Number 70

November 2019

Editor's Corner

Hello All,

It is an absolute pleasure to reflect on my experiences of the July 2019 GIREP/ICPE conference in the charming city of Budapest, Hungary. Our hosts, Beáta Jarosievitz and Csaba Sükösd were delightful, the organisation was meticulous, the schedule ran to time like clockwork, and all local personnel were very welcoming and knowledgeable.
The conference had a local cultural flavour revolving around discussions of the Eötvös experiment which was cited by Einstein in 1916 in The Foundation of the General Theory of Relativity. A century later, 2016, LIGO detected gravitational waves. Perhaps, the most impressive aspect was the focus on the educational and networking experiences of participants.

Enjoying the sights of Budapest with Beáta and other delegates.

As always, conferences are cherished as places to catch-up with friends and colleagues, and to make new contacts. I look forward to catching-up in Vietnam for another wonderful conference.
In this newsletter, we bring an important article from the Vice President of IUPAP, Professor  Nithaya Chetty on IUPAP and its contributions in advocating and leveraging for physics. Value for members is critical and, at this moment in human history, education is essential. C14 plays a pivotal role in providing value through education as well as supporting members.  
The Chair of C14, Professor Roberto Nardi shares the Editors’ Corner of this issue, providing insights from the C&CC meeting.
For information on the activities of ICPE please see the IUPAP website.

Subscribe to this newsletter.
                    Professor Manjula Sharma
Report from IUPAP's C&CC meeting in London - by Roberto Nardi 

The Meeting of the IUPAP Executive Council and Commission Chairs and Associated Commissions took place recently (30 Sept. to 4 Oct.), in London, U.K., hosted by the Institute of Physics (IOP). The Council, Commission Chairs and Associated Commissions (photo 1- below) discussed several important matters related to the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics (IUPAP) and member countries. 

Photo 1: Participants

An IUPAP Officers’ informal meeting was held on 30 September to discuss the prospective Chair nominations for the Commissions. Prior to being sent to the IUPAP Office, the nominations will be discussed at the General Assembly (GA), to take place next year in Beijing, China.
The Meeting continued on the 1st and 2nd of October with a welcome by Prof. Paul Hardarkar (photo 2), Liaison for U.K. and Chief Executive of IOP, host of the event and an introduction by Prof. Kennedy Reed, President of IUPAP. Working Group 16 (WG16) presented IUPAP’s goals regarding Physics in Industry and the ensuing discussion included perspectives from Physics in Industry in the  U.K. Furthermore, the state of the finances in 2019 and the proposed budget for 2020 were discussed and approved.

Photo 2: Prof. Paul Hardarkar

Report continued below............
In this Issue:

IUPAP's C&CC Meeting - 30 Sept. to 4 Oct. 2019

Report by Roberto Nardi

A draft strategy regarding new IUPAP members was proposed and an action plan was presented. Working Group 2 – Communication in Physics (Jens Vigen) and Working Group 5 – Women in Physics (Gillian Butcher) reported on the respective working groups’ matters. These included: 'Gender Gap' goals; discussions about harassment and nomination of a person in charge (male and female); and a report about a 'Gender Champion' and 'Gender' representation at conferences, including a minimum number of women members in Conference Committees. In addition, policies with regard to visas were discussed, in order to facilitate the free movement of researchers at future IUPAP meetings as well as relations with other unions, like IUPAC, IAPS and ISC regional offices, and procedures for nominations for GA slates.

A discussion about the IUPAP Centenary (2022), led by the Vice President (Centenary) Monica Pepe-Altarelli, ensured that all the commissions will participate and are preparing action plans. A logo (photo 3) and a leaflet on the IUPAP Centenary were proposed and approved to be used in all IUPAP conferences and meetings. 

Photo 3: Logo for IUPAP Centenary

The meeting culminated with a special banquet dinner in Granaio Ristorante (photo 4).

Photo 4: Banquet dinner                                                                    
The Chair of the International Commission on Physics Education (ICPE) - also as a vice president at large – photos 5/6), participated actively in this meeting, reporting the ICPE supported events and actions in the last year.

Photo 5:

Photo 6: Roberto Nardi – Brazil (C14 – International Commission on Physics Education), Prof. Michel Spiro – France (IUPAP President Designate), Roberta Ramponi – Italy (ICO - The International Commission for Optics (ICO) and Roberto Rivarola – Argentina (C15 - Commission Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics). 

