Graduate Education in Physics: Which Way Forward?

January 24, 2008

After a quarter century without an update, graduate physics curricula in US universities are sorely in need of reevaluation. At a conference title "Graduate Education in Physics: Which Way Forward," to be held January 31 - February 2, a group of leading physics educators and researchers will take a candid look at graduate physics programs and consider ways it can be changed to better prepare the nation's young physicists for future challenges.

The conference, to be held at the American Center for Physics in College Park, MD, was inspired in part by a 2005 Graduate Education in Physics report assembled by the American Physical Society (APS) and the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT). The report found that Ph.D. physics programs have been relatively static for decades, and are missing some of the breadth necessary in an exploding technological environment. Educators are concerned that graduates might be out of sync with real world challenges at industry jobs, and that the dominance of the American education system is being challenged by foreign institutions. Conference organizers say the state of graduate education could lead to "serious consequences for the U.S. technical workforce and economic competitiveness."

The conference will feature speakers, panel discussions and breakout sessions. Talks include "What's wrong (or right) with the status quo in graduate education?" and sessions on interdisciplinary courses, professional and communication skills, and ethics awareness. Prominent conference speakers include Cherry Murray from Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Judy Franz from the American Physical Society, and Renee Diehl from Penn State University and the APS/AAPT Task Force on Graduate Education.
-end-
Graduate Education in Physics: Which Way Forward?
website: www.aps.org/programs/education/conference.cfm
January 31 - February 2
American Center for Physics
One Physics Ellipse
College Park, MD 20740

American Physical Society

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