15 August 2019

Nobel prize winner to speak at CGHE event

Carl Wieman will discuss taking a scientific approach to science and engineering education

Carl Wieman, a Nobel prize winner in physics, who is now a Professor in physics and education at Stanford, will be giving a special seminar on changing undergraduate engineering and science education, co-hosted by CGHE and the OECD Centre for Educational Research and Innovation (CERI).

Wieman holds a joint appointment as Professor of Physics and of the Graduate School of Education at Stanford University. He won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 2001 and has done extensive experimental research in atomic and optical physics. His current focus is now on undergraduate physics and science education. He has pioneered the use of experimental techniques to evaluate the effectiveness of various teaching strategies for physics and other sciences. He authored the book “Improving How Universities Teach Science.”

He will be speaking at the Wilkins Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, UCL, from 18:00 on Wednesday 25 September 2019. You can book your place here.

Guided by experimental tests of theory and practice, science and engineering has advanced rapidly in the past 500 years. Guided primarily by tradition and dogma, science education meanwhile has remained largely medieval. Research on how people learn is now revealing much more effective ways to teach and evaluate learning than what is in use in the traditional science class.

It makes much more use in the classroom of the instructor’s expertise, and it also shows students how to learn most effectively. This research is setting the stage for a new approach to teaching and learning that can provide the relevant and effective science education for all students that is needed for the 21st century. Wieman will also cover more meaningful and effective ways to measure the quality of teaching.

Although the focus of the talk is on undergraduate science teaching, where the data is the most compelling, the underlying principles come from studies of the general development of expertise and apply widely.