THE AMERICAN UNIVERSITY IN CAIRO
Making History Again
Physics Department, School of Sciences and Engineering
You are cordially invited to participate in the following Public Seminar organized by the department of Physics
Prof. Paul Hewitt
TEACHING PHYSICS TO
AND TO THE PUBLIC
Sunday, May 24, 2009
Tahrir Campus, the American University in Cairo
Smoking is not Allowed, BUT Refreshments are Served
Paul G. Hewitt
Paul G. Hewitt revolutionized the way physics is taught. He started college at the age of 28, after a colorful career as a boxer, sign painter and cartoonist, and once in college he fell in love with physics and decided to do something about the way that it is taught. He printed his first text book “Conceptual Physics” in 1971, today in its tenth edition. In 1987 he wrote a high-school version, and his textbooks, both at the university and high school levels are translated in most languages and are taught all over the world.
Before the introduction of Conceptual Physics, physics was traditionally taught as applied mathematics and was geared to science students with high math and engineering aptitudes. As such, any serious study of physics was out of the educational mainstream for most students, and it was a subject avoided by most.
Hewitt’s conceptual approach changed all of this. By translating central concepts of physics from mathematical language to common English, and by the use of extensive analogies as a teaching tool, Hewitt brought physics into the educational mainstream. His textbook, the leading physics textbook for non-scientists since 1971, has changed the way physics is taught to both non-science as well as science majors.
Hewitt’s teaching career began in 1964 at City College of San Francisco, his home town. From 1980 he taught an evening course for the general public at the Exploratorium in San Francisco for several years. He has taught at the University of California at the Berkeley and Santa Cruz campuses, and more recently at the University of Hawaii. All throughout his career he has held many workshops for teachers all over the United States and Canada.
He has also co-authored “Conceptual Physical Science” and “Conceptual Physical Science-Explorations”, aimed at 9th graders in high school. He is continually updating his textbooks and his auxiliary manuals and teaching aids.
The American Association of Physics Teachers honored Hewitt in 1982 with their Millikan Award, the once per-year, prestigious prize for outstanding contributions to physics teaching.