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The Klopsteg Memorial Lecture Award
is named for Paul E. Klopsteg, a principal founder, a former AAPT Presi-
dent, and a long-time member of AAPT, and recognizes outstanding communication of the excitement of contem-
porary physics to the general public. The recipient delivers the Klopsteg Lecture at an AAPT Summer Meeting on a
topic of current significance and at a level suitable for a non-specialist audience and receives a monetary award, an
Award Certificate, and travel expenses to the meeting.
Eugenia Etkina
Rutgers University
Professor of Physics
New Brunswick, NJ
Robert A. Millikan Medal
for 2014 is presented to
Eugenia Etkina
for her notable and creative contributions
to the teaching of physics. Etkina started her teaching career as a high school physics teacher in Moscow, Russia,
where she taught for 13 years before coming to the U.S. In 1995-1997 she taught physics courses for at-risk students at
Rutgers University. In 1997 she received her PhD in physics education from Moscow State Pedagogical University and
was appointed an assistant professor at the Rutgers University Graduate School of Education. She became an associ-
ate professor in 2003 and a full professor in 2010 and served as the chair of the Department of Learning and Teaching
from 2011 to 2014.
Since 2003 she has been running one of the largest programs in physics teacher preparation in the United States.
Professional learning community of the program graduates now has over 60 physics teachers. Her pivotal role in
sustaining and expanding this community is evidenced by the moniker that her New Jersey physics teachers use for
themselves. Etkina is involved in reforms in undergraduate physics courses and in the professional development
programs for in-service middle school science and high school physics teachers. She is a co-creator of the Investigative
Science Learning environment (ISLE)—an approach to teaching and learning physics that helps students learn physics
by engaging in activities that mirror the practice of physics. She is also a co-author of a newly published ISLE-based
textbook College Physics and a companion Active Learning Guide. Together with her colleagues and students (now
in-service teachers) she developed the Physics Union Mathematics (PUM) curriculum that is used in middle and high
schools to help students learn physics through ISLE. An AAPT member since 1997, Etkina has 32 years of experience
in physics and astronomy instruction at middle school, high school, and university levels. She has served AAPT on
the Focus Group on the Draft Framework and on the 2013 AAPT Sponsored Discussion Group Response to Achieve
on the Next Generation Science Standards Second Draft.
In addition to the AAPT Distinguished Service Citation that she received in 2012, Etkina has been recognized with the
2012 New Jersey Distinguished Faculty Showcase of Exemplary Practices Award, 2011 Rutgers University Graduate
School of Education Alumni Association Outstanding Faculty Teaching Award, 2010 Rutgers University Warren I Sus-
man Award for Excellent Teaching, and the 2007 Rutgers University Graduate School of Education Alumni Associa-
tion Outstanding Faculty Research Award.
The Robert A Millikan Medal, established in 1962, recognizes teachers who have made notable and creative
contributions to the teaching of physics. The recipient is asked to make a presentation at the Ceremonial Session
of an AAPT Summer Meeting. A monetary award, The Millikan Medal, an Award Certificate, and travel expenses to
the meeting are presented to the recipient.
Robert A. Millikan Medal
Students of Physics:
Listeners, Observers,
or Collaborative
Wednesday, July 30
10:30–11:30 a.m.
Northrop Auditorium
Klopsteg Memorial Lecture Award
Klopsteg Memorial Lecture Award
for 2014 is presented to
Donald W. Olson,
PhD, Professor of Physics at Texas
State University, in recognition of his outstanding communication of the excitement of contemporary physics to the
general public.
Don Olson is nationally known for his ability to apply physics to solve mysteries in art, history, and literature - and to
communicate the results to the public in a coherent, exciting way. His work has been published in more than thirty ar-
ticles in
Sky & Telescope
magazine and has been featured in the
Smithsonian Magazine
Scientific American,
and a host
of major newspapers. Olson’s recent book,
Celestial Sleuth
(Springer, 2014), collects his research in chapters devoted
to night sky paintings by Vincent van Gogh, Edward Munch, Claude Monet, and J. M. W. Turner, moonrise photo-
graphs by Ansel Adams, events from military history ranging from the Battle of Marathon to moonlight and tides
during World War II, and references to celestial phenomena by Chaucer, Shakespeare, Mary Shelley, Walt Whitman,
and James Joyce.
Olson earned his BS in physics from Michigan State University, receiving upon graduation the Thomas H. Osgood
Undergraduate Physics Award—an award named after the professor who was an early editor of the
American Journal
of Physics
and the inspirational teacher in the first physics courses that Olson took at MSU. After earning his PhD in
physics from the University of California-Berkeley, Olson studied galaxies and cosmology for four years at Cornell
University and two years at the University of Texas at Austin, and he then began teaching at Texas State University in
1981. He has received many teaching awards during his career, including the 2011 Presidential Award for Excellence
in Teaching, Texas State’s top teaching award.
Olson has been a valuable participant at Texas Section AAPT/APS meetings for many years. He has twice given
plenary talks on the use of astronomy and physics to solve mysteries in historical events and in topics from art and
Regarding his selection as 2014 Klopsteg Award recipient, Olson said, “I am deeply honored to receive this recogni-
tion, especially because the award commemorates Paul Klopsteg, who dedicated so much of his life to physics educa-
DonaldW. Olson
Texas State University
Professor of Physics
San Marcos, TX
Celestial Sleuth: Using
Physics and Astronomy
to Solve Mysteries in Art,
History, and Literature
Tuesday, July 29
10:30–11:30 a.m.
Northrop Auditorium
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