Bragg Medal awarded to Professor Phil Scott

Professor Phil Scott (School of Education) has been named this year's winner of the Bragg Medal for significant contributions to Physics Education.

The citation makes reference to Professor Scott's: "influential research in physics education which has had a significant impact on teachers and the teaching of physics in secondary schools."

This prestigious award was instituted by the Council of the Institute of Physics and the Physical Society in 1965, with the first award being made in 1967. The medal is named after Sir Lawrence Bragg, who had an international reputation for the popularisation and teaching of physics.  It is intended to make this award for leading and innovative contributions to the teaching of physics to encourage those people active in developing new methods and approaches. As well as the bronze medal, winners also receive £1,000 and a certificate.

"I'm delighted to receive the award," said Professor Scott. "Funnily enough the first physics laboratory teaching room that I taught in at Calder High School, Mytholmroyd, was named the 'Bragg Lab'.  Little did I know that this name would take on a different significance some 30 years later!"

Professor Scott is a leading physics education researcher and teacher educator.  His research has examined the teaching and learning of physics concepts in high schools. He was a leading member of the highly influential Children's Learning in Science (CLIS) project based at the University. His work with CLIS involved close collaboration with physics teachers in examining student misconceptions, developing teaching sequences to address these misconceptions, and evaluating the impact of these sequences on student learning.

His research has also examined the use of language in the physics classroom. One co-authored outcome of this work has been the highly influential book Meaning Making in Secondary Science Classrooms.  In addition, he was recently elected to serve on the Executive Board of the North American National Association for Research in Science Teaching.

A Professor of Science Education, Phil has never forgotten his roots in school teaching. The first 13 years of his physics education career were spent in comprehensive schools around West Yorkshire, ultimately as a Head of Science. His research has always involved teachers and students in the conduct of studies and the discussion of findings. He has taken a leading role in a succession of highly influential physics teacher development initiatives. Examples include the CLIS professional development courses, participation in the award-winning Private Universe Project television programmes in collaboration with the Science Media Group at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, and the development of the Supporting Physics Teaching (SPT) resources with the Institute of Physics.   Alongside these high-profile activities, Phil has always been happy to visit groups of teachers around the country to share his expertise and discuss physics education.

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