Published: Oct. 24, 2011

Professor Katherine Perkins receiving Tech AwardCongratulations to the CU PhET program for being selected as the winner of the $50,000 Microsoft Education Award at the 2011 Tech Awards banquet in San Jose, California.

The Tech Awards: Technology Benefiting Humanity, awarded five $50,000 prizes to international pacesetters. Kathy Perkins, Director of PhET Interactive Simulations in the University of Colorado Department of Physics, accepted the award on behalf of the CU PhET team.

"On behalf of the entire PhET team, I thank those who make these awards possible – to everyone at the Tech museum and Santa Clara University, to the judges and mentors, to Applied Materials, and a special thanks to Microsoft," says Perkins. "This award will enable us to build a new online teacher support center. We urge everyone to share these simulations with teachers and students around the world. Together, we can work to advance science literacy and education worldwide."

The Tech Awards, a signature progrram of The Tech Museum in San Jose, California, selected PhET from among hundreds of nominations representing 54 countries. Fifteen innovators from around the world who were recognized for applying technology in practical ways to resolve some of the world's most challenging issues. The fifteen laureate finalists spent a week in Silicon Valley meeting with business leaders and philanthropists. Five programs, including PhET, were awarded $50,000 top pizes.

Earlier this month, PhET was announced as a Tech Laureate. On Thursday, PhET was selected as the $50,000 prize recipient of the Microsoft Education Award.

PhET was created by Carl Wieman in 2002 to make science accessible and meaningful to everyone. PhET was designed to provide fun, interactive, research-based simulations of physical phenomena for free. PhET has created over 100 simulations for teaching and learning science and math. Going beyond traditional educational resources, PhET simulations offer an intuitive, game-like environment where students can learn through scientist-like exploration, where dynamic visual representations make the invisible visible, and where science ideas are connected to real-world phenomena. These simulations are widely used by K12 and university students and instructors worldwide.

With an easy translation process, PhET simulations have been translated into 64 languages by volunteer teachers and scientists throughout the world, allowing students to access these high-quality science teaching and learning tools in their own language. In 2011, the simulations will be used more than 22 million times, reaching over 200 countries and territories around the world.

PhET has been generously supported by Carl Wieman, the Hewlett Foundation, the O’Donnell Foundation, the National Science Foundation, King Saud University, the Kavli Foundation, and the University of Colorado.

View the official news release from The Tech Museum.

Tech Awards Video