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May 2, 2011
by Candace Carlucci
Each year, the American Association of Physics Teachers honors one science educator from a national field. This year, they honored CSU's own Brian Jones who started Little Shop of Physics - one of the university's most popular outreach programs - in 1991.
Jones is the recipient of the Robert A. Millikan Medal, which recognizes educators who have made notable and creative contributions to the teaching of physics. Jones will receive the award during the 2011 American Association of Physics Teachers – known as AAPT - summer meeting in Omaha July 30-Aug. 3.
In 1991, Jones founded the Little Shop of Physics - the university's traveling hands-on science outreach program - with the goal of demonstrating that science is exciting, interesting and accessible to all. The Little Shop crew is composed mostly of undergraduate students who find creative ways to share the wonders of science and present unique hands-on experiments to a diverse range of students. The program serves as a resource tool for K-12 teachers in Colorado and in the region with regular trips to the Four Corners region and the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation during college holidays.
In addition to school programs, the Little Shop of Physics presents teacher workshops, hosts an annual open house and produces the television show, “Everyday Science,” in cooperation with the local Poudre School Direct. To date, Little Shop has reached more than 250,000 students through its in-class experiments and countless more students online.
“Brian Jones is a leader in the world of physics educators. He has touched students, teachers and education leaders locally, regionally and around the world with equal grace and enthusiasm,” said Christine Nichols, a teacher in Douglas County School District, in her nomination letter for Jones. “He has contributed to the visibility, credibility and overall understanding of physics in ways most of us teachers have never been able to accomplish.”
A member of AAPT for more than 20 years, Jones’ involvement in the organization has been extensive and varied. He has been a member of the Committee on Laboratories and an ongoing member of the Committee on Science Education for the Public. In 2006, Jones was one of 75 physics educators to be profiled in the AAPT’s 75th anniversary booklet, “Celebrating 75 Years of Excellence in Enhancing the Understanding and Appreciation of Physics through Teaching."
In 2000, Jones was recognized for his work with Little Shop of Physics in a People magazine profile “Scientific Roll Model.” His many awards and honors include the CSU Alumni Association’s Best Teacher Award, College of Natural Sciences’ Faculty Undergraduate Teaching Award, CSU’s N. Preston Davis Award for Instructional Innovation, Students as Leaders in Science’s Outstanding Science Mentor in Physics Award, and Colorado Association of Science Teacher’s Excellence in College Science Instruction Award.
AAPT is an international organization for physics educators, physicists and industrial scientists with more than 10,000 members worldwide. Dedicated to enhancing the understanding and appreciation of physics through teaching, AAPT provides awards, publications and programs that encourage teaching practical application of physics principles, support continuing professional development and reward excellence in physics education.
Contact: Emily Wilmsen
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