UM Honorary Doctor Carl Edwin Wieman gives talk on science education

he talk attracts a full-house audience

Carl Edwin Wieman, the new honorary doctor of the University of Macau (UM) and a Nobel laureate in physics, today (25 April) gave a Doctor honoris causa Lecture, titled ‘Taking a Scientific Approach to Science Education’, in the auditorium of UM Wu Yee Sun Library.

In his welcome speech, UM Rector Wei Zhao said that Prof Wieman is a visionary scientist that has initiated many ground-breaking research projects, adding that he started a number of programmes over the past few decades to improve the effectiveness of science education. Zhao mentioned that Prof Wieman served as the associate director for science of the White House’s Office of Science and Technology Policy and is the Chair of the Board on Science Education in the National Academy of Sciences and the founder and chairman of PhET scientific simulation programme, which provides an extensive simulation package in order to improve the way that physics, chemistry, math, biology and earth science are taught and learned. Zhao also said that Prof Wieman’s talk at UM is very significant because it is essential for UM students to learn how to study with a scientific attitude and create a better future for Macao with scientific methods.

During the talk, Prof Wiemen said that it is imperative to provide better science education for all students and the goal of science education is to help students ‘think like a scientist, rather than making them become scientists’. He noted that students need to be able to develop a ‘mental organisational framework’, in which scientific concepts and selection criteria govern, adding that the framework can help students understand what problems are needed to solve and what is irrelevant. Prof Wiemen also said that the meaning of science education is to help students learn to make better decisions and choices.

The talk attracted many overseas experts and scholars, researchers, UM faculty members and students, as well as teachers and students from local secondary schools.

In addition, Prof Wieman will participate in an international academic symposium, titled ‘STEM Education Mini-Symposium: Building a New Culture for STEM Education in Asia’, to be held tomorrow (26 April) in Room G062, Anthony Lau Building (E4), UM. During the event, experts and scholars from the United States, Singapore, mainland China, Hong Kong, and Macao will have an in-depth discussion on STEM Education.

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