Citation for the Presentation of the ICPE Medal to
Professor Priscilla Laws
Dickinson College, USA
Priscilla Laws, Research Professor of Physics from Dickson College, Carlisle Pennsylvania, USA, is awarded the ICPE Medal in recognition of her significant contributions to the teaching and learning of physics. Her distinguished career has included many research and development activities which have had international impact and have served as a role model for many women physicists and physics educators.
Dr Laws completed her baccalaureate at Reed College and her doctorate at Bryn Mawr College. In 1965 she joined the faculty of Dickinson College where she has spent her entire academic career. During the early part of her career she focused on the health effects of radiation. However, she is most known for work which began in the mid 1980s when she began the development of activity-based curricular materials and computer software to enhance student learning.
While one naturally thinks of technology enhanced physics education in connection with Dr. Laws work, technology has been a means rather than an end in itself. Foremost in her developments is an effort to engage the learners actively in the learning process and minimizing the role of the instructor as the transmitter of knowledge. Her 1991 article in Physics Today, "Calculus-Based Physics without Lectures," exemplifies this approach of putting the students' learning first.
Dr. Laws has been recognized for her efforts by receiving several prestigious awards, including the 1996 Robert A. Millikan Award from the American Association of Physics Teachers and the 1993 Charles A. Dana Award for Pioneering Achievement in Education. She was also voted as one of the 75 most influential physics researchers or educators in the past 75 years and is a Fellow of the American Physical Society.
Dr. Laws’ research and development has long influenced the teaching and learning of physics throughout the world. Today, she focuses on enhancing research-based, active learning of physics using local contexts and available equipment in all localities in the world. As one of the organizers of the education component of the World Conference on Physics and Sustainable Development, she helped bring together physics educators with quite different backgrounds and resources to begin an on going effort to assure that all students can have a high quality physics education and can do so in a familiar setting.
For her pioneering work in developing and disseminating student-centered physics education and for her continuing efforts to promote quality physics learning through the world, the International Commission on Physics Education is pleased to present Professor Priscilla Laws with its 2007 Medal. (Photo by Joe Niemela)
Prof. Pratiha Jolly
Chairman of ICPE
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