American Physical Society
Smiling professor

Information for Educators

Overview

Physics teachers and professors are likely to be the only physicists your students know! So when they have questions about physics and what physicists do, they may come to you for advice. In this section you will find suggestions for ways in which you can cultivate your students' curiosity for learning more about how and why physicists study the world around them.

Tools and Resources

Why Study Physics Poster

APS and AAPT worked together to create a "Top Ten Reasons Why You Should Take Physics" poster. These posters (along with other educational posters) are available through the APS website at http://www.aps.org/programs/education/posters.cfm.

Why Study Physics poster10. This is actually a joke; there is no way to get out of a black hole! But the APS outreach website PhysicsCentral has an article about this fascinating subject.

9. Many people who have studied physics report it helps them develop critical thinking and problem-solving skills.

8. Why the sky is blue
Why the world goes round (you might have heard it was love, but Newton knew the real answer)
The physics of climate change.

7. This report shows that physics majors get among the highest MCAT scores, and the highest LSAT scores of all undergraduate majors.

6. For some of those recession-proof jobs, see our physicist profiles or the University of Texas website.

5. Mathematics provide the tools physicists use to understand the world we live in. Nobel Prize winner Eugene Wigner explored this theme in a famous essay called The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics in the Natural Sciences.

4. Almost a third of all physics bachelor's recipients who go into the private sector take engineering jobs. See more interesting physics employment facts.

3. Keivan Stassun explores the mysteries of the universe.
Marta Dark-McNeese uses lasers to develop new medical techniques.
Kate McAlpine became an international rap sensation with the Large Hadron Rap.
Kenneth Jensen solves the world's energy problems for Makani Power.

2. Without physics there would be no:

1. Physics makes you more attractive to university recruiters, future employers, and that cutie you have your eye on. (You'll just have to trust us on that last one).

Gabriela Gonzalez

Gabriela Gonzalez - Professor

Born in Argentina,  Gabriela first wanted to be a Math teacher, like her mother ("I still love teaching!" she says). However when she took her first physics classes in her junior and senior years of high school, she realized that Physics was for her: "I was amazed at how we could "explain" the world with Physics, and we could predict what objects would do. When I found out this also applied to stars and the Universe, and that there were unknown phenomena waiting to be discovered, I decided I couldn't do anything else!"

In her work at LIGO, Gabriela is doing just that:creating detectors which will allow us to observe phenomena which cannot be directly observed--such as neutron stars coalescing into one black hole. These violent events create signatures in the form of gravitational waves. Observing these will tell us more about the life and death of these mysterious objects.

Obviously, Gabriela's Physics training is essential to her work at LIGO. However, the concepts aren't the only useful things she has learned.

"The best lesson from [my training] was learning to ask questions--always ask 'Why?!'"  

Gabriela also said that learning how to get help from experts, staying abreast of the newest developments in your area, and learning how to collaborate with colleagues are also very important skills.

"I think these skills are very useful for any career in academia, industry or even life, they were certainly very useful for my progress, " she says.