A printed version of the last ICPE Newsletter was delivered to all present.

Photo 7: Sharing the ICPE newsletter and a coffee!

Membership Matters

By Nithaya Chetty Vice President Membership

Image: Nithaya Chetty

The IUPAP Commission for Physics Education C14 is ideally placed to help promote the Union to physicists and countries well beyond the current list of member nations of the Union. This is due to the fact that Physics Education is considered to be crucially important in all countries, even in countries where physics as a research discipline might not be sufficiently strong. This suggests that C14 has the greatest opportunity for attracting to its fold pioneers of science in developing countries who are themselves in the best position to champion Physics in their home countries, and who can be important ambassadors for the IUPAP.
IUPAP is working hard to retain those member nations who could be faltering in their commitment to the organization, and reaching out to potentially new member countries and attracting them to the IUPAP-fold. In so doing, driving membership is intimately connected with promoting the organization internationally, and keeping the world of physics informed about the roles that IUPAP is playing in strengthening the discipline of physics on a world-wide scale.
IUPAP has been advancing physics across international boundaries for almost 100 years. Thirteen countries established the organization in Brussels in 1922. Today there are 57 member nations from around the world.
During the cold war, IUPAP was especially active in ensuring the free circulation of scientists despite the political divides that existed at that time. Physics as a discipline benefitted because Eastern Bloc scientists could, with the support of IUPAP, participate in scientific meetings in the West, and vice versa. And of course, humanity benefitted because physics was able to bring people together from across the iron curtain that helped build important human bridges that eventually led to the end of the cold war.

 The changing environment for science
Today, the environment for science is very different. Our challenges for physics, and for science in general, in the 21st century are different from barely a generation ago.
The UN Millennium Developmental Goals provide an important framework for the social, political and economic imperatives that we face today, and this is setting the basis for a burgeoning new international research agenda. IUPAP, being the voice of physics on a global scale, is at the very centre of helping drive this agenda from the physics perspective.
We find increasingly today that truth is being undervalued, and is often being blurred. This problem is growing even in the developed world where scientific research is becoming increasingly politicized. The effort required to advance knowledge for societal benefit is not always understood and appreciated by society the world-over.
Today, thanks to the internet, we have free and easy access to information. One must ask whether our university and research systems are thus becoming less relevant today. They will be, if we don’t adjust our educational systems accordingly. It is becoming difficult to discriminate between real and bogus information. How do we counter plagiarism, protect intellectual property, etc.?

All of this requires a global voice for science, and IUPAP concerns itself with many of these matters in the advancement of physics.

The current big science questions need big – meaning, expensive – research infrastructures that no single country can readily afford. This calls for large multidisciplinary teams and large multinational collaborations. This is a challenge, of course especially in the developing world, but also an opportunity for us scientists. We must ask, how can we participate more effectively?
Being globally connected through our communications also means that we are susceptible to problems of cybersecurity. How do we protect ourselves more effectively? This problem cannot be solved individually, one nation at a time, but by joining forces and setting international standards and benchmarks for the way in which we conduct ourselves.
What is of great concern are the wide-spread disparities in science, with the ensuing wide-spread disparities in development across the world. These two issues are inextricably connected. The challenge for us this century is to develop science more extensively universally for the benefit of all of humanity. This is very central to the mission of the IUPAP.
Increasing IUPAP membership
Recruiting new members is central for IUPAP's long term sustainability. Over the past year, Jordan and Uruguay have become members. Egypt has re-joined after losing their membership at the most recent general assembly. IUPAP is working closely with the Ethiopian Physical Society of North American to secure a deal that will keep Ethiopia in the IUPAP-fold. We are also having discussions with many other countries about the benefits of joining. Scrutinizing the most productive physics nations who are currently not members is a useful way to guide this discussion and to target potentially new members.
Increasing IUPAP membership strengthens the international voice for the agenda for physics world-wide. IUPAP creates an international platform where scientists can raise their voices and express their views on any matter that relates to physics and the practice of physics in this world, and in so doing help to propose solutions and action plans to address such matters. This enables physicists to participate in decision-making that impacts physics on an international level in significant ways.
IUPAP has at times been active in supporting physics in countries when their science system or their scientists have come under some kind of political threat. This calls for astute leadership and careful scientific diplomacy to make a constructive impact, as the potential for making the opposite effect will always be there.
Invariably, increasing membership means more resources that enables IUPAP to do more with and for physics for the benefit of humanity. This means more support for IUPAP-related activities such as the annual commission conferences, workshops, working group meetings and so on, that are open to the international world of physics.
Physics for society
Communicating the importance of physics to mainstream society still requires a big effort from professional physicists all around the world. There are ample reasons around to motivate for the importance of physics. The entire technological world in which we live is due to discoveries and understandings developed in physics.
The transistor invented in 1947 is the basis for the digital electronic industry that many simply take for granted today. The world wide web was developed at CERN in Geneva. Many of the medical diagnostic tools used today, such as MRI, CT scans, etc., all have their origins in physics. But, the most attractive aspects of physics concern themselves with developing deeper understandings of the physical world in which we live, which invariably touches on the origins of the universe and the very nature of life itself.
We can all be doing a better job in communicating the wonders of physics to mainstream society. We should be connecting physics education much more to everyday life experiences, and here C14 has a leading role to play.

