Lecture: Improving the Learning and Teaching of Science Through Discipline-Based Education Research – A View from Physics (02/19/15)

Photo of Lilian C. McDermott

Improving the Learning and Teaching of Science Through Discipline-Based Education Research: A View from Physics
By Professor Lillian C. McDermott

Thursday, February 19, 2015
7 p.m.
Kane Hall, Room 130

The lecture is free and open to the public. A reception will follow in the Walker-Ames Room in Kane Hall.

About This Lecture
The Physics Education Group in the UW Department of Physics has been conducting research in physics education since the 1970s. The goal is to identify and address the intellectual challenges that physics presents to university students, including prospective and practicing K–12 teachers. The results guide development of research-based and research-validated instructional materials to improve conceptual understanding and reasoning ability from kindergarten through graduate school. A commentary on the termination of the anti-nepotism policy at UW in 1972 precedes a few examples of our group’s research and a summary of our progress.


About the University Faculty Lecture
Since 1976, the University Faculty Lecture has honored faculty whose undaunted research, scholarship or art have made a major impact on their profession — and beyond. In conjunction with the Office of the Provost, UW faculty members choose one of their peers to deliver this annual lecture. Professor Lillian McDermott joins a roster of Nobel laureates, historians, artists, scientists and authors who have presented this series over its long history.


Lillian C. McDermott
Professor, Department of Physics
University of Washington

Lillian Christie McDermott has been a faculty member at the University of Washington for more than 40 years. She was a part-time lecturer at the UW and at Seattle University from 1966 to 1973, when she was appointed assistant professor of physics at the UW. Since then, she has led the Physics Education Group, which is renowned worldwide for its preparation of K–12 teachers in physics and its leadership role in physics education research. Lillian became an associate professor in 1976 — the first woman to become tenured in the UW Department of Physics — and was promoted to professor in 1981. She is a fellow of the American Physical Society, the American Association of Physics Teachers and the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Lillian earned a B.A. from Vassar College and a Ph.D. in experimental nuclear physics from Columbia University. She recently received an honorary doctorate in physics from the University of Athens.

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