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A. P. French at MIT: A Lifetime of Educational Innovations


A presentation from the 2018 Winter Meeting: San Diego, CA


A.P. French was appointed professor of physics at MIT in 1962. In this talk I will describe Prof. French's impact on physics education at MIT and the larger physics community. His impact at MIT began with his work at the Science Teacher Center at MIT and the MIT Education Research Center resulting in the M.I.T. Introductory Physics Series Textbooks. Prof. French was one of the founding members of the Experimental Study Group, an educational study group for a small set of first-year students. Along with Prof. John King, Phil and Phylis Morrison, Tony created a new version of mechanics and electromagnetism in which students built red box desktop experiments for 8.01x and 8.02x. These two experiment-based courses were one of the starting points for the TEAL courses are MIT that were subsequently developed by Prof. John Belcher. Throughout his years at MIT, Prof. French continued to write many influential physics education articles. His work extended beyond MIT, from 1975 to 1981 he was chairman of the Commission on Physics Educational in the International Union of Pure and Applied Physics, and from 1983 to 1986 he was successfully Vice-President, President-Elect, President, and Past President of the American Association of Physics Teachers. Prof. French received the Oersted Award in 1989. He retired form MIT in 1991 but remained active in the community of physics educators. In 1993 he chaired the committee that set the examination for the XXIV International Physics Olympiad.


Peter A. Dourmashkin,

Paper Type:

2018 Winter Meeting: San Diego, CA

07:30 PM

Remembering Tony French


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