boulder's Science Education Initiative works collaboratively with the UBC project.

"The newly elected members are pre-eminent leaders in their respective areas of educational research, and they are recognized for the extraordinary impact that they have had on education in the U.S. and abroad," said NAE President Lorrie Shepard, dean of the CU-Boulder School of Education.

In addition to atomic physics research, Wieman studies science education and the use of technology in science education. His research covers the effectiveness of the Physics Education Technology project, or PhET, which he launched at CU-Boulder in 2002 and which develops interactive Web-based simulations for physics instruction. He was named the 2004 Carnegie Foundation National Professor of the Year and was a co-winner of the Nobel Prize in physics in 2001.

Wieman is the only current member of the NAE who is a physicist. Other CU-Boulder members of the National Academy of Education include Shepard, Distinguished Professor Margaret Eisenhart, former Professor Hilda Borko (now at Stanford University) and Distinguished Professor Emeritus Robert Linn, all of the School of Education, and Professor Emeritus Walter Kintsch of the psychology department.

Nominations for NAE membership are submitted by individual members once a year for review and election by the entire academy membership. Members serve on expert study panels addressing pressing issues in education and are actively engaged in professional development programs.

The National Academy of Education was founded in 1965 and has up to 200 U.S. members and up to 25 foreign associates. For more information about the academy and its members visit