What is Physics Education Research (PER)? Why?

Presenter Full Name
Kevin Nguyen
Sonoma State University
Year & Semester
Presentation Date
November 7, 2022

Physics Education Research or PER (pronounced P-E-R) was one of the first education research specialties. Physicists have long led the way for high-quality STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education. Where did this history come from? And more importantly, why should we care? Spoiler alert, but the one of the quick answers was (and still is) war. With growing global challenges (World War II and the Cold War), the United States faced a rising storm of problems. There were not enough trained scientists and engineers to take on other nations. However, is the motivation for war, national security, and competitiveness enough to spur PER? What might be a new motivation for STEM education research? I end this talk with considerations of equity, social justice, and community as new models for why we should care about PER.