Physics teachers give Scherrer its science communications award

Although Robert Scherrer, chair of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Vanderbilt University, is a highly regarded cosmologist and an award-winning teacher, the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) has selected him as the 2010 recipient of its Klopsteg Memorial Award based on his work as a published science fiction writer.

The award was established in 1990 to recognize extraordinary accomplishments in communicating the excitement of physics to the general public. It cites Scherrer’s science fiction short stories, mostly published in Analog Magazine , and singles out a lecture, titled “Science and Science Fiction,” he has developed that focuses on the way in which new ideas are introduced in physics and compares this to the way they are developed in the process of writing a science fiction story. In the lecture he also discusses the predictive nature of science fiction (vs. science) and the way that information is presented in a short story as opposed to a scientific paper.

AAPT is the leading organization for physics teachers and physics education and provides services that help enhance teaching skills and publishes scholarly journals documenting best teaching practices.

A podcast of Scherrer’s lecture “Science and Science Fiction” is available at .

A story about Scherrer’s science fiction, including one of his short stories, is available at .

Contact: David F. Salisbury, (615) 322-NEWS

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