European Physical Society

PHYSICS EDUCATION DIVISION

Annual report (2001) of the EPS Physics Education Division

The Physics Education Division was created at the Council Meeting of EPS in Dublin, 2000.
From the outset it was clear that the Division may have a special position within EPS,
because many Physics Teachers, in particular those active in pre-university education do
not belong to the membership of EPS or its constituent National Physical Societies.
The Physics Education Division has two sections on pre-university education and on university
education. The Physics Education Division is the liaison between EPS and the European Physics
Education Network (EUPEN).

Pre-university section

This section coordinates a number of activities in its area. It is involved in the preparation
of a European conference on science education at the primary level. Note was taken of the
outcome of the Physics on Stage festival held at CERN in September 2000 and it was agreed that
a European conference on science education at the primary level should be held during 2002.

The planning was started for a European conference on physics teacher training to be held in 2003.
Meanwhile the French Physical Society (Jacques Treiner) is organising a similar meeting in Les
Houches, in June 2002. On behalf of EPS Brenda Jennison and Michael Vollmer participate in the
organizing committee.

A survey of physics education in European schools will be initiated by Tim Hickson in the hope
that the necessary work could begin in 2003.

The teacher exchange scheme initiated by Alf Ölme should be revived by giving it further
publicity at Physics on Stage 2. It should be attempted to set off such schemes for various languages.

EPS (through our Section) has continued to support the International Young Physicists' Tournament,
IYPT. Since 1998 Gunnar Tibell is the President of the International Committee of the tournament.
In 2001 the competition was organized in Finland, at Espoo just outside the capital. Next year's
tournament will be held in Odessa, Ukraine.

EUPEN

The 15th EUPEN Executive Meeting was held in January 2001 in Gent (BE) and resulted in the
implementation of the work plan. Four new Working Groups were established.

The EUPEN project started in September 1996 with some 100 departments of physics belonging to
some 20 European countries. The activities undertaken in 2001 run partly through the fifth and
the sixth working year of the Thematic Network Project (TNP) which is financially supported by
the ERASMUS/SOCRATES programme of the Directorate General (DG) Education and Culture
(EAC) of the European Commission (EC) and by contributions from the partner universities.
Presently the scheme counts 122 member universities [117 from the SOCRATES 'eligible' countries
and 5 others (CH, HR, MK and RU)] from 28 countries, plus 5 associated societies
(EPS, IoP, AIF, PFS and IAPS). The grant in the academic year 2000/2001 amounted to 137.3 keuro
and in 2001/2002 the corresponding sum is 170.3 keuro.

In the middle of February 2001 the EUPEN network was associated to a new EC pilot project 'Tuning
education structures in Europe' (supported by DG EAC to the amount of 500 keuro). This activity
tries to converge HE in the field of Mathematics, Geology, Educational Sciences, Business and
Geology, while the TN in Physics and Chemistry collaborate in a synergetic way. A final report with
a set of recommendations will be presented in an open Closing Congress to be held in Brussels (BE)
at the end of May 2002.

A successful EUPEN General Forum EGF2001 '[A]Scent of/for Physics' was held in Hotel Severinshof in
Köln (DE) on 7 and 8 September 2001. More than 100 delegates from more than 30 countries
participated in this event.

The complete set of papers presented at the forum will give rise to Volume 6 in the EUPEN Series of
books. Just like the five previous volumes were distributed at the EPS Council Meetings in Mulhouse
(FR) (1998), Leiden (NL) (1999), Dublin (IE) (2000), and Mulhouse (2001), we hope to have copies
available again in Berlin (DE).

In January 2002 the 16th EUPEN Executive Meeting will gather in Namur (BE) to implement the work plan
for the running academic year.

At the end of February 2002 a new application for the third (and last) year in Phase II of the
SOCRATES programme will be submitted.

The next EUPEN General Forum EGF2002 is planned to take place on 6 and 7 September 2002 in Varna (BG).

University section

The University section has strongly supported the Workshop on "Multimedia in Physics Teaching and
Learning"-network started by professor H.J. Jodl. The 6th workshop in the series took place in Ghent,
Belgium, from October 28th till October 30th, 2001. The series of workshops focuses on the trends
and research results as well as on the presentation of experiences gained while developing, testing
and applying elements in multimedia and computer aided physics teaching and learning. One of the
main topics will be the standardization and exchange of resources between the different projects
running in different countries (http://www-fips.physik.uni-kl.de).

In Germany there is a section of the DPG that has an active network for the improvement of student labs.
There is sufficient international interest in this topic for organizing an international workshop
around this nucleus. The University-High School Interface is one of the topics considered in the
German working group. It is proposed to introduce this workshop as a part of Physics on Stage 2.

One of the major problems confronting physics is the decline of the number of students.
The EPS-DPE/U is eager to learn about initiatives at the school-university interface that have the
potential to increase student enrolment. This might be special appetizer courses and experiments
offered to pupils still at school. Actions in the area of innovative teaching are also considered.

Accreditation and bench marking will be a very important issue in the near future. If EPS want to
play a role here quick action is required. IOP can offer help to national Societies, because IOP
conducts the accreditation in the UK. A letter to the Presidential Representatives and the Presidents
of the National Societies has been sent, to inquire if action on this point by EPS is needed.
Replies are coming in slowly.

Divisional matters

The Division seeks support and information from the National Societies through the Presidential
representatives. They are listed on the Division's website. The communication is often very slow.

At the recommendation of the Division Nobel Frank E. Close at Oxford will give a plenary lecture
at EPS-12. For the Symposium to be convened by the Education Division two themes will be mentioned:
1) ICT and other education innovation;
2) University High school connection.
Prof. Eric Johansson will talk at the Symposium about: "School physics and outreach projects at
the research frontline"

The Physics on Stage 2 event will be held at ESTEC, Noordwijkerhout, The Netherlands on 2-6 April 2002.
EPS will enthusiastically support Physics on Stage again. Aart Kleyn will act as liaison.

The Divisional Committee consists of Prof. H. Ferdinande (EUPEN, Belgium), Prof. K. Gaemers
(representing EPS Executive Committee, Netherlands), Prof. A.W. Kleyn (President and secretary,
Netherlands), Dr E. Lingeman (Webmaster, Netherlands), Prof. G. Tibell (Pre-university Section, Sweden),
Prof. U. Titulaer (University Section, Austria). The EPS Secretary General, David Lee,
attends most board meetings ex officio.
Board meetings took place in Mulhouse, France on 29 March 2001 before the EPS Executive Council
Meeting; and in conjunction with the 5th EUPEN General Forum EGF-2001 at Köuml;ln, Germany on
8 September 2001; a virtual meeting took place on 21 December 2001, with 3 members present in
person in Amsterdam, while all others were consulted by telephone and e-mail.

Aart W. Kleyn
8 February 2002.