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Oct. 26, 2022

APS honors Caballero, team for supersizing physics teaching with computing

Danny Caballero

Physics education researcher Danny Caballero is being honored by the American Physical Society for building the village needed to provide physics students with crucial computing skills.

Caballero is part of the Partnership for Integrating Computation into Undergraduate Physics Team receiving the APS Excellence in Education Award. Caballero, an associate professor, has with the team rallied hundreds of physics educators focused on helping students develop valuable computational skills, and given those educators the support and resources to make meaningful changes in curriculum.

"It is great that Professor Caballero and the whole PICUP team have been recognized with the APS Excellence in Physics Education Award,” said Stephen Zepf, MSU Department of Physics and Astronomy chair. “They have worked for many years to develop and share resources for educators to use computation to enhance physics teaching, and the award is highly deserved."

Computational sciences have seen rapid development in recent years, creating new horizons of discovery and employment. But changing undergraduate curriculums throughout academia is in a slower lane. The PICUP team “has established a site and a process for the peer-review and dissemination of high-quality instructional materials to achieve the goal of lowering the barriers to integrating computation into physics curricula,” wrote Ernest Behringer, Eastern Michigan physicist and interim department head in his nomination letter.

Caballero said even the most passionate physics teachers can be overwhelmed by time and organizational challenges of changing established curriculums. Founded 15 years ago, PICUP has built a community with space populated by more than 90 workshops, meetings and webinars since 2016.

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