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Dr. Eric Mazur Awarded Robert A. Millikan Award

Eric Mazur Awarded Prize for Creative Physics Teaching

July 14, 2008

For Immediate Release

EricMazur  Dr. Eric Mazur, Balkanski Professor of Physics and
 Applied Physics, Harvard University, is the 2008
 recipient of the Robert A. Millikan Award from the
 American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT)
 for notable and creative contributions to the
 teaching of physics.  He will give an acceptance
 talk at the 2008 AAPT Summer Meeting in
 Edmonton, Canada, entitled, “Physics Reality
 Distortion: Why the World of Physics and the Real World are Different in Students’ Minds” on Tuesday July 21, 2008 at 4 p.m.

“Professor Eric Mazur's Peer Instruction technique has altered the landscape of physics teaching. Numerous teachers have adopted Peer Instruction, enlivening their classes by turning passive students into active learners. AAPT's Robert A. Millikan Medal recognizes Eric Mazur's outstanding scholarly contributions to physics education," says Harvey S. Leff, Chair, AAPT Awards Chair, as well as the 2008 AAPT Past President, and Professor Emeritus of Physics, California State Polytechnic University.

Dr. Mazur has devoted his life to science and is a recognized scientist and researcher, who leads a world-recognized optical physics research program.  His strong interests in education, science policy, outreach and public perception of science leads him to devote considerable time to education research and identifying verifiable ways to improve science education.  He believes that better science education for all, not just science majors, is vital for continued scientific progress of our nation.

The 1990 development of Peer Instruction, a method of teaching large lecture classes interactively, has attracted a large following among AAPT members and others nationally and internationally.  The impact of Dr. Mazur’s teaching method is significant for physics teaching.  His more recent collaborative production of an award-winning DVD, Interactive Teaching, has just continued this success.

About the Award
The Robert A Millikan Award, established in 1962, recognizes teachers who have made notable and creative contributions to the teaching of physics. The Millikan Medal recipient is asked to make a presentation at the Ceremonial Session of an AAPT Summer Meeting. A $7,500 monetary award, The Millikan Medal, an Award Certificate, and travel expenses to the meeting are presented to the recipient.

Previous Awardees
2007, David R. Solokoff, University of Oregon, Eugene
2006, Art Hobson, University of Arkansas, Fayetteville
2005, John S. Rigden, Washington University in St. Louis, MO

About AAPT
AAPT is the leading organization for physics educators—with more than 10,000 members worldwide. Our mission is to advance the greater good through physics education. We provide our members with many opportunities for professional development, communication, and student enrichment. We serve the larger community through a variety of programs and publications. AAPT was founded in 1930 and is headquartered in the American Center for Physics in College Park, Maryland. The results are not only a deeper appreciation of the teaching profession, but most importantly, more enthusiastic involvement from their students.

Contact information for AAPT: 
Linda Ware Dylla, AAPT Communications

Contact information for Harvard University:
Steve Brandt, Assistant Director of Communications, Faculty of Arts and Sciences