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When the light bulb turns on: motivation and collaboration spark the creation of ideas for theoretical physicists
written by Molly Griston, Jesús Botello, Michael Verostek, and Benjamin M. Zwickl
In this project, we sought to uncover the cognitive processes and skills that are involved in completing a theoretical physics project. Theoretical physics is often portrayed as a field requiring individual genius and can seem inaccessible to undergraduate students, as well as the public. We drew upon the foundations of Cognitive Task Analysis and completed semi-structured interviews with eleven theoretical physics faculty members from several different research institutions who specialized in subfields including quantum optics, biophysics, computational astrophysics, and string theory. We analyzed the processes and skills of these physicists, focusing on an analysis of idea origin, which is typically the first cognitive process within a project, and how it was connected to collaboration and motivation. We used concept maps to organize these codes and portray the factors that influence the creation of project ideas. We found that motivation and collaboration are fundamental determinants of project ideas and their origins, which contradicts the "lone genius" stereotype. These findings on cognitive processes and skills can help us understand how to better prepare students to do theoretical physics research. Finally, the information gathered during this project may be useful for improving the public understanding of theoretical physics, dispelling the belief that the field requires "genius," and making it accessible to more students.
Physics Education Research Conference 2021
Part of the PER Conference series
Virtual Conference: August 4-5, 2021
Pages 160-165
Subjects Levels Resource Types
Education - Basic Research
- Behavior
- Cognition
= Cognition Development
- Problem Solving
- Sample Population
= Instructor: Faculty
- Graduate/Professional
- Reference Material
= Research study
PER-Central Type Intended Users Ratings
- PER Literature
- Researchers
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Format:
application/pdf
Mirror:
https://doi.org/10.1119/perc.2021…
Access Rights:
Free access
License:
This material is released under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license. Further distribution of this work must maintain attribution to the published article's author(s), title, proceedings citation, and DOI.
Rights Holder:
American Association of Physics Teachers
DOI:
10.1119/perc.2021.pr.Griston
NSF Numbers:
1846321
1757477
Keyword:
PERC 2021
Record Creator:
Metadata instance created September 28, 2021 by Lyle Barbato
Record Updated:
September 29, 2021 by Lyle Barbato
Last Update
when Cataloged:
October 10, 2021
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Record Link
AIP Format
M. Griston, J. Botello, M. Verostek, and B. Zwickl, , presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2021, Virtual Conference, 2021, WWW Document, (https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15742&DocID=5476).
AJP/PRST-PER
M. Griston, J. Botello, M. Verostek, and B. Zwickl, When the light bulb turns on: motivation and collaboration spark the creation of ideas for theoretical physicists, presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2021, Virtual Conference, 2021, <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15742&DocID=5476>.
APA Format
Griston, M., Botello, J., Verostek, M., & Zwickl, B. (2021, August 4-5). When the light bulb turns on: motivation and collaboration spark the creation of ideas for theoretical physicists. Paper presented at Physics Education Research Conference 2021, Virtual Conference. Retrieved December 5, 2022, from https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15742&DocID=5476
Chicago Format
Griston, M, J. Botello, M. Verostek, and B. Zwickl. "When the light bulb turns on: motivation and collaboration spark the creation of ideas for theoretical physicists." Paper presented at the Physics Education Research Conference 2021, Virtual Conference, August 4-5, 2021. https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15742&DocID=5476 (accessed 5 December 2022).
MLA Format
Griston, Molly, Jesús Botello, Michael Verostek, and Benjamin Zwickl. "When the light bulb turns on: motivation and collaboration spark the creation of ideas for theoretical physicists." Physics Education Research Conference 2021. Virtual Conference: 2021. 160-165 of PER Conference. 5 Dec. 2022 <https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15742&DocID=5476>.
BibTeX Export Format
@inproceedings{ Author = "Molly Griston and Jesús Botello and Michael Verostek and Benjamin Zwickl", Title = {When the light bulb turns on: motivation and collaboration spark the creation of ideas for theoretical physicists}, BookTitle = {Physics Education Research Conference 2021}, Pages = {160-165}, Address = {Virtual Conference}, Series = {PER Conference}, Month = {August 4-5}, Year = {2021} }
Refer Export Format

%A Molly Griston %A Jesús Botello %A Michael Verostek %A Benjamin Zwickl %T When the light bulb turns on: motivation and collaboration spark the creation of ideas for theoretical physicists %S PER Conference %D August 4-5 2021 %P 160-165 %C Virtual Conference %U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15742&DocID=5476 %O Physics Education Research Conference 2021 %O August 4-5 %O application/pdf

EndNote Export Format

%0 Conference Proceedings %A Griston, Molly %A Botello, Jesús %A Verostek, Michael %A Zwickl, Benjamin %D August 4-5 2021 %T When the light bulb turns on: motivation and collaboration spark the creation of ideas for theoretical physicists %B Physics Education Research Conference 2021 %C Virtual Conference %P 160-165 %S PER Conference %8 August 4-5 %U https://www.compadre.org/Repository/document/ServeFile.cfm?ID=15742&DocID=5476


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