Thursday, November 05, 2009

Statement on Research Experiences for Undergraduates

The American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) Executive Board has released a statement on research experiences for undergraduate physics majors.

The American Association of Physics Teachers urges that every physics and astronomy department provide its majors and potential physics majors with the opportunities and encouragement to engage in a meaningful and appropriate undergraduate research experience.


From my perspective, the "meaningful and appropriate" part of undergraduate research experience isn't just about doing "new" work or publishing some amazing discovery. That's just a bonus. What is more important is that the student learns the technique and procedure, and even more important, learns to think things through and be systematic in doing something. Those are skills that can only be acquired, not taught, and they transcend beyond just doing physics research. To me, those are the more important aspect out of doing research work that the student can acquire.


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