Physics education research (PER) is an inherently interdisciplinary endeavor that studies how people learn the content and culture of physics. Investigations in PER are diverse and include looking at student learning in the classroom all the way up to the policies that govern the physics community and affect physicist’s careers.
Students of PER move on to many interesting careers, including academia, high school teaching, consulting, university administration, entrepreneurship and more. A research program in PER can be undertaken both at the undergraduate and graduate level at the University of Utah and students are always encouraged to apply.
Physics Education Research Faculty
Ramón Barthelemy is a former Fulbright, U.S. Department of Education AAAS Science Policy Fellow and private sector consultant dedicated to equity and inclusion in physics and astronomy. Dr. Barthelemy’s work has included studying the experiences of women in graduate physics and astronomy, LGBT persistence in the field of physics, and the motivations of students to pursue physics in Finland. Currently he is conducting research here at the University of Utah continuing these efforts with over $1M in funding from the National Science Foundation. He was also the recent recipient of the American Association of Physics Teachers Early Career award and the Fulbright Finland Alumni award.
Physics Education Research (PER)
STEM equity and inclusion
Women in physics and astronomy
LGBTQ+ persistence in physics
Prof. Gerton’s work focuses on sensemaking in various learning environments including introductory physics classrooms and labs and intermediate quantum mechanics courses. He has supervised PhD students and undergraduates in PER in collaboration with Prof. Lauren Barth-Cohen in the Department of Educational Psychology and Prof. Claudia De Grandi in Physics and Astronomy. He also helps lead various faculty and student support programs such as a faculty fellows program for inclusive teaching and mentoring, and the department’s summer undergraduate research programs.
Research Experiences for Undergrads
The Department of Physics & Astronomy at the University of Utah offers a research experience program in physics and astronomy that allows undergraduate students to work closely with a faculty mentor and their research group on an individual project.
All interested students are invited to apply for this 10-week summer program.