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Interview of Dean Zollman by David Zierler on June 17, 2021,
Niels Bohr Library & Archives, American Institute of Physics,
College Park, MD USA,
For multiple citations, "AIP" is the preferred abbreviation for the location.
In this interview, Dean Zollman discusses: interests in current physics education research (PER); family background and childhood; PhD at Maryland under Carl Levinson and Manoj Banerjee; involvement in civil rights movement; postdoc at Kansas State; collaborations with Bob Fuller and Tom Campbell; involvement with American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT); Jack Renner’s research on the intellectual development of college students; overview of the big names and ideas in PER in the early-to-mid 70s; research on how to meet students’ current developmental levels and capabilities; hands-on and visual approaches to physics learning; NSF-funded work at University of Utah, developing instructional laser discs with Bob Fuller and Tom Campbell; forays into using video for physics instruction and early application of computers to physics education; Fulbright at University of Munich; Fascination of Physics collaboration with his partner J.D. Spears; teaching quantum mechanics visually; winning the Milikan Award; the Physics InfoMall CD-ROM project; relationship with NSF; Center for Research and Innovation in STEM Education project and COVID’s damage to its realization; Oersted Medal; crossovers with field of psychology in researching how learning happens; internet-based Pathways project for high school instructors; collaborations with the International Commission on Physics Education; the excitement of helping people learn; and the hope that innovative teaching strategies will draw in a more diverse student body to solve the big physics questions of our time. Toward the end of the interview, Zollman looks forward to continuing PER both on the fundamentals of how students learn as well as on applied methods for teaching. He notes that the quest to understand the mechanisms of learning invite a more interdisciplinary approach going forward.
Okay. This is David Zierler, Oral Historian for the American Institute of Physics. It is June 17th, 2021. I am delighted to be here with Professor Dean A. Zollman. Dean, it's great to see you. Thank you for joining me today.
I'm glad to be here.
Dean, to start, would you please tell me your title and institutional affiliation?
I am a Distinguished University Professor Emeritus at Kansas State University, and I'm still associated with the physics department.
When did you go emeritus?
I started a phased retirement in 2011 and became emeritus in 2016.
And in what ways have you remained active with the physics department and with teaching?
For about two years after I retired, I had an online course, which was basically a quantum mechanics course for non-science students. I did that for a couple of years. The enrollment was not very great, so we kind of abandoned that. In addition to that, I have remained active with the physics education research group in the sense that I attend seminars, I have a biweekly meeting with the other two faculty in physics education research, who of course, are both active at this point. I'm the only one that's retired. And then, I occasionally work with graduate students. That's tailed off in the last year and a half or so. I was rather active when one of the other members of the group was on sabbatical. She had a student who was trying to finish up, and just needed a little help. So, I pitched in on that. At this point, I'm not doing any direct research myself, although I have some data that I ought to take a look at., My biggest role probably is that when graduate students come up with some idea that they think is totally new, my job is to say, "Well, you really ought to look at the paper that Smith wrote in 1981 on this topic." So, I'm somewhat the institutional memory at this point.
Dean, more broadly, what's going on in physics education these days, and what's interesting to you specifically?
There is certainly a fair amount of research on various aspects of how students learn, and I think, what's happened in recent years is that has switched somewhat away from being focused on how students learn specific concepts. Much of the research, I would say, in the middle to late 20th century was focused on that. Students are having trouble with Newton's second law. How can we fix that? And now, it's more general in trying to look at how students are cognitively thinking about physics, sometimes a specific thing, but more generally topics in physics, and looking deeper than difficulties with individual concepts. I see that as a really important move in trying to understand how we can teach better. For me personally, boy, the last 8-10 years of my active career and continuing since then, I have been particularly interested in how we can teach topics that we call modern physics, even though they're more than 100 years old at this point, to students who are not physicists, who don't have the mathematical or physics background that we expect in the way we normally teach. So, there are a number of other people who are working on this field right now, I think we're making really good strides so that we don't have to say to students, "Well, you have to understand all of this physics that went on from 16-something up until the 1930s before you can start trying to learn about quantum mechanics and quantum computing and so forth. I find that particularly exciting because it then provides us with an opportunity where we can communicate with a broader audience about what excites physicists today.
Dean, a broad question that I think is useful to develop as we start our conversation, at what point in your overall research agenda did your interest in physics education take center stage? In other words, your focus in graduate school, of course, is on theoretical nuclear physics, and that could have been something where that was just what you stayed on track with. At what point was physics education really most important for you?
Actually, when I got out of graduate school, the transition was fairly rapid. I came out here to Kansas State on a position that was half-time postdoc, half-time teaching. The postdoc involved actually working primarily with political scientists and a psychologist on issues related to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Quite honestly, it was not my ideal job. I would have preferred to have a regular postdoc in nuclear physics, but that wasn't available. Then, the first year in terms of teaching, I taught graduate students. That was nothing special. At that time, that was 1970-1971, of course, there was this big movement among undergraduate students to go away from the sciences. But Kansas State had never dropped a requirement that all students should have a physical science course and a biological science course. So, our department got a huge enrollment in a course that at that time had the title of Man's Physical World. I won't go into all the details of how that course came about. The history goes back to just post-World War II. In any case, there suddenly were over 1,000 students in this course, and people were really struggling with how to teach it. These were students who had poor math skills, no science background. One day in the coffee room, I said, "Oh, that might be fun to teach." Of course, I then was assigned to teach it.
So, the second year I was here, suddenly I found myself teaching that course. That's what got an interest in teaching non-science students started. I'm sure I was a terrible teacher. It was in the worst possible environment. It was in a 300-seat lecture hall where you could barely see the back of the lecture hall from the front, and so forth. But at about the same time, the department, for reasons that are not altogether clear, decided to upgrade what had been the person who coordinated the labs for the introductory courses to a regular faculty position, and the person who had that position retired. So, there was an opening, and I was enjoying what I was doing in terms of the teaching. In fact, I was enjoying it a lot more than my postdoc research, and I was doing a little bit of regular nuclear theory at that time, too. So, I applied for this job. I was not qualified, but then, at that time, it was basically a physics education research position, and there wasn't anybody who was really qualified for it. I was offered the job, I took it, and at that point -- I accepted the job in the spring of 1972 -- my focus has been entirely on physics education.
So, this is to say that earlier in your education, you did not have a grand plan to pursue physics education. That happened more in a happenstance way after your graduate studies.
Yeah, yeah. Quite honestly, the late '60s, early '70s, was a real awful time in terms of the job market for PhD physicists. If it had not been like that, I might well have ended up being a nuclear theorist.
Well, Dean, let's take it all the way back to the beginning. Let's start first with your parents. Tell me about them and where they're from.
Well, I don't know how far back -- well, yeah, why not? So, my parents met when they were both in vaudeville. in the late 1930s, early 1940s, my father and his brothers developed an acrobatic act that they took on the road and did all over central part of the country, basically, the Midwest. My mother was in a chorus line. They came from totally different backgrounds. My father's father was a plumber, and my father became a plumber later. My mother came from a somewhat upper-middle class Jewish family in Chicago. My father was from a small town in Indiana. They met on the road, got married in 1940, had me in 1941. So, that got it all started. After World War II, my dad took over his father's plumbing business, and did that for the rest of his life. They lived in a small town in northeastern Indiana, where I grew up. I was kind of a science nerd, even though the word nerd wasn't around then, but the kind of person throughout school who loved to tinker with gadgets, got involved in various activities where we tore things apart and tried to put them back together, and so forth. I did quite well in most of school. It was a small school, so I got involved in almost every activity that a student could do, except for athletics. I never had an interest in competing in high school athletics, but I was in the school band, I was in school plays, and so forth. I even competed in state-wide Latin contests. So, I had a pretty broad education there. When I graduated, we were not by any way a rich family, so it looked like public education was where I was going to go, and Indiana University offered me a pretty good deal as a scholarship. So, I went to Indiana -- I don't know how far you want to go with this.
This is great. Dean, specifically, with the timing, I'm curious, by the time you got to college, if the American response to Sputnik and the governmental support for science was something that you felt at the time.
Okay. I did leave something out there, yes. I am absolutely a product of Sputnik. If it hadn't been for Sputnik, I may never have looked at physics. What happened was, when Sputnik went up, then of course, there was this big cry that we need more scientists. We (the country) need to do something. And one of the things that was done was that the NSF supported some summer programs for good high school students. One of those was at Western Michigan University, and our high school in Indiana was basically offered two positions for students to come join what was a -- I think it was six weeks, but it might have been a little longer -- program. In our school, different from many, physics happened in the junior year of high school, and chemistry in the senior. This program wanted people who had already taken the high school physics course. So, two of us went there, and basically, we had a course in atomic and nuclear physics for six weeks. That's when I decided I wanted to be a physicist. So, that was the summer between my junior and senior year in high school. By the time I went to Indiana, I had decided that I wanted to major in physics, and I stuck with that all the way through.
Dean, did you have an idea as an undergraduate if you wanted to pursue more theory or experimentation, or was it just about being broadly exposed to the field?
I'm trying to think if I did this intentionally or not. The physics department at IU had money to provide research jobs to undergraduates, and they were almost all experimental, but that, of course, is part of the concept that physicists think that a sophomore or junior in college couldn't possibly do theory. So, I got one of those positions, and I started doing an incredibly boring job in particle physics. It was so boring that I still remember it well. Basically, they wanted some 3-D graphs -- I don't remember what the graphs were. I'm sure it was energy versus counts or something. And the way this was done is they print out many, many graphs, and a slightly different whatever the third axis was. My job was to cut these things out, paste them all together on cardboard, and then smooth them over for the third dimension. Fortunately, I had a friend in graduate school who rescued me from that. So, I ended up doing basic experimental research in beta ray spectroscopy.