Conference Report - GIREP_ICPE-EPEC-MPTL-Eötvös Year 2019          

         Budapest 1-5 July 2019

The GIREP-ICPE-EPEC-MPTL 2019 international conference, 1-5 July, was hosted by the Budapest University of Technology and Economics. The Conference coincided with the centenary year of the passing of Roland Eötvös and the commemoration of his achievements in physics by UNSECO. Roland Eötvös was a Hungarian Physicist, an outstanding research scientist and an excellent educator who reformed the Hungarian science education system.
This Conference offered the opportunity for delegates to come to Budapest to share their knowledge and experiences under the theme of Teaching-learning Contemporary Physics, from Research to Practice.
There were 336 contributions - 10 symposia, 11 workshops, 174 oral presentations and 78 poster presentations across 10 topics:

A. Strategies and Methods to Improve Physics Learning and Teaching
B. Multimedia in Physics Teaching and Learning
C. Contemporary Physics and Modern Physics in School
D. Physics Curriculum: Development and Implementation
E. Experiments in Physics Education
F. Early Science Learning
G. Environmental Physics
H. Teacher Education and Postgraduate Education
I. InformalLearning and Science Centres
J. Outreach of Physics

There were eight outstanding keynote speakers:

Marisa Michelini - Modern Physics in Secondary School and Physics Education Research
Andras Patkós - Scientist, Educator, Statesman - the Legacy of Roland Eötvös
Igal Galili - The Impact of Equivalence Principle on Physics Teaching - the Ongoing Opposition in Teaching of Weight-Gravity
Dean Zollman - Context, Representations and Transfer: How Physics Education Research Informs Teaching and Learning
David R. Sokoloff - Active Dissemination - Over Three Decades of Faculty Development in Active Learning
Raimund Girwidz - Physics Teaching and Learning with Multimedia Applications in Non-English Teacher-Oriented Journals
Lars-Jochen Thoms - Facilitating Knowledge Acquisition in Virtual and Remote Labs
Manjula D. Sharma - Experimentation in Physics Education: Should we Bother?

The response of delegates was very positive as shown by feedback collected at the conclusion of the Conference - see opposite. Nearly 80% of respondents (n=81) thought the Conference was 'Good' or 'Very Good'. Particularly positive feedback was provided for the organizers; Prof. Dr Beáta Jarosietvitz, Prof. Dr Csaba Sükösd.

The Conference also provided an opportunity to recognise outstanding individuals in Physics Education. The 2019 ICPE Medal was presented to Marisa Michelini, professor  in physics education at Udine University, Italy. 

A selection of photographs from the Conference below:

All Conference attendees

Conference Committee

Thank you to ICPE keynote Prof. Manjula Sharma

Students performing a play

Conference feedback

UBC Physics Olympics: Forty-one Years of Province-wide Physics Outreach

Marina Milner-Bolotin, Theresa Liao, Janis McKenna
University of British Columbia, Vancouver, Canada
For the last 41 years, the Department of Physics and Astronomy in the Faculty of Science and the Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy at the University of British Columbia (UBC) have been collaborating on organizing a day-long hands-on team physics competition for British Columbia (BC) secondary students (Liao, McKenna, & Milner-Bolotin, 2017). This annual physics outreach event is called the UBC Physics Olympics to be distinguished from the traditional individual Physics Olympiad (Department of Physics and Astronomy, 2019). In 2019, the UBC Physics Olympics attracted 720 secondary students from 72 schools all across the province of BC (Figure 1).

