Skip Navigation

Group Members - Michael C. Wittmann

Michael Wittmann, PhD
Associate Professor of Physics
Cooperating Associate Professor of Education

222 Bennett Hall
Orono, ME 04469

Office Phone: (207) 581-1237
Email: mwittmann<at>

Michael received his B.S. in physics from Duke University in 1993. His graduate work in physics took place at the University of Maryland. He received his M.S. degree in 1996 and his Ph.D. in 1998, while specializing in physics education research. From 1998 to the end of 2000, he was a post doctoral researcher at the University of Maryland. He began as assistant professor at the University of Maine on 1/1/1 and was promoted to associate professor in physics in 2007.

The overall theme of Michael’s teaching and research is seeing things – what do you see, what does it tell you, how do you understand it? These questions inform both his teaching and his research.

Michael teaches classes for non-science majors (Intuitive Quantum Physics), sophomore-level mechanics students (using the Intermediate Mechanics Tutorials), graduate students learning about physics education research, as well as courses on educational psychology and research methods in education. He has also taught teacher preparation courses, introductory physics classes, and upper-division classes in quantum physics for engineering students.

Michael’s research interests are eclectic, yet build a coherent picture. Presently, he is working on issues related to

  • teachers’ interactions with students (e.g., formative assessment using both written tools and through interactions in the classroom);
  • students’ understanding of energy, damped harmonic motion, and integration;
  • researchers’ observations and models of their observations of student thinking (e.g., item design in surveys, methodological issues in video analysis), and
  • models of learning that include the human body (e.g., embodied cognition) and their connections to schema theories (e.g., a resources framework).

Much of this research takes place within the context of the Maine Physical Sciences Partnership (Maine PSP Community Site) and the Center for Research in STEM Education (RiSE Center).

Curriculum Vitae

Webpage at the Department of Physics and Astronomy

Recent Publications

John R. Thompson, Warren M. Christensen, Michael C. Wittmann, “Preparing future teachers to anticipate student difficulties in physics in a graduate-level course in physics, pedagogy, and education research.” Phys. Rev. ST Physics Ed. Research 7, 010108 (2011)

Jeffrey M. Hawkins, John R. Thompson, Michael C. Wittmann, Eleanor C. Sayre, Brian W. Frank, “Students’ Responses To Different Representations Of A Vector Addition Question.” AIP Conf. Proc. Volume 1289, pp. 165-168, 2010 Physics Education Research Conference (2010)

Michael C. Wittmann, “Using conceptual blending to describe emergent meaning in wave propagation.” In Proceedings of the 9th International Conference of the Learning Sciences – Volume 1 (ICLS ’10), Kimberly Gomez, Leilah Lyons, and Joshua Radinsky (Eds.), Vol. 1. International Society of the Learning Sciences 659-666 (2010)

List of all publications


Back to Group Members

The Physics Education Research Laboratory
Phone: (207) 581-1237 and (207) 581-1030
E-mail: and
The University of Maine
Orono, Maine 04469