By that time, this was not cutting-edge research necessarily, but it was something that was more interesting. I was actually twiddling knobs and working with a couple of graduate students and troubleshooting equipment and so forth. That became interesting, so I stuck with that basically through a master's degree. I might add one more side story here. At the end of my sophomore year , IU had some funds for scholarships for what they called the three-year master's program. They would provide some scholarship funding for the junior and senior year and one year beyond that, providing you got a master's degree. I had been in some ways an overachiever student in that I did independent study during the summer, and I took accelerated courses. So, it was pretty clear I was going to graduate in less than four years. Probably, the critical part of this story is there was an interview to select the people who were going to receive the scholarships. As we were going through various interview questions, one member of the selection committee asked me if I was planning to get a PhD. I'd never thought about that, but I knew what the correct answer had to be, or I wasn't going to get the scholarship. So, I said, "Yes." So, then, I got into this three-year program to finish a master's degree at Indiana in three years. From there, I went onto Maryland to do my PhD. I should also add, at that time, the United States was deep into Vietnam, so dropping out of school was, to me, not an option. I was early enough that you could still get deferments by being a student. Even without that, though, I'm fairly certain I would have continued through to the PhD.
Dean, to foreshadow to your later interests in physics education, was there anything about your undergraduate education that you can think back and say, this was either done right, or not, that might have informed your later interests?
Certainly, part of this three-year master's program included some courses, basically, on higher education. They were not specific to a discipline, but they were taught in the sense of, when you become a faculty member, these are the things you want to be thinking about. That pushed me somewhat in that direction. I had always had kind of a fundamental interest in teaching. Even going back to when I was in high school, I kind of thought, maybe I'd want to be a teacher, but I wasn't sure. So, that the three years masters somewhat pushed me in that direction. I also had a couple of good faculty members in the physics department who I kind of felt like I resonated with, and I was able to learn from them better, and probably thought occasionally about why it was that I could learn better from them than I could from some of the other faculty. I had some not so good ones, too, but somehow, I was more influenced by the good ones as I was going through.
Were there any faculty members at Indiana that you considered mentors, or whose teaching style was really formative for you?
. Bill Edson, who was a young assistant professor at that time, and amazingly enough I got to meet later because he did research at Kansas State. He wasn't a faculty member here, but he came in to use some equipment later on. So, he was one, and Robert Bent was another one. He was a pretty traditional teacher in his modes of doing things, but he seemed to just do it well. So, there were a couple people in there, and you know, at this point I'm almost certainly forgetting somebody else. But I remember those two specifically.
By the end of your time in Indiana, were you set on theory and specifically nuclear theory?
No. I was somewhat more inclined toward theory than continuing the experimental work that I had done through undergraduate and master's but not, I think, super stuck on it very much. When I came to Maryland, one of the attractions of Maryland was that it was a rather large department then, and obviously still is, so there were a lot of options, I thought. So, I was looking more for, well, I've done the master's degree, I've done the experimental work. Now, let's go do some coursework and kind of think about where to go from there. So, I wasn't really stuck on anything at that point.
Who would ultimately become your graduate advisers at Maryland?
At Maryland, my formal adviser was Carl Levinson. He had just come to Maryland, I think, from the Weizmann Institute, and he worked incredibly closely with Manoj Banerjee. So, in effect, the two of them were my advisers, although Carl was my official, sign on the dotted line, adviser.
What was their collaboration? What were they working on at the point you connected with them?
They did a lot of work on applying various kinds of many-body ideas to the nucleus. They kind of pushed me in a slightly different direction, and basically, the question was, could you create a pion at rather low energies? This was related to a cyclotron that was being built at Maryland at the time. The idea was, well, normally, you have to get pretty high energies, and you bang one proton into another proton. If you do that at a high enough energy, then you can convert some of it to mass, and you've got a pion, or something else. But the idea that I would work on was, suppose all the particles in the nucleus worked coherently together, and you don't quite need each individual nucleon to have all that energy. You've got a much larger mass sharing the energy needed to create a pion. It runs into a proton or something. Well, originally, the idea was it was going to be two nuclei interacting with each other. And then, those nuclei somehow, within each nucleus, things would be coherent, and they'd bang together, and they could create a pion even though none of the individual nucleons inside that nucleus had enough energy to make a pion.
So, we started working on that, and there were two graduate students. The first thing we realized was very little is known about how individual protons interact in collisions at energies which were just at the threshold for making a pion. We needed to understand this before we could look at the nucleus as a unit at those kinds of energies. So, I ended up looking at the, basically, proton-proton interaction at the threshold energy for making a pion, which most high energy physicists weren't interested in. That was considered low energy stuff. So, that's the direction I went, and it was a little different than what Carl and Manoj had in the past as well. And then, my colleague tried to take that on to look at a proton interacting with a whole nucleus. In all of this, the Maryland cyclotron got defunded, so the experiments were never run. So, I had some curves, and things like that, that kind of collected dust in Physical Review, and there was never any place where I could compare my theory with what an experiment might do, because high energy people weren't going to turn down their machines to that low of an energy, and it was kind of in a high energy side of what the Maryland cyclotron would have been able to do if it had stayed in business long enough.
Who was on your thesis committee besides Carl and Manoj?
Oh, boy. Sandy Wall was, and beyond that, you know, I don't remember. I really don't remember at this point. Sorry.
On the social side of things, how active was the protest movement on campus at College Park?
I'm sorry. Something got lost there. How active was --?
The antiwar protest movement, the civil rights movement in the late 1960s.
It was moderately active. We were right outside Washington, right? You could find a protest almost any day. All you had to do was look for it. So, I did some protesting, antiwar protesting, but never got deeply involved to the point where I was organizing things, or anything like that. I got more involved in the civil rights movement. An organization that I got involved in, which I don't remember the name of, but in any case, I became the person who tried to help students who felt they might have been discriminated against in housing things. So, we would do things like go to a place that was advertising rental available and send a white person in that was supposedly looking for an apartment. Let's see, most of that was before I had a beard, so I wasn't looking like a hippy at that point. And then, a little bit later, an African American person would go in and see how they were treated, and if it was different. Most of the landlords, I think, were aware of what we were doing, so very little came of it, but we did end up a couple of times connecting individual students with civil rights attorneys, although nothing ever came out of that either.
One case I remember very well, the civil rights attorney knew what questions to ask to figure out that this particular student who had been evicted from an apartment was really not a good tenant. There could have been lots of reasons other than racial that caused him to be evicted. So, I got involved in that pretty actively, and then, boy, there was one that was the students against the university. I can't remember all the details. There was something that was going to cost graduate students a fairly large amount of tuition. So, we organized, meaning myself and a couple of others, although one other person took the lead, and tried to get the university to change their mind, which they did eventually. But I can't remember any of the details anymore. So, I was somewhat involved in the social protests of that time, but not really a leader of any kind at that point. I was doing what I felt was right within the other boundary conditions that I had on my life.
As you were saying before, physics education specifically is not yet on your radar.
What were the postdocs that were available at that time? What was interesting to you?
Well, first, there weren't a lot of options. And of course, in those days, it was really the good old boys' network. So, basically, one got a postdoc by having one's adviser know somebody who knew somebody who had a postdoc position available. So, the ones that I was applying for were primarily along the lines of what Carl and Manoj had done other than what was related to my dissertation. There was a lot of stuff related to looking at the nucleus in terms of many-body interactions, and stuff like that. I have to say, I do not remember any of the details at this point, but it became fairly clear along the way that I was not competing well. I don't know if competing is the right word, but in any case, it didn't look very hopeful for me in any of those fields. And then, as part of the old boys' network, one day, the faculty member whose office was right next to the graduate students', Jim Griffin, walked into my office and said, "I have a friend who's a department head in Kansas, and he's coming to the Washington meeting, and he has a job. Are you interested in talking to him?" Of course, I was. What else could I say? And indeed, he had more than one job at that time, and he apparently had a little bit of a problem, because as I described it earlier, it was not quite a normal postdoc position. He was having trouble finding people who were interested. But because of my general interest in social issues, the idea of working with people in the social sciences on something related to trying to decrease -- not decrease, but at least not increase -- the number of countries that had nuclear weapons kind of intrigued me. So, I got my job though the old boys' network, too.
What was so exciting to you about this? What did you want to accomplish in this role?
Well, that was back at a time when only five countries, I believe, had any kind of nuclear weapons, yet it was fairly clear that others could get them with the proper -- proper is not the right word -- with research in that direction, and it seemed like I would be doing something that might actually make the world safer. I would be able to help by doing research on this area, and that research would feed into, perhaps, policy-making decisions, or into government inspections. Some of what we did was related to the whole idea of the International Atomic Energy Agency inspections to make sure that we (the world) knew where all the highly enriched material was. Of course, one of the things we learned was that bookkeeping had been so bad over the years that there was enough highly enriched uranium out there somewhere that nobody could really account for. In fact, there was even a phrase -- Material Unaccounted For -- it was called MUF. Somebody could have made a bomb if they had that material. We, of course, had no idea where it was. So, in any case, just the general idea of doing something that was looking at issues that were important to the world at that point was what somewhat intrigued me.
Did you find, at that point, Kansas State to be a very small place, or was it already growing?