Figure 1: The map represents 72 teams who participated in the 2019 UBC Physics Olympics. The distance from Vancouver to Nelson, British Columbia (the most eastern town on the map) is 660 km.

As far as we know, the UBC Physics Olympics is one of the largest and oldest secondary school physics competitions of its kind in North America (Department of Physics and Astronomy, 2019). The competition consists of six hands-on events (heats), of which two are prebuilt by the students in the months before the competition, two are lab events conducted during the day, one is a Fermi question event, and one is a team conceptual challenge (Quizzics) that asks students to answer conceptual questions using clickers (a classroom response system). Since 2012, the event also included professional development workshops and networking opportunities for physics teachers and coaches who accompany the students.

Historically, each school was allowed to enter one student team of up to 20 students, who participate in all 6 heats. Up to five students can participate in each specific heat, but all of the students may collaborate on constructing the pre-built apparatus. However, in recent years, as the popularity of the event has grown, some larger schools have asked to enter two teams, so more students could participate. As a result, in 2019 we had three schools with two teams per school. We design all the heats in such a way that undersized teams are not penalized. So if a team is small, fewer than five students can still manage to participate successfully in the events. Each one-hour long heat is run and judged by a UBC faculty member assisted by 5-10 undergraduate and graduate students. Many of these students participated in the Physics Olympics years ago when they were secondary students and some of these students decided to study physics, inspired by their Physics Olympics engagement. While the majority of teams come from the Lower Mainland (the Vancouver area is the most populated region of British Columbia having about 50% of the BC population), teams come from all across of BC, as far as Terrace, Mackenzie, Nelson, and Invermere (1360 km, 970 km, 860 km and 840 km driving distance from UBC respectively). Some teams who come from Vancouver Island have to take a ferry, while others who come from small towns in the North need to fly in. These teams have to find accommodations in Vancouver, so for them, the affordability of the event is a significant challenge. Locating funds to support their participation is one of the urgent challenges faced by the Organizing Committee.

Over 60 UBC students and more than 10 faculty members (Figure 2) volunteer for the event annually. The heats are designed, prototyped, and tested beginning in autumn, with some of the ideas originating from the undergraduate and graduate student volunteers, while others come from the faculty members or from past years. One of the goals of the Physics Olympics is to attract talented students to physics. In this regard, the volunteer composition attests to it: about 50% of our volunteers for the event participated in the UBC Physics Olympics as secondary students. This is especially relevant for the students coming from towns located far away from UBC and for whom the visit to the UBC Physics Olympics was their first opportunity to visit a university campus.

Figure 2: The UBC Physics Olympics volunteers are enjoying lunch during the break.

Unlike the standard Physics Olympiad, the focus of the activities at the UBC Physics Olympics is on the understanding and application of physics principles, and not the ability to design devices or quickly solve standard physics problems. Moreover, the teamwork and student collaboration is at the core of the event, which might be one of the reasons while many girls choose to participate in the event (Figure 3).

Figure 3: Students from Semiahmoo Secondary School in Surrey, BC proudly show their Overall First Place trophy.

For the past decade, the Competition has consisted of six heats: two pre-builts, two lab-based and two knowledge-based events. Rules and the Rule Books from the past 24 years may be found on the Physics Olympics website (Department of Physics and Astronomy, 2019).
Pre-Build Events: Two events require structures pre-built by the students in the month preceding the competition. Students design and construct an apparatus to perform a very specific task, satisfying rules on materials and construction (Figure 4). For example, past pre-build events include design and construction of a device that:
• displaces the maximum amount of water when dropped in a filled bucket.
• elevates a golf ball by 50 cm in the minimum amount of time, using only the energy stored in a standard mousetrap.
• sustains circular orbital motion of a weight on a string for the longest possible time, using only gravitational potential energy from the descent of weights.

Figure 4: Examples of the pre-built apparatus designed by the students for the 2019 UBC Physics Olympics.

Laboratory-Based Events: Two lab-based events involve hands-on work with apparatus. Students are informed of the two general topics in advance, and receive details on the day. Past laboratory events included manipulating a 7-segment display using given circuit elements; building a pendulum with specific properties; determining the volume of irregular shapes using buoyancy concepts (Figure 5); figuring out the drag forces on a marble falling inside a container with viscous fluid; matching given position-time and velocity-time graphs using motion detectors, and more.

