Gordon Research Conferences
Meeting Details

Physics Research and Education
Gordon Research Conference


June 10-15, 2018


Bryant University
Smithfield, RI Site Information


Nancy Ruzycki & Dawn C. Meredith

Vice Chairs:
Shane L. Larson & Sean P. Robinson

Application Deadline

Applications for this meeting must be submitted by May 13, 2018. Please apply early, as some meetings become oversubscribed (full) before this deadline. If the meeting is oversubscribed, it will be stated here. Note: Applications for oversubscribed meetings will only be considered by the Conference Chair if more seats become available due to cancellations.

Meeting Description

The teaching of energy is generally considered by physicists to be an important core concept to understand the material world. Educators at all levels teach basic concepts of energy to students; however, many of the core energy ideas taught to students are not consistent within the physics community, or between physics and other disciplines like life science and chemistry. Energy is sometimes regarded solely as an accounting principle, a calculated quantity representing an abstract idea, not a physical construct. Unlike matter, it is difficult for students to construct a physical representation of energy, and they often struggle to understand energy as a conserved quantity. As Richard Feynman noted in a speech to teachers; “Energy is a very subtle concept. It is very, very difficult to get right.”

This Gordon Research Conference seeks to bring together physics research scientists and physics education researchers for discussions, talks and posters on how energy is taught within the undergraduate curriculum, and how cutting edge research is allowing educators to consider new methods and models for teaching energy concepts. This conference is especially looking for energy related applications that can be used as conceptual frameworks for students. College and university faculty, research associates (postdocs), governmental researchers, textbook authors, curriculum and educational software developers, industrial partners, and graduate and undergraduate students will participate in this conference.

We are seeking posters about energy from the introductory to advanced levels that describe advances in fundamental understanding of energy and highlight how these fields both excite students and promote a deep understanding of these concepts. Posters describing new laboratory experiments related to energy beyond introductory level courses are particularly welcome. In addition, we seek posters that: 1) focus on teaching of energy to undergraduate students, and how energy is used in integrated classes, 2) research how students at any level come to understand these topic, 3) critically analyze and reflect on what are the most important ideas to teach to students—both those who will become specialists in an energy related field and those who will not—and report and evaluate the use of contemporary technology in teaching and learning of energy concepts. Deadlines for the poster abstracts will be posted to the site in mid 2018, however we welcome early submissions.

There is the possibility of financial support for attendees and poster presenters from HBSCs, PUIs, Community Colleges, and Tribal Colleges. We also invite applicants who qualify to apply for The Carl Storm Underrepresented Minority (CSURM) Fellowship.

Related Meeting

This GRC will be held in conjunction with the "Physics Research and Education" Gordon Research Seminar (GRS). Those interested in attending both meetings must submit an application for the GRS in addition to an application for the GRC. Refer to the associated GRS program page for more information.


Gordon Research Conferences
National Science Foundation

Meeting Program

The Conference Chair is currently developing a list of session titles. This information will be available by September 1, 2017. Please check back for updates.
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