Well, both, in a sense. First, I have to admit that when I started considering this job seriously, I wasn't quite sure where Kansas was. If somebody had given me a blank map of the U.S., I probably wouldn't have been too far off, but I might not have pointed this way. By the time I got here, the physics department had made the transition from one that was primarily an undergraduate and master's degree university -- although they always had some PhDs, but not a great deal of research. But by the time I got here, that research was really growing. They had really profited from the rather poor job market that happened in the late '60s, and then continued into the '70s. They had hired a number of really rather good researchers during that time. The university had the money for that to happen. Chemistry and biology were doing similar things. The rest of the university was just getting started, I think, in that area. I think there are probably a few people who would disagree. One exception is the English department gained a great deal from the McCarthy era when people were basically fired from Berkeley because of their leftist leanings, and they ended up here, for some reason. I don't know why. But it was moving. K-State wasn't quite where I would like it to be. It was relatively small at that time; I think 10,000-12,000 students total. Now I think it's about 22,000. But you know, it was a place that looked like it was pretty good. When I came out here on this postdoc, I thought I'd be here two years, and I'd move on to I don't know what. Some great position doing something, but I didn't know what it was. But it turned out to be a great place to live, too. So, I stayed.
For how long did you continue doing original research in theory and nuclear physics?
Very short time. I did some between 1970 and '72, while I was on this postdoc position. Once I took the position that was in physics education here, I decided that was my career, and I was not going to do any other kind of physics, period. I was going to go with that. It was a little scary at that time. At the time, it wasn't clear that was a wise decision, but it was the one I decided I wanted to take.
When you joined the faculty, was it on the basis of the physics education track, or on the physics/nuclear theory track?
It was strictly physics education. I can remember having a conversation with the department head at that time, before I had accepted the position. So, between the time that the offer was made, and I accepted it, in which he said, "Now, if you do this, you're making a big career change, and you've got to stick with it, or you're not going to last here. If you try to do both, you won't be able to succeed in either." I took that to heart, and decided at that point it was physics education, and we'd see where we can go with it.
Was KSU part of a larger network toward this trend in caring more about physics education? Was it one of the nodes in the United States where there were people thinking about these things?
Not particularly. There had been, at that time, a couple of grants to KSU physics faculty that were primarily to bring small college faculty – both four-year and community college faculty – in to get some research experience, and upgrade some of their teaching ideas, but that was about -- well, that wasn't quite all of it. There was a person who had come back to graduate school after teaching high school, and she kind of pushed on the department to get involved with some of these other education things. So, people started going to AAPT meetings and connecting with people in that way, but not any major way of being connected with the network that was going on at that time. I think that's what I could say. I should, however, mention that this woman who kind of pushed on the department to try to improve its teaching is sitting downstairs now. We got married four years later.
Dean, it's a purely hypothetical question, but I'm curious if you've ever thought about how your academic trajectory informed your subsequent career in physics education. In other words, is the way that you learned theoretical nuclear physics significant in the sense that, let's say you were an experimental condensed matter physicist. Would that have changed your approach to physics education?
I don't know the answer to that, but I'll bend your question around a little bit. That is, did my research and my interactions with Carl Levinson, particularly, influence my later education? The answer to that is, absolutely, yes. He and Manoj, but particularly he, was a theoretical physicist who always wanted to know, what does that mean? So, I would come in some morning with this great calculation I had done, and I'd show it to him, and I'd show how I'd done all the calculation, and he would just say, "Yeah, but what does it mean?" So, it was a very intuitive approach to theoretical physics. We did all the calculations, we plugged numbers into them to see if we could get some reasonable results out, and so forth. But in the end, we had to be able to explain it to him, basically, in words and not in numbers and not in equations. That was a very large influence on how I later taught physics, and how I did research in physics education to bring all of this together. So, to go back to the question you actually asked, I'm not sure I know, but it is so tied up in the people that were involved in my early research that I can't separate those out very well.
So, what was the game plan? How did you get this up and running, and were there any partners specifically on campus that you worked with, or was there a broader network beyond Kansas that was important for you?
It was a broader network primarily. When I took the position and started working in the summer of 1972, and I started trying to figure out what it was I was going to do, the first focus was really on the laboratory sections of the introductory courses, which needed a lot of work at that point. They were cookbook, to the extremes. At the same time, that summer, Bob Fuller at the University of Nebraska had a grant to introduce physics faculty to preparing single concept films. This is probably something you may never have heard about. Back in those days, there was a film projector where you had a little cassette. You stuck the cassette in it, and you had three minutes and 20 seconds to tell a silent story, no audio. In the late '60s, the curriculum development projects, Harvard Project Physics and PSSC Physics, had kind of popularized those, so there were some single-concept films for teaching physics out there. Bob got this NSF grant to introduce some faculty to making these films. I applied to be one of the faculty, and he accepted me. For whatever reason, he and I and then Tom Campbell, who was at Illinois Central College, kind of resonated, and that began a long-term collaboration where we worked together on a variety of different projects.
It also started me down the road of trying to use whatever the latest technology was to help students visualize what was going on, and how the physics explained that. So, very early on, Bob and I interacted a lot. We did a lot of projects together over the years, so I had that kind of network, and I had networks with a few other people that I met at this summer workshop. But he was the primary one. Locally, not so much. Certainly, in general, it seemed like the administration of the university was supportive of the idea of having an education person within the physics department, There were also several science education faculty at that time that I interacted with off and on, and actually more on, now that I'm thinking about it. After a couple of years, I got interested in the whole issue of, how should you be teaching physics to elementary education majors. So, at that point, I started interacting with people who were doing science methods courses, and so forth. So, it wasn't what I would call a strong interaction, but it was an interaction that went on off and on whenever it was advantageous to either one of us.
How active were you in AAPT right from the beginning with this work?
Well, AAPT was obviously a place I should go to learn about what's going on. My first AAPT meeting would have been -- let's see, I took the job in the summer of '72. I did not go to the summer meeting them, so it was the following winter, I went to the winter meeting, probably in New York -- they all were then -- and that's where I met Jack Renner. Jack had done research on the intellectual development of college students. He was building on the work on Jean Piaget. Piaget had done experiments to follow the intellectual development of children. He had concluded that by the age 14 or so, kids had developed to the level that they could deal with the intellectual level of physics. Jack and his student, Joe McKinnon, tested students from their university and from a neighboring community college. They found that these students did not have the intellectual development that Piaget had ascribed to 14-year-olds.
So, Jack gave a talk at the Winter 1973 meeting about their results. Those results actually became a strong influence on all of physics education at that time. We were basically being told that we were shooting too high in therms of the intellectual capabilities of our students. This work had a very profound influence on all of my work and still does. . Jack, conveniently, was at the University of Oklahoma, and even more conveniently, he was an obsessive football fan. In Oklahoma, of course, it's hard to get tickets to go to a football game. In those days, it was very easy to get a ticket to go to the K State - Oklahoma football game when it was played at KSU. So, every two years, Jack would come up, and I'd arrange for him to give a seminar. Our seminars were normally on Thursday at that time, but he'd do one on Friday because he'd want to come up and then go to the football game on Saturday. So, he and I never actually collaborated to the point of writing a paper together, but we had rather close connections and lots of discussions over several years. Now, I'm forgetting what your question was.
The question about if you were involved or saw the need to be involved in AAPT right from the beginning.
Yes, I did. I did. I got way off base there, sorry. So, at that first meeting, there were some really influential things, and I met a number of really influential people at that time. From then on, probably until just a couple of years ago, I went to almost all the AAPT meetings, except those when I was on a sabbatical in Europe. So, yeah, it became a very critical part. Then in 1975, I took a two-year leave from here to be at the AAPT office, which was in Stony Brook at the time. That was the time when I did more development than , but I really got into the network, and I found out who the interesting people were, what was going on, and it was a very valuable part of my career development.
Now, on that point, in the early to mid 1970s, who were the major figures in physics education?
I've already mentioned Renner. Certainly, Bob Karplus was very important at that time, and he became AAPT president sometime while I was at the Executive Office. Al Bartlett, at the University of Colorado, was again a major player in terms of what was going on. Eric Rogers -- Eric was more a solid teacher who worked to try to teach, particularly, non-science students about physics. Boy, you're going to really tax my memory here. Oh, Len Jossem, of course. Len was probably chair of the physics department at Ohio State at that time. He was very involved, and he was probably the person who kept saying to all of us that we had to look internationally as well as nationally in terms of what was happening in physics teaching and physics education, because the issues were not just something that happened in the U.S. I'm drawing a blank right now. Those are the people who -- well, Arnie Strassenburg, who was the Executive Officer of AAPT, but also was a faculty member at Stony Brook, and certainly was involved in all of those issues. As was Edwin Taylor, who was at MIT, and Cliff Swartz, who was the editor of The Physics Teacher at that time. I am forgetting a very important person – Melba Phillips. Melba was the Acting Executive Officer when I worked for AAPT. She helped me learn a lot of the ropes. Those are the names I remember right now. I'm sure if I sat here and thought longer, I could come up with some more.
Dean, the first part of the question was a people question. Now I'll ask the ideas question. When you got involved in physics education, what were the big ideas in the field? What were the debates about the most important things to discuss and work on?