Figure 5: Students are working on their Buoyancy lab challenge during the 40th UBC Physics Olympics.

Knowledge-Based Events: One event consists of Fermi Questions, and the other is “Quizzics”, physics questions in a game-show format in which teams work together to solve and answer physics/astronomy questions and problems. The highlight event of the day brings all student competitors together for the exciting Quizzics championship, in which top teams compete in a gameshow tournament just before the award ceremony.

In recent years, Dr. Marina Milner-Bolotin (a faculty member in the Faculty of Education) has organized professional development workshops for the benefit of the teachers and coaches who volunteer their time helping students prepare for the Physics Olympics, and accompany them on the trip to UBC. Since they are already on campus for the day, it is a great opportunity for professional development. It is also an opportunity to promote BC Association of Physics Teachers and local science communities (BCAPT,

Gold, Silver and Bronze medals are awarded to the members of the top 3 teams in each of the 6 events. Each of the top 6 schools in the overall competition receives an engraved plaque to keep in their school; the top team overall gets possession of the grand traveling trophy for the year (Figure 3).

In 2018, the UBC Physics Olympics celebrated its 40th anniversary. In its four decades, it has become one of the best known outreach events run by UBC Departments of Physics & Astronomy and Curriculum and Pedagogy. The positive feedback from the teachers, students, and parents underscores the impact of the event on the community. In the words of one of the teachers (Mrs. Shirley Frykberg, used with permission):
Events such as Physics Olympics provides our students with many opportunities […] working in a team, across grades outside of the classroom, exposure to competition in a university setting, meeting like-minded students from other schools and towns, extending their math and physics skills beyond the curriculum, honing their critical thinking skills […] It actually is fantastic what a one-day event can provide to boost a student’s interest and confidence in physics... For teachers this is a great opportunity to network beyond our busy schedules and to discuss and share ideas with each other. Having the common room for teachers to meet as well as the professional development opportunity is an excellent idea.  […] I also enjoyed hanging out with our students for the day, getting to know them and sharing the joy in their success.
Events, such as UBC Physics Olympics, emphasize the value of student collaboration as well as collaboration between the Faculties of Science and Education. The growing popularity of the event and consistently positive feedback from the participants and the organizers show that  there are many forms of physics creativity and engaging students in meaningful, creative, and exciting hands-on physics activities has an untapped potential for promoting secondary and post-secondary physics studies (Fig. 6).

Figure 6: Students proudly show their pre-built contraption.

Numerous people have contributed to the success of the UBC Physics Olympics over four decades. They include: Tom Mattison, Marina Milner-Bolotin, Theresa Liao, Kristin Schleich, Don Witt, Reginald Wild, Samson Nashon, Michael Crooks, Janice Woodrow, Ian Affleck, Mike Hasinoff, Andrzej Kotlicki, Jaymie Matthews, Janis McKenna, Valery Milner, and Chris Waltham. Undergraduate and graduate student volunteers’ contributions are equally critical.
The UBC Physics Olympics is organized jointly by the UBC Department of Curriculum and Pedagogy, Faculty of Education, and the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Faculty of Science (Vancouver Campus). Partially supported by the Rex Broughton Memorial Fund, UBC Physics and Astronomy Outreach, & an NSERC PromoScience Grant. All the photos were taken by Marina Milner-Bolotin.

Department of Physics and Astronomy, U. (2019). UBC Physics Olympics.   Retrieved from
Liao, T., McKenna, J., & Milner-Bolotin, M. (2017). Four decades of High School Physics Olympics Competitions at the University of British Columbia Physics in Canada, 73(3), 127-129.

