Carl E. Wieman, co-recipient of the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physics, will speak as part of the STEM Alliance Fall meeting, co-sponsored by the Leveraging Engagement and Vision to Encourage Retention in STEM (HHMI-LEVERS), College of Natural Science and the CREATE for STEM Institute at MSU. Dr. Wieman has done extensive experimental research in atomic and optical physics. His current intellectual focus is 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, and recently served as Associate Director for Science in the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.
The topic of Dr. Wieman's talk will be “Taking a scientific approach to the learning and teaching of science.”
Abstract: Guided by experimental tests of theory and practice, science and engineering have advanced rapidly in the past 500 years. Guided primarily by tradition and dogma, the learning and teaching of these subjects meanwhile has remained largely medieval. Research on how people learn is now revealing much more effective ways to learn, teach, and evaluate learning than what is in use in the traditional college class. The combination of this research with information technology is setting the stage for a new approach to teaching and learning that can provide the relevant and effective science and engineering education for all students that is needed for the 21st century. Although the focus of the talk is on undergraduate science and engineering learning and teaching, where the data is the most compelling, the underlying principles come from studies of the general development of expertise and apply widely.