Certainly, this whole issue about intellectual development. And I should say that Bob Karplus really played a major role in introducing these ideas to college faculty. Bob had done similar work but with elementary school kids. So, the whole issue of, what are students prepared to learn based on where their intellectual development has come so far, was probably the top issue. Now, it became my job while I was at AAPT to take a workshop that Bob and Jack and Bob Fuller and a couple of others had developed and get it out to people who wanted to present at regional meetings, and so forth. So, I was deeply involved in that, and it became a top topic. That was one. Certainly, the issue of, what a computer can do to help us teach physics, was another one. And that brings up another name, Alfred Bork, who was at U.C. Irvine. I don't know why this reminded me, but just the whole issue of how you teach various concepts. Arnold Arons was then at Washington, and of course, his colleague who was just getting started then, Lillian McDermott. Lillian probably wouldn't rise to the top as a major player in 1975 although she was moving in that direction. But Arnold certainly was another person who was very important in thinking about what topics we can teach. He and I had many disagreements over that over the years. Another topic that was just starting out was, how much can we teach? Are we trying to do too much? That topic is still with us today. So, I think those are the ones I remember as something that was going on at that time.
Dean, what were the initial expectations with regard to your teaching duties at Kansas State? Were you teaching bread and butter physics courses, or were you focused exclusively on physics education research, and teaching that?
The research was very much applied to teaching the normal physics courses that the Department offered. Very early on, I got, as I already mentioned, very interested in this whole issue of, both, what should we teach, and how should we teach physics to elementary education majors. When I started my job, elementary education majors were just mixed in with all of the non-science majors. As I mentioned, that was a very large course, lecture mode. My conversations with Bob Karplus particularly made me realize that approach was not what we ought to be doing. So, with somewhat the blessings of the department, I pulled the elementary education majors aside from the rest of the non-science students and developed a course where they were learning much more hands-on than sitting in a 300-seat lecture hall. So, up until late '80s, early '90s, I was teaching only regular physics, and in the late '80s, early '90s, then we added a course on teaching physics at the university level. But, up until that time, except for mentoring individuals, it was all standard physics stuff.
I'm curious, for the physics classes you taught, what advantages you saw in the way that you were thinking about physics education, and you were doing physics education. And what were the possible disadvantages, because you might have been self-conscious of these things in way that your colleagues were not?
Well, certainly, the whole emphasis on -- well, two things -- one is the idea that, find out what the students know, and work from that rather than just introduce physics the way we've always thought about physics. Get to know the development level of the students, the capabilities of the students, and try to meet them there and take them forward from that. That was certainly a major revelation when I first heard about it, but that absolutely was an important factor in my entire career. I used that in all of my early teaching, and later. The second idea, the hands-on aspects as much as possible, was certainly part of it and going back to what I was talking about earlier with the film stuff. Trying to get as much as possible ways for students to visualize what the physics was telling them, rather than trying to rely on an equation. I think I, from almost day one in my teaching, tended to downplay equations somewhat. Not, obviously, entirely, but I would much rather have a student tell me in words what F=ma means, than calculate F when they know m and a.
So, all of those things were part of the positive parts. The negative side of this was if I really put all of this together, I would not want to be teaching large lecture-style courses. The department couldn't afford for me to say, well, I'm going to teach 20 students, or something like that. So, I had to come up with systems to work around that the need to teach large numbers of students. There were certainly many discussions where I had another faculty member talking about some things, and me feeling like he's really just doing it the old-fashioned way. How far can I push him before he's going to shut up and not want to listen to me? So, there was a lot of, sort of, trying to learn how to be diplomatic, and yet, try to get people to change. And of course, some people didn't. For many, many years, the calculus-based physics course here was taught in the strict lecture-laboratory-recitation mode. There were a couple faculty who taught it that way, and that's the way it was going to be. Today, I'm pleased to say, it is probably one of our examples of the way you can teach a large number of students and make it very interactive. It's quite different. But that wasn't going to happen until certain people retired. So, it wasn't as if they were personally opposed to what I was doing, but they didn't necessarily want it to be part of what they were doing.
What about on the graduate side? What kinds of graduate students would you supervise?
Early on, very few. The university here has a system where you could be a faculty member but not a graduate faculty. For the graduate faculty there were two levels. One was supervise masters only, and one was supervise masters and PhDs. Very early on, the department put me up for full graduate faculty status. In the faculty meeting where this was discussed, I said, "If you do this, then I can have PhD students." And they said, "Oh, okay," probably thinking I never would have one. In any case, I didn't get much interest early on. I got interest from people doing master's degrees, who would then go off and teach at a high school or community college. But my early graduate students were almost all master's degrees. Then, as PER became a bigger thing nationally, I started getting interest from students who thought they wanted to do a PhD in physics education. My very first student actually was a science education student. He was a high school teacher in Wichita, had a master's degree in physics, and wanted to come back and get a PhD in science ed. So, he asked the obvious question, why couldn't I be his PhD mentor? And at that point, I was admitted to the graduate faculty in the College of Education, and he finished in 1993., So, that was the first PhD student.
After that, I've had a variety of students. I can only remember having one student who initially thought he'd go into physics education because it would be easier than if he did some other form of physics. He finished, but he changed his mind about the level of work, because if you're a physics student doing PER, you not only have to take all the physics courses, but you have to take other courses, like statistics, psychology, education. So, I did continue having some students who were in the science education program. I never accepted a science ed student unless that student already had a master's degree in physics. And those master's degrees were seldom in physics education. They were usually in something else. Over the years, I've had great students. I'm certainly proud of all of what they've accomplished since they left here. Essentially all of them are productive members of the community. There are a couple who have kind of moved in other directions. One of my students eventually decided that being a priest was what he really wanted to do. So, he no longer does physics education, but he certainly works with a lot of people in important ways. I had another master's student who works for the FAA, and has for years, but most of them are doing something related to physics education and doing things they seem to be happy with and I'm certainly proud of. I think it's been a good group overall.
Dean, tell me about your visiting professorship as an NSF Faculty Fellow at the University of Utah in the early 1980s.
Oh, that's an interesting story. So, by that time, this trajectory that I was on related to visualizing various concepts in physics, and using the latest technology, had developed to the point that we have done some work with what were called laser discs. I don't know if you've ever even seen one of these. They're 12-inch analog discs.
I'm old enough; I remember.
Bob Fuller, Tom Campbell and I designed and completed an instructional laser disc on the Tacoma Narrows Bridge collapse. That was our first one. It used only the internal memory of the early Disc-O-Vision player (about 1 kilobytes of memory), So, it was not connected to a computer. We did a couple more in which the laser disc players were connected to computers. A group that was very active in this field was a group at the University of Utah. There were a couple of faculty members in the physics department, some folks in computer science, a curriculum designer, and so forth, all working on aspects of trying to teach physics using the coupling of the computer with the laser discs. So, it seemed like an obvious place to go for a sabbatical. NSF thought so, too, because they gave me the money.
So, I get out there, and within the first month I'm there, I realize that there's a lot of tension among people at the U. Probably within another month, the group had fallen apart. They just weren't doing much of anything. And here I am, just starting this sabbatical. I'm going to be there for the whole year, I've got the money to do it. So, I started talking to a faculty member who was just peripherally involved with this group, but he got me in touch with what was an extremely well-equipped media center, and extremely well-equipped to do video. So, we started talking, and I basically continued to work with this one faculty member so that what I was doing would fit well with his calculus-based physics course, and then working with the folks in the media center. I spent the year creating a video disc on the physics of automobile collisions. Most of the video came from research films. You know, these guys who were putting crash dummies into cars and running them into walls, and stuff like that. It turned out -- I'm not sure -- it was one of the first discs where we actually had students taking measurements off the video basically in the same way that the researchers would take measurements off the video, and then calculating various things, and also looking at things like seat belts and airbags, and discussing qualitatively what was happening, and so forth. So, it turned out to be a pretty good year, but it didn't turn out the way it started at all.
What was valuable that you brought back to Kansas?
I think the most valuable thing was this idea that with a little bit of effort we could create some videos -- well, we didn't create the images there, although later we did another one where we did – we could create video and put it together in such a way with sufficient student guides, that the students could take really good measurements off of a real-life situation, rather than something that had to be manufactured in a laboratory. That actually led to, once I got back, a collaboration with a faculty member in kinesiology on creating the physics of sports videodisc, in which we took a lot of high-speed film, converted it to video, and then had students even using simple models of the human body to try to understand what was going on. So, the measurement idea was probably the big one, that it could be done reasonably easily, and not terribly expensively.
Dean, as computers were becoming more widely adopted in the 1980s, going into the 1990s, in what ways was that relevant for your research, both from a statistical analysis perspective, but specifically on the ways that students were incorporating computers into their physics learning?
I would have to say that students were not incorporating it sort of voluntarily. It wasn’t like it is today, where they'll use the computer even if you tell them not to. But it did provide us with a way to get them making connections -- I'm again thinking about video but making connections between what they're learning in the classroom and what's going on in sort of real-life. They don't automatically do that. So, in any case, I think that was the thing that I focused on more than anything. It wasn't until later that I started thinking about, can we visualize what's going on with a wave function, for example? But at that time, it was more like, let's look at something that looks somewhat like a real-life situation. How can we apply what we're learning in the classroom to that in particular? In terms of my research, except for using some standard statistical packages, and things like that, there wasn't a lot going on. We weren't yet in a position where we could ask students to log on to a computer and, say, complete a survey or anything like that. We did play with a little bit of having them do some multiple choice-type questions, but not really very much. In the '80s, we were primarily using computers for bookkeeping. That bookkeeping is part of research, but not for fundamental questions of research.
Another visiting professorship question. Your time as a guest professor at the University of Munich. I wonder how that might have broadened your horizons in the way that physics education was dealt with in Europe.
