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The Physics Education Group at the University of Washington conducts a coordinated program of research, curriculum development, and instruction to improve student learning in physics and physical science from kindergarten through graduate school.  The work of the group is guided by ongoing discipline-based research.  

The primary curricula developed by the group include Physics by Inquiry (Wiley and Sons) and Tutorials in Introductory Physics (Pearson Publishing).  Results from research are disseminated through journal articles, talks at various colleges and professional meetings (e.g., the American Association of Physics Teachers, the American Physical Society, etc.), and in various workshops given by group members.

Recent news

Fri, February 13th

Since 1976, the University Faculty Lecture has honored faculty whose undaunted research, scholarship or art have made a major impact on their profession — and beyond. In conjunction with the Office of the Provost, UW faculty members choose one of their peers to deliver this annual lecture. Professor Lillian McDermott joins a roster of Nobel laureates, historians, artists, scientists and authors who have presented this series over its long history.

Lillian C. McDermott has been awarded this recognition and delivered the University Faculty Lecture on Thursday, December 19.  Lillian is a professor of Physics, director of the Physics Education Group, and a leader in the field of Physics Education Research.


Tue, January 20th

Information regarding the Physics Education Group’s 2015 Summer Institute in Physics and Physical Science is now available online.  During the Institute K-12 inservice teachers will develop, through inquiry instruction, an in-depth understanding of concepts relevant to the grade levels and subjects they teach.  Their own learning experiences will serve as a teaching and learning model for their classrooms.  The deadline for submitting an application is February 28, 2015.

Thu, October 30th

Ximena Cid organized a session titled “Physics Education Research: Research at the Undergraduate Level” for the SACNAS annual conference that took place in Los Angeles, CA from October 15 - 19, 2014.  She gave an introduction to PER talk titled “Physics Education Research: What is it and what can we do?”  The other speakers included Ramon Lopez from the University of Texas, Arlington, Mila Kryjevskaia from North Dakota State University, and Michael Loverude from California State University, Fullerton.  The session was heavily attended and it generated a lot of discussion about how research based methodologies can influence shifts in undergraduate instruction and how undergraduate students can get involved with the field of PER.  There was also a session on Biology Education Research, Chemistry Education Research, and Mathematics Education Research, which Ximena took part in organizing.  All sessions went well and had a good turn out.  

Tue, July 22nd

On July 29th, the Physics Education Group will conduct a workshop for more than sixty 9th and 10th grade students in the Early Engineering Institute sponsored by the UW College of Engineering and the UW GEAR UP Program.  In this hands-on workshop, students will gain direct experience with the process of science as they apply basic scientific reasoning skills and mathematics to the development of a scientific model for light.

Fri, June 20th

The National Science Foundation provides opportunities for undergraduates to participate in NSF-funded research programs through its Research Experience for Undergraduates (REU) program.  Students selected for the REU program gain research experience through active engagement in a research projects well suited to their individual interests in a particular field.  Alexandra Lau, a physics major in her senior year at Mount Holyoke College, will be working with the Physics Education Group as part of the UW REU program.  Welcome to Seattle, the UW and the Physics Education Group, Allie!