Professor Robert Brown honored with lifetime service to physics education award

As 2021 drew to a close, the Ohio Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers [OSAAPT] presented CWRU Distinguished University Professor and Institute Professor Robert Brown an award “for his lifetime service to physics education.”

OSAAPT president Diana Driscoll introduced CWRU Department of Physics co-chair Corbin Covault and engineering professor Kathy Harper who spoke about Bob’s achievements. Among the honored recognitions and accomplishments, they noted:

  • Sheila Tobias’ national writings about his early educational electronic environment
  • Cornell-hosted national workshop recognizing Bob’s early roles for undergraduates as teaching assistants
  • Physics education research into his remedy for a “post-exam syndrome”
  • A “best paper” in The Physics Teacher (co-authored by Corbin)
  • The roughly 15,000 copies/links to his physics GRE flashcards
  • A DOE national award for his chaos module
  • A 1000-page imaging textbook
  • His role in making new physics degree tracks, high-school programs and elementary-school material
  • And more!

In summary, through five decades of basic and applied research as well as 30 years of industrial collaboration and entrepreneurship, Bob has spent significant effort at teaching, and learning how to teach better. He has focused on all teaching levels – introductory, upperclass, and graduate (elementary and high school, too) – and on new methods and new instructional materials. There is an important synergism between Bob’s teaching and research.

Bob’s teaching awards include AAPT Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching Award, Cherry and Teaching Company Finalist, AAPT Inaugural Fellow; NE Ohio, Ohio Magazine; Wittke, Diekhoff, other UG awards. Following these, there are now new AAPT Doc Brown Futures Award for young teachers working with students and showing future leadership.