Oh, yeah, it certainly did. The first time I went there was because there was a graduate student who was really capable of doing electronic things with computers. So, he had developed a board that you plugged into a PC, back in the days when you plugged your own boards into PCs, that allowed him to overlay some of the modeling-type stuff, like we were doing, with the video. So, I went there to work primarily with him and with his mentor, but I learned quite a lot about how things are the same, and how they are different from education in the U.S. Certainly, we mostly worked with students who were in the Gymnasium, the upper-level secondary program. So, since Germany has a system that tracks people into one of three different levels of secondary education, we were, for the most part, dealing with students that would match up with the upper level of people coming out of high school in the U.S. And yet, we saw some of the same problems. That part was really good for me to experience. Then, working with the university students -- the university students who were in physics were really quite good, and probably, again, equivalent to the upper end of the students that we had at KSU.
So, all of that was useful and interesting. At the same time, for the most part, the educational system was more rigid than what I was accustomed to. There was a chart in the lab where we were working, and I could go in and look at any day. It was a calendar type chart, and I would know what essentially every physics teacher in a Gymnasium in Bavaria was teaching on that day, because this was all laid out very specifically. At the same time, I met some teachers who knew how to work around that, shall I say? So, formally, it was very rigid. Sometimes, things happened the other way. So, I learned kind of about the sociology of how people work in different environments and learned a lot about different kinds of students. I had an opportunity during that time to travel a little bit. I was on a Fulbright at that time, and the Fulbright Organization provided lists to even other countries where a university elsewhere could invite the Fulbright people to come and give a talk, and stay for a day or two, and Fulbright paid for it, I think. I'm not sure about that. I know I didn't pay for it. So, I got to move around a little bit. Particularly, partially due to that and partially due to some other things, made some really good connections in The Netherlands. Belgium didn't quite pan out in terms of collaboration, but I got to know a little bit about these different educational systems, and how they all face similar problems, but they all also have different solutions to try to make it work. So, it was really a nice experience in that respect.
Dean, tell me about the origins of the Fascination of Physics project, and when you first met J. D. Spears and decided to collaborate on this.
I didn't mention her by name before, but she is my wife. I first met her when she came back to graduate school in 1970. Then, we sort of dated a little bit then, and then she went off, when she finished her master's degree, went off to be a faculty member at what was then called Southwest Missouri State, now just Missouri State. And then, a couple years later, we decided that the distant relationship wasn't working. So, we got married. What I'm trying to remember is just when did we decide to write the book. I don't know exactly. I know that, back in those days, all physics editors were trying to push every physics faculty member into writing a book. Somehow, whatever book you have will be the next greatest thing. But at that time, when we started thinking about it, I was teaching the elementary education majors. Jackie, at least for part of that time, was teaching the large course for non-science majors. Just kind of general conversations, we were using -- I think both of us at that time -- were using Paul Hewitt's Conceptual Physics book, which was and still is a great book for trying to teach with the minimum mathematics. But it didn't quite seem to be fitting our ideas of, let's meet the students where they are and go from there. We also wanted to show some of the connections among physics concepts better than we thought textbooks were doing then.
And then, the other part was if we think about this carefully, we can start weaving in some of the modern physics concepts early on in the book. And I think it just kind of grew for a while, and then we just started writing, and eventually signed a contract for it. During the time that we were in Utah, Jackie basically spent almost full time finishing up the writing of the book and getting it ready for publication. So, it was kind of a need to bring in meeting the students where they were and try to move them forward from there in terms of development of concepts that drove the underlying idea of the whole thing.
I'm curious about your interest in utilizing sports as a way to convey physics. Is that more about your interest in sports specifically, or is sports just something that everyone can relate to, and that makes it a useful catapult to understanding concepts in physics?
It really is the latter. I'm moderately interested in sports. I don't really go to many sporting events. I don't find them worth the money, quite honestly. I do watch some sports on TV, but really, it's that I find that almost all students can relate somehow to the sports. And this was even true, to some extent, early on in my career where women were sort of locked out of sports. So, we couldn't worry about, well, if I'm going to use a football example, obviously, women would have no interest in it. I mean, they have interest as a spectator, but not with experience. But quickly that changed, so we need to use examples from soccer or volleyball or track. Certainly, the Physics of Sports videodisc has a lot of track in it. It has softball, but not baseball, although the softball hitter is a male -- and so forth. So, it really is something that almost all students can relate to, and in a variety of ways, you can get students involved in, say, analyzing some of what they see at a variety of different levels. So, the examples of what happens today with the video that, say, an Olympic coach uses to analyze a gymnast's jump, we can't possibly expect students to do that. On the other hand, we did some things with high jumpers, where indeed by doing a kind of a simple model, students could see that while a high jumper went over the bar, the center of mass went under the bar. I think all students are interested in things like that.
Your interest in teaching quantum mechanics, or at least the approach in physics education to quantum mechanics, what had been some of the challenges, given the fundamental mysteriousness of quantum mechanics, even to people at the expert level, let alone undergraduates?
Certainly, that's a question I grapple with all of the time. I must say that it's gotten worse in recent years. I'm kind of glad I'm not doing it now. Some of the entanglement stuff, and so forth, I didn't deal with that at all when I was teaching. And I'm not sure how we would handle that today, because it's a tough question. We took the approach that what we wanted to do was to have students try to understand that the quantum mechanics approach to life makes reasonable sense based on what we observe and based on what we can do. So, our unit on the wave function starts out with, first, light interference, but then a simulated electron double slit experiment, and then we show a video of one of the real double slit experiments with electrons. So, given that as a result, isn't it reasonable to talk about that the electron has wave properties? And then, what does all of that mean? That, of course, leads to some of the mysterious things that none of us understand. But I think, kind of, that's okay, if students are willing to see that the stuff is based on results that we actually see. And those results lead, sometimes to other results that we don't quite understand, or maybe "quite" should be left out. We don't understand, but at least there's a foundation there.
So, I tried not to dwell on some of the mysteries. I don't try to hide them, but I don't try to dwell on that so much as there's a foundation on which this stuff is built, and that foundation leads us to some strange results. And then, basically, some of those strange results show up in nature when we look for them. That's kind of what I would like to get across to students. Not that quantum mechanics is this mysterious thing that just always pushes us in some strange direction, but is in fact, based on fundamentally good science, and we still haven't figured it all out yet.
Dean, I'm curious about your embrace of video discs as a medium for physics and science education. What specifically is it about the visual medium that you've found to be so productive?
Well, it probably is that I think about things a lot better if I can visualize something, so I assume my students can, too. But I think that students, in general, are more captivated by visual images than they are by text. I don't know that that's necessarily new. I think, it maybe is more pronounced in the students in the last ten years or so than in students long ago. But overall, my feeling is that when you can see something, and then you can connect that to something else that you studied or talked about or whatever, it seems to settle better than even if you're reading something, and you've got a still image on the paper. And of course, our first example is probably the best one. You can look at a textbook and you can see a still image of the Tacoma Narrows Bridge in oscillation, but boy, that doesn't look anything like what you see when you see that bridge bouncing up and down the way it did. So, overall, it's just that I think students do better and we've done a little bit or research here and there on that. Although I must say, we've done a lot of intuitive things as well. In fact, they would do better if they saw these.
What was it like to win the Millikan Award in 1995?
First, it was a surprise. I was not expecting that, and I was extremely pleased. What can I say? It was just something that I hadn't thought about a lot at that stage in my life. Now, a few years earlier, Bob Fuller had received the Millikan for some similar work as well as other work he had done separately from me. My award was also related to work he and I had done together and for other work that was separate from his efforts. So, I don't know what I could say except I was really pleased, and really felt like somebody out there besides me is looking at what I'm doing and thinking it's good. So, great.
On that point, given the prestige of the Millikan Award, and the imprimatur of validation in physics education, what specifically do you think you were doing that was deserving of that level of recognition?
Well, it's an integration of things, I believe. Taking some of this more fundamental research on student intellectual development and thoughts more than research, but some research, on what concepts students can learn, and how you can maybe push the boundaries on what they can learn when you add technology to it. And somehow getting all of those things put together is kind of what I felt like was my fundamental contribution, so it was validation of that.
To go back to your work, your visiting professorship in Germany, in what ways did having the Fulbright broaden your opportunities and even expand your platform with what you wanted to accomplish?
Fulbright's a great label to have. It does do some things. Certainly, probably increased my visibility or reputation, whatever you want to call it, locally, as much as anything. And it did provide me in the long run with a long-term network that's still going on to some extent, with people in Europe. Then, when I'm doing something and I'm working with somebody else, I can say, "Well, this is the way they do these things in the Netherlands," for example, or something like that. So, it just provides one extra bump that helps me get to do what I want to do.
Dean, going into the early 2000s, what were some of your early ideas about the ways that the internet would change physics education, and did you see it as another tool, or was it a game changer in toto?
