Session L4: Why We Should Double the Number of Undergraduate Degrees in Physics

1:30 PM–3:18 PM, Sunday, April 13, 2008
Hyatt Regency St. Louis Riverfront (formerly Adam's Mark Hotel), Room: Promenade B

Sponsoring Unit: FEd
Chair: Cathy Mader, Hope College/APS

Abstract ID: BAPS.2008.APR.L4.1

Abstract: L4.00001 : Statistics and Rationale for the Doubling Initiative

1:30 PM–2:06 PM

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  Theodore Hodapp
    (American Physical Society)

The early 1960's saw a huge increase in the number of physics majors, reaching an all time peak of just over 6000 per year. While the number plummeted in the next four decades, it has finally seen a resurgence to just above 5000. The American Physical Society along with the American Association of Physics Teachers recently endorsed a call to double the number of undergraduate physics majors over the next decade. The main focus of this effort is to increase both the number of high school physics teachers and the fraction of women and under-represented minorities studying physics. In addition, a physics degree prepares an undergraduate with excellent skills that will serve her or him for a variety of occupations both in the sciences and in other fields. This talk will explore some of the data on physics majors and the rationale for taking the bold step of suggesting we double the number. Sputnik helped catalyze the nation 50 years ago -- What is the Sputnik of today? Bring your thoughts and questions... we hope for a lively discussion.

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