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Cornell University

Keynote Lecture on Science Education Research

Nobel prize-winning physicist Carl Wieman (Stanford University; A.D. White Professor-at-Large at Cornell) will visit Cornell and present a keynote lecture on his work in science education research. Cornell’s Active Learning Initiative (ALI) was modeled closely after initiatives created by Wieman, according to a press release.

Title: Teaching & Learning Science in the 21st Century

When: Tuesday, September 26, 2023, at 4:00 pm

Where: 201 Schwartz Auditorium, Rockefeller Hall

Abstract: Guided by experimental tests of theory and practice, science and engineering have advanced rapidly in the past 500 years. Education in these subjects, however, guided primarily by tradition and dogma, has remained largely medieval. Recent research on how people learn, combined with careful experiments in university classrooms, is now revealing much more effective ways to teach and evaluate learning than is currently used in most classes. I will discuss these results, what they tell us about principles of learning, and their effective implementation in science courses. This research is setting the stage for a new approach to teaching that can provide the relevant and effective science education for all students that is needed for the 21st century. It also shows better ways to evaluate teaching quality, and it reveals that traditional attitudes about learning and the introductory science curriculum can be inadvertently sustaining systemic discrimination.

Biography: Carl Wieman holds a joint appointment as Professor of Physics and of the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University. He is known for his work in atomic and optical physics. In 2001, Wieman was awarded winning the Nobel Prize for Physics for the first creation of a Bose-Einstein condensate, that realized a prediction of Einstein in 1924 and launched a new field of research. He is also a major figure nationally and internationally in science education research. For decades, Wieman had two research groups; one in atomic/optical physics, and the other working on science education research at the college level. In recent years that has been his sole focus. Wieman’s education research has pioneered the use of rigorous experimental techniques to develop and evaluate teaching strategies for effective college-level science teaching. His work is also notable for how it has applied the results of cognitive psychology research on learning to college-level instruction. He has published over 100 articles in this subject, most of which contain insights that can be exploited immediately by college science and engineering teachers to improve their teaching. Read more at the A.D. White Professor-at-Large website.

Papers: If you’d like to read a short article or two by Wieman before the lecture, you could start with “Stop Lecturing Me” or “Improved Learning in a Large-Enrollment Physics Class“.