Well, that's actually connected, in a way, to the last project that I did with Bob Fuller, The Physics InfoMall, which was on a CD. It was a way for teachers to retrieve a whole bunch of information on how to teach different topics that had come from a variety of sources. So, we were just a little bit ahead of where we should have been at that time, because having to have it on a CD limited some things. But once I started understanding what was possible in retrieving information from the internet, I started connecting that back to what we had tried to do on one CD-ROM with a large variety of different resources coming together, and then having a search engine that could search all of them, and realizing that really was going to be a game changer in the way that teachers would be able to retrieve information that they could then use in their teaching, and do it in a fairly good timescale, so that it would be available to them almost anytime. We sold the concept of the CD-ROM to NSF with the idea that the teacher's going to be sitting at her kitchen table at 10:00 at night, trying to put together tomorrow's lesson, and this CD-ROM is going to provide them with all this stuff. Of course, a few years later, that's exactly what could happen, but they didn't need the CD-ROM anymore. They had it all on the web. So, I think I saw that coming. I'm not sure that I can say that I saw how the students would use the web coming in the same way. I wish I had. I might have made a different approach to the last few years of my career. YouTube didn't occur to me. I don't know why. I mean, it's obvious, and it's what we were doing when we put all this stuff together. But I didn't imagine how wide it would go, but I saw the direction that everything was going.
Dean, in thinking about the National Science Foundation giving you the Director's Award for Distinguished Teaching in 2004, that made me wonder more broadly about how NSF has been really a strategic partner for you, and if there's a particular program officer or an office in general that's been specifically supportive of the things that have been most important for you.
Well, first, let me say, obviously NSF has been incredibly important. As I mentioned early on, when I went to this summer program in high school, it was funded by NSF. And then, throughout my career, I have been very well supported for most of the things. They occasionally turn me down for grants that I'm sure they should have funded, but that happens to everybody. And now, in terms of the office, that gets a little harder, because things at NSF have changed so, so often that it's not quite clear how all of that goes together. Most recently, the Division of Undergraduate Education has been important in providing funding, and also hooking me into review proposals. Every time I review a proposal, I learn a little bit more about how to write a good proposal, and a little bit more about how to write a bad proposal. So, that's always been good to me.
Certainly, in the middle of my career, there was an office, and I'm probably not going to get the names right -- Applications of Advanced Technologies, I think was the right name, but I'm not sure. Andy Molnar -- I think I've got his name right, too -- was the head of that program. He was certainly someone who was willing to take a chance on not quite harebrained ideas of using the technology that was available at that time but using technology that even NSF didn't have. When we went to do things at NSF to show off what they had funded with videodiscs and computers, we had to bring our own computers and videodisc players. The NSF Offices didn't the equipment that they were funding us to develop for. Yet, that program was really very important at that point. I've had several grants that would be curriculum development type things. Certainly, we received funds to develop the course for elementary ed majors, and then built on it with people in the other sciences and science education. And I can't think of one person at NSF. Those people moved in and out quite a bit. Then, though I can't remember the name of the program, Gerhard Salinger was pretty important, and in fact, he was rather important when he turned down a couple proposals that he provided really good feedback on why they didn't work. He was the program officer when NSF funded Physics InfoMall and the Visual Quantum Mechanics materials. And certainly, we did a lot with that material. He was not in undergraduate education. He was in secondary education, but I've forgotten the name of the program right now. Recently, Duncan McBride in the Division of Undergraduate Education was very influential. So, those are names and programs that come to mind that we used over the years. As I said, of course, every few years, NSF reorganized, so I can't say, here's some program that we started with in 1975 and it just stayed all that time. That just didn't happen.
Dean, tell me about the origins of the Center for Research and Innovation in STEM Education.
Okay. That's a sad story. Well, the ending is not so good. That was actually something that I wanted to do – bring together some colleagues here at KSU who had an interest in disciple-based education research. By the time that we got around to forming the Center, I had stopped being a department head. It was clear that on this campus there are a lot of people who have a day job which involves teaching and research in something, but not research in STEM education. But, they want to do some educational research and development. So, we bounced this idea around for a long time. We had about 10 people who were interested in trying to make this work. Basically, trying to make it work meant it would be something extra that all of them would do, because they still had all their regular jobs to do. But they were willing to do it. Only very modest university funds were available for the Center. We would write proposals and get a project or two funded. Then the center could grow from that point of view with the idea that eventually we could push on the university to do some targeted faculty searches in various STEM fields to try to get more education researchers in the disciplines, primarily in the sciences and engineering, but not exclusively.
So, that was what we wanted to do, and amazingly enough, at about the same time, the university had just opened a couple of new buildings which left some space up for grabs. We wrote a proposal for a certain space. Turned out, it was in the main university's administration building. And this all went to the provost, she approved it, and so then we had a space. We had all these people interested. We didn't have any money. I was Emeritus by this time, so I was the volunteer Director of the Center. So, we started working on some proposals to NSF. We made a clerical error in our first proposal so it got returned without being reviewed. We worked on a couple more proposals. We did not get funding but were moving in a positive direction. . We got strong reviews, but not quite strong enough. I said there wasn't any money. That's not quite true. There was no salary money, but we did have some money that we could use for, say, someone in computer science who had a small educational research program, and just needed undergraduates to do some data analysis. We could do that. Then, about that time, the provost who was our primary support retired. We still had a little bit of money, so we still kept meeting with the idea of revising our proposals. Then COVID hit. Now, the Center is basically defunct . There is nothing really going on. I have looked a little bit at trying to combine it into the university's teaching and learning center. There is some interest there, but I haven't gotten up the motivation to really do what I need to do to make it happen. So, it's just kind of sitting there doing nothing right now. It's a website; that's it.
Dean, a general question about your tenure as head of the department. To what extent was this an opportunity to expand your own interests in physics education to the department at large, and to what extent, conversely, would that have been overstepping because that was simply your own area, not necessarily something that was shared by your fellow professors?
It was both, absolutely. Well, to start with, I did not start out being a candidate for the department headship. In fact, I was on the search committee. When the overall search was not going well, several people kind of pushed on me, and I said, "Okay, maybe this is an okay idea." But I was still not quite sure, but I did at that point resign from the search committee and submit an application. I made it clear that if I were to become department head, then the department had to hire another person in physics education research. At that time, I was the only person in PER. I was not going to become department head which then basically took most of my time away from doing research unless PER could continue in our Department. For example. I had three or four graduate students at that time. So, I made it very clear that a new hire had to happen, and I kept making it clear. I was finally made an offer. The department was in agreement that we're going to hire somebody else in PER. And we did. So, we added a PER faculty member. So, that was an opportunity there.
Then, other positive opportunities were things like, we have a course which is almost exclusively populated by architects. It was a standard lecture, lab, recitation course. One day, I was having lunch with the person who was teaching that course, and with another faculty member who had been somewhat fundamental in converting the calculus-based course from a lecture lab into a more interactive mode. And the person who was teaching the architects said, "You know, I'd really like to be be able to teach like that other course." Because I was Department Head, I could just say, "Okay, let's do it. Why don't you go back and tell me what you need, and we'll try to make it happen?" The change required some room renovations, so we didn't have enough money to make it happen. But, I went to the dean of the architecture college. He didn't provide much money, but it turns out he has a very talented shop person who could do some of the renovations to the room to make it happen. So, that sort of thing happened. That's probably the biggest one that happened, but there were other times where offhand comments were made. I was able not to just let them go by or say we ought to think about that. I would say, “Hey, let's go see if we can do that,” and try to drum up some support in the university. So, that was very, very positive.
On the other hand, exactly what you said was something I worried about all the time, that I'm the physics education booster. If I try to push too hard, is that going to be a situation where I actually decrease my influence rather than increase it? So, I had to be careful. I almost always responded to something that somebody else said that seemed to be moving our department in a better place in teaching, rather than trying to go out to somebody and say, "You know, there's really a better way you can teach mechanics." But, when the person who was teaching mechanics wanted to add having some students program their own simulations and so forth, I made sure he had what he needed. Mostly, we had it already. It just wasn't quite in the right place. I didn't try a lot of pushing new things on faculty, but I certainly tried to respond whenever anybody thought about some different way of teaching, or even doing a little bit of research on teaching. I would try to help that out as well.
I wonder, for comparative purposes, since you had been on the faculty the entire time, if you saw, perhaps, as a microcosm, thinking about how small relatively AAPT was in the field of physics education in the early 1970s, and the way it might have extended its reach so that more and more physics faculty members, while not being specifically part of this enterprise, were at least alive to it, and receptive to these ideas.
I think that's happened a lot, and it's certainly happened in our faculty as well. I mean, I still am sometimes surprised when someone will say to me, "I just read this in the American Journal of Physics," hell, I didn't even know they read the American Journal of Physics. So, I think that is something that has gone on, probably throughout the nation, not just here, where people are much more aware of the fact that there is educational research. They're aware of at least some of what the research is saying about teaching. Then, they can apply that research to teach differently. Some faculty are even somewhat apologetic that they're not applying the PER, but of course, they've got other boundary conditions, too. So, I think the whole community of physicists is much more influenced by PER and even by the more general things that AAPT does now than they were when I started.
Dean, yet another question about an award. When you were recognized with the Oersted Medal in 2014, in what way was this a different recognition from Millikan, both in light of what you were doing at the time, and in light of where you were at that stage of your career?
I did quite a bit, particularly in the areas of teaching modern physics, during the time between when the Millikan Award was given, and the Oersted. So, I think some of it was that. I think, also, particularly at the international level, a lot of my international activities and my time on the International Commission for Physics Education, plus going to a large number of international conferences and working with a large number of people internationally, was something that wasn't zero back in '95, but a lot had happened in those intervening years. So, I think the connection with all of that, and the connection, as I said, with the teaching modern physics, were things that built -- and they built on top of what I had already done. None of the things that I did from '95 onward could have happened if I hadn't done all of the things I had done up to then. So, it was sort of cumulative, but there were some really new things in there.
Dean, in light of your more recent interests in mental knowledge, and the way that students apply and transfer their knowledge, to what extent has this line of research required you to learn more about psychology, or even neuroscience, or at least, collaborate with people who have a more formal expertise in these areas?
