Wittmann named American Physical Society Fellow

Michael Wittmann, chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy, professor of physics, and cooperating professor of education, has been elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society.

Fellowship in the American Physical Society is limited to no more than one half of 1 percent of the membership and is a recognition by peers of outstanding contributions to physics.

Wittmann was cited for foundational research into student learning of physics, pioneering work in K–12 teacher development, and leadership in building community for physics education researchers.

Wittmann is a founding member of the Maine Center for Research in STEM Education (RiSE Center). His work has looked at student understanding of wave physics and quantum mechanics, and student use of advanced mathematics in physics. He is editor of the Physics Education Research section of the “American Journal of Physics,” and organizer of the international biennial conference on the Foundations and Frontiers of Physics Education Research.

Since 2010, he has been a leader in the Maine Physical Sciences Partnership, a coalition of the University of Maine, Maine State Department of Education, multiple nonprofits and nearly 30 school districts. In this capacity, he has helped create an education community centered around improving the teaching and learning of science in grades 6 to 9, focusing on understanding student ideas about science in greater detail.