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Lasers & Sources

Video: Noah Finkelstein on creating better learners of physics

Training more high-school physics teachers and increasing student learning are two of the challenges facing math, science, and engineering education in the United States.

17 December 2010, SPIE Newsroom. DOI: 10.1117/2.3201012.03
 Noah Finkelstein is an Associate Professor of physics at the University of Colorado at Boulder, conducting research in physics education. As director of the Physics Education Research group at Colorado, he studies conditions that support students' interest and ability in physcs. His research projects range from the specifics of student learning to departmental and institutional scales. He serves on many national boards and in 2010 he testified before the United States Congress on the state of STEM education at the graduate and undergraduate levels.

The sub-discipline of physics education research is now well established and boasts robust lines of research that range from investigations of student learning of specific topics (e.g., how students understand propagation of light) to implementing andcd studying the implementation of educational reforms and what makes them work or not work.

Finkelstein gave a presentation on the role of physicists in education at the SPIE Optics + Photonics symposium in August 2010. In this interview he talks about his research, as well as challenges and opportunities in physics education.