I have not done much with neural science at this point. With the more basic psychology, we've done quite a bit. A lot of it has been reading. Some of it has been interacting with folks, particularly, there was one faculty member I interacted with quite a bit in the department of psychology. But overall, it has required that I start understanding more of what's going on at a variety of levels in the student's mind than thinking, “Oh, they missed this. Here's a particular problem they had, and we can fix that particular problem in some ways.” So, it really is looking at a deeper level of thinking about how the students are thinking, and then how they can take the various pieces of knowledge that are things that they're looking for, and how they can put those together. So, it requires some level of understanding of the psychology. I must say, my students and my colleagues help me with this a lot. I'm not the fundamental person on some of these things.
Dean, I'm curious how you became interested in thinking about medical machines as a launchpad for physics education, and more broadly, perhaps what that might suggest about the value you see in teaching physics to undergraduates who go into adjacent fields like medicine, for example.
It was an intersection of a couple of things. One is the whole modern physics stuff -- quantum mechanics, and all of that. Here, we're a little different than many universities, in that half of the students in the course that would normally be called premed physics is actually per-veterinary medicine. So, we have that combination. An important question is, how can we show that quantum mechanics or atomic spectra or something of that nature is useful for them? That started out being a discussion among faculty. There was a discussion with the person who was then head of our division of biology. He actually came up with the Modern Miracle Medical Machines name. At that time, we were doing a proposal for the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and it was campus-wide. How do you do more things to show relevance of whatever topics are to the premeds? (For us, the pre-vets were still a concern but Hughes was interested in pre-meds.) So, this was one of the ideas that we thought we'd try to sell to them. It was an incredibly small part of that grant which got funded. So, we started with that, and then in the process, I was asked to go out to the Veterinary Medicine College and talk about some of the physics related to imaging machines and how the physics was relevant to the veterinary medicine students. I have to tell you, I sort of saw this as, oh, why would a vet student ever need to know about an MRI? Then I went out there, and I looked at the machines they have. They can't do an MRI now on a whole horse, but they can do half a horse. And they can also do a parakeet. The parakeet one is a small version of a human one that we'd use for your wrist, or something. But then, all of this kind of came together, that there really were reasons why vet medicine students as well as human medicine students could have an interest in this kind of contemporary physics. And we had all the stuff related to contemporary physics already, so we thought we'd let NSF consider funding us for something more substantial than we were able to do with our portion of the Hughes funding. And they did. So, it really was just a whole bunch of things that were part of my various trajectories coming together for one operation.
Dean, I'm curious about Physics Pathways, and I can't help but ask, pathway to what, and how close are you to getting there?
That program was strange in terms of its name.. We spent God knows how long trying to come up with a good acronym for it. Finally, it was pathways to better teaching by relying on experienced teachers to tell you how they teach various topics. The project was based on technology that had been developed at Carnegie Mellon University. I had a colleague there, Scott Stevens, who had been Bob Fuller's graduate student in the late 1970s. That was another example of where somebody's mentor goes on sabbatical, and he needs a little help. Scott was trying to finish up his PhD at Nebraska, and Bob had taken off for England. Well, I was nearby, and this was in a day when you didn't do Zoom meetings. So, I basically worked with Scott as he finished up his dissertation, and that kind of set up both a collaboration and a friendship that has lasted for many years. Scott ended up at the Entertainment Technology Center at Carnegie Mellon. This is a remarkable place because it's where people learn to design games and other forms of entertainment that involves technology. When you walk in the front door, there's a full-sized R2D2 sitting there. For Pathways purposes, they have is a number of technologies to deal with very large databases involving video. One result is that the user can interact with recorded video in ways that makes it feel like a conversation. So, I can get onto the Pathways website, and I can type in. I, "Tomorrow I am teaching the second law of thermal dynamics. What can I do?" We have recorded a number of responses. It's primarily for high school teachers, so a number of responses from some high school teachers as well as from Paul Hewitt. He's sort of the loss leader, because everybody knows who he is so they will want to hear him but the school teachers are likely to have more immediately useful information. So, someone will talk about teaching the second law., Then you can respond, "But my students don't understand entropy ." The idea is it becomes a conversation between me and the experienced teachers. This conversation is the pathway to helping me figure out how I am going to teach this topic. The problem is, I must say, right now, I don't even know if the website is still up and running. It's at Carnegie Mellon. It ran for 10-12 years, and you know what happens to software in that time.
Yeah. Relatedly, has the Physics InfoMall found a second life online, or is that sort of frozen in amber?
It's kind of frozen. That's one of the projects that probably I will never get done, because what I really need to do is go back through all of the paper permissions for the materials that we used on the CD-ROM and see what kind of permission we have. We didn't create any new content for that. We used mostly books that were out of print, so they were very easy for us to get permission to put them on the CD-ROM, but I would hope that the permission says, "CD-ROM and any electronic means," but I don't know that for sure. So, right now, it's just kind of stuck. A second issue is, unfortunately, we did something that today no sensible person would do. We had all of this material which had characters that, at that time, computers didn't handle very easily. You know, primes, Greek letters, and so forth. So, we created our own font to make that work, and within three or four years after we had it all done, that was totally obsolete. So, it would take some work to go in and fix that. That's not impossible; but it is an issue. You need to realize that at the beginning of this project, we actually had a debate among ourselves about whether we should make this for MS-DOS, or for this new thing called Windows. That's how old it is. Fortunately, we made the right decision on that one, but the font one would be a problem. But the bigger problem really is permissions. To move it to the web we would need to make sure that we really have permission for all this stuff to be in a different format from which we originally got the permissions. So, at the moment, it's stuck.
Dean, for all of your service and committee work, I'm particularly interested in your contributions in physics education as an international collaboration, first with the International Commission on Physics Education, and for the National Academy of Sciences during the same time. What was the value of that committee work, and in thinking about physics education not simply as an American endeavor?
Well, certainly, the first thing was that -- I mentioned this before -- you learn that there are teachers everywhere who have basically the same issues. Some of them are teaching in places where you feel like money could help them a lot, but there are other issues in terms of how students think, what students' attitudes are, and so forth. And at the same time, it's important for, I think, people like me to understand that just because somebody is in, say, a poorer country, or a country that's very overcrowded, they do not lack all resources. One example that I'm reminded of right now is that in one of the PHYSWARE workshops we did, we were working with teachers on a student experiment that involved the students taking time measurements. At this workshop, all of our participants were from developing countries. Mostly from Africa, but a few from Eastern countries. So, we said, "Well, we need to talk about this. How can you do this when your students don't have a stopwatch." And everybody stopped us, and said, "What do you mean? All of our students have cell phones. They have a stopwatch." So, for me, this is an example of getting to know people who are in other environments, where sometimes they have the same resources we do, and we don't realize it. Sometimes they have resources that we would never think about, that work just as well as what we have. So, being able to think about those people and how they're teaching. Plus, every time anything happened in that environment, I had to rethink what I was doing myself. Am I doing this because this is just the way everybody does it in the U.S., and if I were in Finland, I'd do it some other way, and so forth? So, all of those things kind of come together to make you realize that there's a lot of things that we can contribute to the rest of the world, but there's a lot of things that the rest of the world can contribute to us as well. I think both are important, and both are very much part of what I experienced in my international work.
Dean, with the decision to go emeritus comes the opportunity to shed all of the administrative responsibilities, and just concentrate on the scholarly interests that were most important. So, at that moment, what was most important to you? What did you want to focus on in thinking about this next stage in your career?
The first thing was the Center that didn't actually materialize. That's what I spent quite a bit of time on right after I retired., and I think probably could have handled better in the end. In any case, that was certainly my number one thing that I put high on my priority list as something to get done. Beyond that, I think it was mostly working with individual students and individual faculty. At that time, when I became emeritus, we had one relatively new PER faculty, and very shortly after that, we had two relatively new PER faculty. So, being able to have the time to really sit down with them and be a mentor when they wanted it and get out of their way when they wanted me to get out of their way, was kind of the second priority that I had. What I didn't have, interestingly enough, was the desire to write more papers. Although I've written two or three since then, even one I really wrote myself instead of helping other people write it, I guess I had gotten that out of my system by that time. So, I wasn't in the mode of, now I'm going to write my life's work, or something of that nature.
Dean, we began our talk talking about your current interests, and now that we've worked right up to the present, I'd like to ask for the last part of our conversation, a few broadly retrospective questions, and then we'll end looking to the future. First, because you have been so interested in getting this research actionably into the hands of physics educators, both at the high school and the college level, what kind of feedback have you gotten from teachers, from professors, on what's been most valuable to them, and how you've been responsive to that feedback?
Well, I think what's been most valuable has probably varied over the lifetime of my career, but I think overall, the underlying theme that I think I've heard the most is that I have shown people how to create learning environments that are active and involve the students at a level that the students can interact with, even when the environment that you're doing it in is not what you really want it to be. So, how do you take a class -- you're going to have a large class whether you like it or not -- and turn that into a more interactive environment for students? It's a lot easier to do now with technology than it was in the 1970s. But still, there are a lot of other things involved. The students can't just be pushing clickers or something similar. You've got to make sure that everything works together with the type of students that you have. So, I think that's probably the underlying theme. And now I've forgotten the second part of your question.
The idea that the feedback that you actually get from the practitioners in the field, in what ways is that useful for refining the research, refining your findings?