Student research - 1


PhD Thesis - Physics Education
Santana Fajardo, José Luis. Evaluation of the development of competences in High School physics with the use of taxonomies. 2019, 121p.
Centro de Investigación en Ciencia Aplicada y Tecnología Avanzada-IPN, México City, México.
Advisor: Profesor Mario Humberto Ramírez Díaz

The assessment of learning, inside a competences model framework, requires considering its multidimensionality. Along with the use of methodologies aimed at the development of capabilities of identifying and solving problems, formulation and hypothesis testing, registration and data analysis, and the explanation of common phenomena in terms of physics; it is necessary to have adequate instruments to identify its level of achievement. Taking basis on disciplinary competences formulated by the Mexican Public Education Secretary, a correspondence is established between those competences, scientific competence evaluated by PISA and Tuning Project Latin America physics competences, with the intention to indirectly evaluation of the last ones from first ones. The produced evaluation instruments from this paper take basis on the selection of SOLO (Structure of the Observed Learning Outcome) Taxonomy due to its compatibility with the competences educational model. Form that, it was obtained rubrics in correspondence with 12 of the 14 disciplinary competences described by the mentioned secretary of state, whose achievement levels take a base on the SOLO levels Pre-structural, Uni-structural, Multi-structural, Relational and Extended abstract. Another instrument obtained is a test with 10 superitem, in correspondence with 10 competences, compound by four questions (items) in corresponding with Uni-structural, Multi-structural, Relational and Extended abstract levels according with requirements of a Guttman’s scale, it is that every superitem question identifies a level of this taxonomy. Furthermore, using a questionnaire, was possible to identify the student’s achievement level of learning in physics by a representative sample at University of Guadalajara’s Tonala High School. So, they are presented evaluation and methodological tools for designing items and rubrics that identifies the competences achievement level. Closes with some questions about the low difference founded between the achievement levels of the students of the different semesters. Furthermore, a reflection about the possibility of transference of instruments and methods used to any model centered on the student.


Student Research - 2


Masters Thesis - Physics Education
Kota, Vidya. Increasing student engagement through the integration of digital technologies in inquiry-based investigations. 2019. School of Physics, The University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia
Advisor: Professor Manjula Sharma
This thesis examines how integration of digital technologies with inquiry can be used to increase students’ engagement in science investigations. In order to engage learners we used a ‘blended tool’ incorporating an Excel spreadsheet into an open inquiry investigation, called Vampire Power, from the topic of electricity. The study uses design-based research methodology which involves three cycles (trial 1, 2 and 3), where data and analysis from each cycle inform the next iteration. Trial 1 involved 41 teachers and 58 students, trial 2 had 27 teachers and 38 students and trial 3 had 29 teachers and 85 students. Analysis of qualitative data from trial 1 showed that teachers engaged well with the investigation whereas students did not. The investigation was modified for trial 2 by introducing two parts to the investigation, where Part A guided the students through an activity and in Part B, students generated a question, planned and carried out an investigation using the spreadsheet in an open inquiry format. In trial 2, both the teachers (n=27) and students (n=38) found the investigation valuable, invested mental effort and reported the development of inquiry skills. Qualitative data showed that students were engaged, and the learning environment was vibrant. Trial 3 consolidated the findings of trial 2. The lesson here is that teachers can often see the relevance and expect that students will engage. However, students are prone to follow algorithms, oblivious to the relevance of the topic. To get students to engage in meaningful ways, they need to invest adequate mental effort. This study found that the integration of open inquiry with digital technologies is a viable solution. Whether this approach yields similar findings in other topics needs to be investigated.

2019 ICPE Medal Awardee - Professor Marisa Michelini 

University of Udine
Marisa Michelini is full professor in Physics Education at Udine University, Italy, where she has been Rector delegate for Didactic and Innovation, Tutoring and School-university Relationships since 1994. She founded and led many institutional structures (CIRD, CLDF, CORT, FASF, SSIS, including first Italian PhD in Physics Education Research) and developed rules for evaluation, didactic management and innovation. She has been responsible for the Research Unit in Physics Education (URDF) since 1992.
Professor Michelini is president of GIREP, director of the Italian University Consortium GEO, committee member of the Multimedia Physics Teaching and Learning (MPTL), board member of EPS-PED division and honorary member of the Italian Association for Physics Teaching (AIF), after being in the Executive Committee of ESERA.
Her research activity is in two fields: Electrical transport properties in thin films and Physics Education, with continuity from 1976, having research responsibility for the following:
a) Curricular Research to build vertical paths and study learning progression. Educational paths on thermal and optical phenomena, study of motion, electromagnetism, quantum mechanics and superconductivity.
b) Design Based Research to study ways to overcome learning knots and the role of ICT in learning processes.
c) Empirical research on learning processes and developing formal thinking.
d) R&D - Innovation in physics teaching/learning developing original proposals for lab activities integrated in vertical paths. 
e) Informal learning, Inquiry Based Learning and CLOE-Conceptual Labs for Operative Exploration in bridging common sense ideas with scientific ones.
f) Teacher Education.
g) Models for school-university cooperation and institutional ways for co-planning instruction and relative supports.
h) Innovation in University Strategies and Education.

