Article ID: CBB763880389

A Brief History of Physics Education in the United States (2015)


In order to provide insight into current physics teaching practices and recommended reforms, we outline the history of physics education in the United States—and the accompanying pedagogical issues and debates—over the period 1860–2014. We identify key events, personalities, and issues for each of ten separate time periods, comparing and contrasting the outlooks and viewpoints of the different eras. This discussion should help physics educators to (1) become aware of previous research in physics education and of the major efforts to transform physics instruction that have taken place in the U.S., (2) place the national reform movements of today, as well as current physics education research, in the context of past efforts, and (3) evaluate the effectiveness of various education transformation efforts of the past, so as better to determine what reform methods might have the greatest chances of success in the future.

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Authors & Contributors
Salter, Daniel
Lynn, Laura
Dawidowicz, Paula
Geiger, Roger L.
Brinkmann, Svend
Moulin, Stéphane
Transversal: International Journal for the Historiography of Science
Histoire & Mesure
British Journal for the History of Science
Business History Review
Configurations: A Journal of Literature, Science, and Technology
Science and Education
Transaction Publishers
Walden University
University of Wisconsin at Madison
W. W. Norton & Co.
Johns Hopkins University Press
Teaching; pedagogy
Primary and secondary education
Science education and teaching
Dewey, John
Skinner, Burrhus Frederic
Bertin, Pierre
Almeida, Joseph-Charles d'
Galilei, Galileo
Bunge, Mario
Time Periods
21st century
20th century
19th century
United States
Québec (Canada)
Texas (U.S.)
Harvard University
Texas A&M University
École Normale Supérieure, Paris
Société française de physique
Université de France
Columbia University

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