home - login - register

Physics Education Research Conference 2015 Plenary Speakers

David T. Brookes, Florida International University

David Brookes was born in Durban, South Africa. He did his undergraduate degree in physics and applied mathematics at the University of Cape Town and completed a M.Sc. in theoretical physics before moving to the U.S. to read for a Ph.D. in physics at Rutgers University in New Jersey. There his met his dissertation advisor, Prof. Eugenia Etkina, and discovered his true academic calling: physics education research. At Rutgers, he contributed to the development and implementation of Prof. Etkina's Investigative Science Learning Environment (ISLE). Frustrated by the fact that lab courses were separate from lecture courses in physics, he made a vow to one day teach a physics course where experimentation was completely integrated into the class activities.

David is currently assistant professor of physics specializing in physics education research at Florida International University where he teaches an integrated lab/lecture course following the ISLE philosophy. David is interested in the interplay between language and cognition in the physics classroom. He also studies the problem of integrating research results into the classroom with a particular focus on how students build a learning community.

David Brookes sees his classroom as a place for transformation, both for himself and for his students. He envisions his teaching and research as two dimensions of the same activity: learning. His research informs his classroom practice and what he learns from his students informs his research.

Natasha G. Holmes, Stanford University

Dr. Natasha G. Holmes is a postdoctoral researcher in the Physics Department at Stanford University. She received her B.Sc. in Physics from the University of Guelph and her PhD in Physics at the University of British Columbia. For her dissertation work, she developed and evaluated a pedagogical framework for teaching and learning in physics lab courses that focuses on the iterative and reflective nature of experimentation. She is currently working to adapt that framework to other lab courses and contexts and to further evaluate what is and is not learned in different varieties of labs. She is also interested in how the hands-on and collaborative nature of lab courses interacts with issues of gender and diversity.

Sandra L. Laursen, Ethnography & Evaluation Research, University of Colorado

Sandra Laursen is senior research associate and co-director of Ethnography & Evaluation Research (E&ER), an independent research unit at the University of Colorado Boulder. E&ER conducts research and evaluation studies of higher education and career development in science, engineering and mathematics (www.colorado.edu/eer).  Her research interests include the underrepresentation of women and people of color in the sciences, professional socialization and career development of scientists, teacher professional development, inquiry-based learning in math and science, and organizational change in higher education. She is lead author of the 2010 book, Undergraduate Research in the Sciences:  Engaging Students in Real Science (Wiley). She has also published chemistry curriculum manuals, journal articles in chemistry, education, gender studies, and the Journal of Irreproducible Results, co-directed a documentary film, and recorded a CD with Resonance Women's Chorus.  She earned a Ph.D. in chemistry from the University of California at Berkeley.

Ethnography & Evaluation Research

Helen R. Quinn, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center

Helen Quinn is Professor Emerita of Particle Physics and Astrophysics at SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory. She received her Ph.D in physics at Stanford in 1967.  She has taught physics at both Harvard and Stanford. Dr. Quinn is an internationally recognized theoretical physicist who holds the Dirac Medal (from the International Center for Theoretical Physics, Italy), the Klein Medal (from The Swedish National Academy of Sciences and Stockholm University) and the Sakurai Prize (from the American Physical Society). She is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Science and the American Philosophical Society. She is a Fellow and former president of the American Physical Society.  She is originally from Australia and is an Honorary Officer of the Order of Australia.

Dr. Quinn is has been active in science education for some years. She served as Chair of the US National Academy of Science Board on Science Education (BOSE) from 2009-2014. She served as a member of the BOSE study that developed the report "Taking Science to School" and chaired the committee for the "Framework for K-12 Science Education", which is the basis of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) that have now been adopted by multiple states in the US. She also served on the committee that developed the report "Developing Assessments for the Next Generation Science Standards."