Prof. Marisa Michelini receiving her award from Prof. Roberto Nardi, Chair of ICPE:

Responsible for two European Union (EU) Projects on physics education and partner in five other EU Projects. She has carried out 46 projects on physics and teacher education at the national level as the the scientist responsible for Italy and was responsible for eight projects at the regional level. She has been head of the Italian series Projects (IDIFO) since 2006, involving 20 Universities and INFN for the Innovation in Physics Teaching and guidance on modern physics. She has been Director of eight biannual Master’s programs and seven specialization courses focused on teacher education.

She has organized 9 International Congresses and 8 National relevant congresses and schools, being on the Advisory board of all GIREP, ICPE, MPTL Congress organizations in the last 15 years. She has been a Keynote (invited) speaker at 28 international Congresses (AAPT, GIREP, EPS, IACPE, ICPE, LAPEN, LASERA, MPTL) and at 39 National Congresses.
Professor Michelini's work is documented in more than 660 refereed publications, books and journals, 257 of which are in English.



Honorary Doctorate awarded to Stanley Micklavzina

Report by David Sokoloff
University of Oregon & C14 Member
Early in 2019 Stan Micklavzina of the University of Oregon received a phone call from Sweden. It was not the Nobel Committee, but rather officials from The Faculty of Science at Lund University. On May 24, at Lund Cathedral, Stan was awarded an honorary doctorate in recognition of his many years of work and dedication as a physics demonstrator and public outreach specialist.

For nearly 40 years, Micklavzina has used his great interest in physics education and his flair for entertainment to develop new creative ways of teaching physics, both to university physics students at the University of Oregon and to the general public, around the U.S. and the world. He is exceptionally skilled at combining physics with circus and theatre and has developed an extensive repertoire of exciting ways to demonstrate physics in public contexts. Over these years, he has also been very active within the American Association of Physics Teachers and has been selected for a number of awards for his popular science work, including the AAPT’s Homer L. Dodge Distinguished Service Citation. In 2018, he helped develop and participated in “Tesla: Light, Sound, Color,” a multi-media light and dance performance that explored Nicola Tesla’s life and achievements.
 Stan has collaborated with Lund University for a long time. Among other things, he helped to develop the exhibition "Shoot Protons and Tickle Electrons,” which provides a background to the opportunities offered by the MAX IV Synchrotron Radiation Source and the European Spallation Source (ESS), and “Quantum Show,” a physics outreach performance, both for the University’s Vattenhallen Science Centre. During several previous visits he shared his knowledge of science demonstrations and created outreach materials still in use at MAX IV.
Stan has been an instructor at the University of Oregon since the early 1980s, where he supervises the demonstration preparation facility and teaches popular introductory physics courses. In his spare time, Stan plays in a rock band and dreams of writing a textbook about physics and rock ’n’ roll.


AAPT Oersted Medal for 2020

to be Awarded to David Sokoloff
David Sokoloff has been named as the 2020 recipient of the prestigious Hans Christian Oersted Medal, presented by the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT). The Medal will be awarded at a Ceremonial Session of the 2020 AAPT Winter Meeting, in Orlando, Florida. The Oersted Medal recognizes his outstanding, widespread, and lasting impact on the teaching of physics through his contributions to the development of active learning strategies and materials to motivate students - especially those using computer-based tools - and his extensive dissemination activities. In connection with the award, Sokoloff will deliver a talk 'If Opportunity Doesn't Knock, Build a Door: My Path to Active Dissemination of Active Learning' at the Orlando meeting.
More details at:

Image: David  Sokoloff


6th International STEM Education Conference - July 9-11, 2020

Call for Proposals Deadline Extended – November 12th, 2019
There is still time to be a contributor to the 6th International STEM in Education Conference – STEM2020, Vancouver, Canada, – July 9-11, 2020.  
By popular request, the Call for Proposal is now extended until November 12th, 2019.
Full details on proposal submissions can be found at:
Copyright © 2019 International Commission on Physics Education, Commission C14 of the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics.
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The University of Sydney, NSW 2006

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