The quality of education of undergraduate and graduate physics students is a very high priority. Active programs for the general improvement of science education for students and teachers include summer enhancement projects for teachers from elementary to high school level, and the development of statewide televised courses emphasizing hands-on use of equipment. See the Education Outreach page: www.phys.virginia.edu/Education/Outreach/. A new M.A. degree in Physics Education has been instituted for inservice middle and high school teachers who want to teach physical science and physics.
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Our Physics Education programs provide numerous research opportunities for pedagogical assessment that could lead to graduate theses or dissertations. For example, do engineering students learn better since we have merged their lab and discussion sections into a two-hour workshop? Is web-based assignment and grading of homework problems effective? How well will our new M.A. in Physics Education serve teachers through night and summer courses at UVa, and through new video and web-based distance learning courses? How can we best present hands-on activities for students with full-time jobs?
Lindgren: Professor Lindgren conducts experiments that provide critical test of QCD and quark models in the perturbative and non-perturbative regime of QCD. The experiments utilize electromagnetic probes such as electrons and are conducted at the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility (JLab). Lindgren was PI of the MRI/NSF Grant that provided funds to install and upgrade the large acceptance BigBite spectrometer with new multiwire drift chambers in Hall A at JLab. The funds also provided for a new scattering chamber and target cells. The large acceptance (90 msr) spectrometer and ... More>
Thornton: Prof. Thornton researches physics and general science education. His research objective is to train graduate physicists to be college and university professors. He has been active in teacher enhancement projects on the local, regional, and state level and developed a physical science course for K-8 teachers to train them as lead science teachers. This led to a statewide televised course for K-12 teachers emphasizing hands-on science, using kits developed by Prof. Thornton. Eight of these courses have been developed. Students have been instrumental in the development of the experiments and ... More>