Oh, that's invaluable. For almost all of our projects that were of any large size, we refined things as we went over and over again based on what the teachers would tell us. Yeah, this worked, but the students were really bored. Okay, let's deal with that. So, over the long haul, almost every project that we did, we got both formal and informal feedback from teachers, and then we would modify things based on that. One sad thing is, because of the funding cycles that happen, once a project funding has ended, as far as NSF is concerned, it's done. We would get feedback much later than the funding would be going on. Because we had moved onto other things, and because we had no money for further revisions, we could not always respond as we would have liked to. But, feedback from people who are actually using things in the classroom, in the types of classrooms that we thought it was good for, has always been an invaluable part of what we've done.
To apply the feedback question to undergraduates, you're looking now at almost 50 years in the field. What have you learned about some of the most basic ways that conveying physics to undergraduates works?
Oh, I think it goes back to lots of things I've already said. Of course, the first is to try to meet the students, in terms of intellect and in terms of physics content, where they are at the moment. Not try to say, “Okay, this is the standard approach to X, and here we go. Let's go through it.” Instead say, Let's find out what you know, and what your goals are so that we can continue on an appropriate trajectory for you.” That's fundamental. Certainly, trying to relate everything in physics to the students' life outside the classroom is also important. There are some students who will just learn physics for the hell of learning physics. “Hey, I want to learn some physics and go from there.” But it's more likely that a student will get really involved in learning if that student can see some connections, not only to their future career, but even to their everyday life as they're going on. So, I think those are more important than the content, although obviously, as we've talked many times now, I consider the fact that students can get more involved when they feel like they're doing something that's related to what physicists are interested in now, rather than what they were interested in 100 years ago or so.
When you've had opportunity to stay in touch with undergraduates when they've gone on to careers, what has been most satisfying in hearing about the ways that physics education, learning physics, has been useful to them academically, intellectually, even professionally?
Well, you know, the places where I run into undergraduates more than anything else are really kind of haphazard. It seems that the airport in Kansas City is one where I actually see a fair number -- or have seen over the years -- a fair number of students who were in one of my courses for elementary ed majors. They usually will tell me that the course was valuable. They've now been teaching for X number of years, and they still use some of the ideas, both as ways of teaching as well as specific content. I have much less interaction with people who were physics majors, although I do run into them. And then, as department head, I had opportunities to interact with them a little bit more. Generally, there, it's more specific about, this was taught well to me, and therefore, I've been able to do the next course, or I've been able to do my research much better than I would have been had I not been part of the program that you have been involved in. Additionally, along the years, boy, going all the way back to the '70s, I've always employed some physics majors, some engineering majors, and some elementary ed majors as teaching assistants in these various courses. And the experience of being a teaching assistant, even if they ended up not going into teaching, becomes important because they learned how to explain things to other people. So, these are very different things but all part of what's happening over the last 50 years.
On the graduate student, and even the postdoc side, the diversity of projects, and the success that your student have gone onto is really remarkable. I wonder if you've thought about some of the commonalities among your graduate students and postdocs, intellectually, that might serve as a way of understanding how they came to work with you and your intellectual interests.
Certainly all of the graduate students and all of the postdocs had a fundamental interest in helping students or other people understand what physics is about, what you can do in teaching physics to other people. More fundamentally, they were all people who were very excited -- there may have been one exception to that -- but they were all people who were very excited about what we were doing. And not necessarily what we were doing in terms of, well, we're modifying the calculus-based physics course, or teaching quantum mechanics, but were excited about the idea that they're going to get in there, and they are going to help people learn things that those people would have trouble learning otherwise. So, that level of excitement was really important. Then, with almost everybody, I tried to give them a somewhat free rein in terms of the day-to-day operations. I kind of had control over the whole thing, because almost everybody was working on a funded project, and we had to get stuff done. On the other hand, I like to think -- and maybe one of them will disagree with me on this -- I like to think that I gave them the opportunity to think about it for themselves, and to think of ways in which they could do their projects that were their ideas,. They could take the ideas forward, and then I could occasionally say, “Well, have you really thought about this?” Or something like that. So, I was practicing, I guess, what I preach about students being actively involved. I wanted my graduate students and postdocs very actively involved in what they're doing, and giving them a chance to take things forward, and occasionally make mistakes, as long as the mistakes weren't going to really destroy us somehow. I always had to take care of that. But mostly, I think those are kind of the fundamental things that I tried to work with in students and postdocs.
Dean, a really broad question, again, going back to this amazing timespan of nearly 50 years in the field, where in physics education, from when you first started thinking about these things up to today, have you seen continuity, and where have you seen disruption?
Well, certainly, there's continuity all the way through. In fact, it goes back before I started in this field with some of the curriculum development projects in the '60s, of getting students actively involved in what they're trying to learn. That has changed a lot. It's changed a huge amount from what happened with some of the projects in the '60s until today, but there's certainly a continuity that that's a fundamental important thing that we must always keep in mind about what we're doing when we're trying to teach physics. It's there independent of what the content is, almost independent of what level is being taught. I put in the almost there because I still don't see a lot of active learning at the graduate level. There seems to be a point where we're reverting to thinking that graduate students are actively involved because they're working all the problems in Jackson, or something like that. So, that's a little bit of an issue, but overall, active learning is the most common continuous thing, I think, in everything that I have seen so far.
And certainly, there is continuity in the people and their desire to make sure that students feel comfortable with the physics, and they are learning it. I think, in the early days -- this is the place where it gets discontinuous -- there was a lot more emphasis on weeding out those who are not capable. Someone has to define capable, but let's let that go. But the idea that whether it's for graduate school, or for medical school, or even for whether you can major in physics, long before me but up through the '70s sometime, there were certainly a lot of people who believed that was what physicists were all about, was picking out the best ones to go on. That has been maybe not quite a discontinuity, but it certainly has been a change. Today I think most physics professors will look at what's going on as more, we are trying to take students and move them toward the next point in their careers so they can go on and continue on as they will. Some of that, of course, is related to trying to make physics more diverse. We have to look at people who have had a large variety of life experiences and try to get them to the point where they can study physics, they can study medicine, they can go to graduate school, or whatever. I think we've changed a lot with that in probably the last 20-25 years, and it's still changing.
The fundamental mysteries in physics as they exist today: understanding dark matter; finding supersymmetry if it's out there; understanding superconductivity. When I hear these things, I think that means we're going to need the next generation to physicists to figure them out. In what ways, if at all, do you connect the importance of physics education as a steppingstone to ultimately solving these mysteries in the field?
Well, first, I'm hoping -- and I don't know that we have any research on this yet, but I'm hoping – that we are now teaching students ways of thinking that were not taught to me. I think those ways are to think more broadly about the topic, and to bring in whatever you think might be useful and go down a few roads that may end up being dead ends, but at least you'll have a chance to try to do it. I also think that physics has been rather narrow in terms of the types of people who have gone into physics over the whole time. We kind of thought alike -- this goes back to my discussion just a minute ago of weeding people out, rather than trying to become a way in which we can bring in more broad thoughts. But I think that as we try to bring in a more diverse student body who's interested in physics, we're going to have people who do think a little differently than, kind of, the narrow line that is the old way of doing it. So, there will be people who will come up with some ideas, some of which won't be worth anything, some of which will be very helpful, that we haven't been able to do yet. So, I think overall getting people to think more broadly, and getting a broader clientele who can bring in new ideas are what may well be the future of physics.
Dean, last question, looking to the future. What's most important to you personally, in terms of what you'd like to accomplish, and using your powers of extrapolation, where do you see physics education heading into the future?
I think in terms of what I would like to see is I would like to see a nice combination of fundamental research -- fundamental is probably not a very good word, but in any case, research on how the students are learning, how they're combining all of the different things that they have in order to make sense out of physics and keep that going even to the point that occasionally a physicist in another field will wonder why we're bothering to conduct such research. But, these efforts are just bringing more information into the knowledge base that we have even if they seem impractical. At the same time, I worry that if we do too much of that, then our research won't get applied to the classroom with the rate at which it could. So, I want to see the more applied side of physics education research continue to grow, continue to be useful to people who really think they have no interest in the research side of physics education, but see that some of these ideas could be useful for their teaching. So, I think, we need to do both, and it's something that just has to be thought through, and people have to do both of those. So, if I can help in some ways make that happen, that, I'd consider a useful thing to do in the next few years.
And then more broadly, just the last thing, about where physics education is headed, the big questions that you see in the future.
I do believe that there's going to be a lot more psychology of learning being brought into the discipline, that people are going to continue to look at these various ways in which students use their knowledge, they combine their knowledge, they misunderstand their knowledge, and so forth. So, I would think that probably what will happen over the next -- not too many years, but certainly over the next N number of years, is that we will become more interdisciplinary, basically. It's not just psychologists, but it's also educational researchers of a various type. I don't know whether anybody is going to start doing functional MRIs in the near future. I wouldn't be surprised, but I'd be surprised if it really helps a lot in the near future. It may in the further future. But I think brain functions and how people think and all of that will make us more interdisciplinary than we are now. And we're doing a pretty good job, let me say, at the present time.
Finally, I think that the past 18 months has created new challenges, opportunities and uncertainties. Teaching and learning at all levels had to change suddenly because of the pandemic. And, many of us had our sensitivity to social justice issues increase. We don’t yet know if or how each of these changes will permanently affect the teaching and learning of physics. But, there will be some changes and with them will come new research opportunities.
Dean, I'd like to thank you for spending this time with me. It's been so great hearing your perspective, and I'm just so happy we were able to do this. So, thank you so much.
Well, thank you for doing it.