Prize Recipient

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Open Source Physics Team


"For sustained commitment to computational physics education through creating and disseminating programming environments, books, software, simulations, and other tools to support computational thinking, and for research establishing the value of these tools and best practices for their use."


Open Source Physics (OSP) Team: Wolfgang Christian (Project PI), Lyle Barbato, Mario Belloni, Douglas Brown, Thomas Colbert, Anne J. Cox, Melissa Dancy, Francisco Esquembre, Kyle Forinash, Michael R. Gallis, Felix J. Garcia, Harvey Gould, William Junkin, Bruce Mason, Todd Timberlake, Aaron Titus, Jan Tobochnik, & Loo Kang Wee

The Open Source Physics (OSP) Project is a group of physics educators working to provide high-quality computer-based curricular resources to engage students in physics, computation, and computer modeling. The OSP Project began in 2002 when Wolfgang Christian and Mario Belloni (Davidson) received an NSF grant to develop interactive Java applet-based curricular material known as Physlets. They were joined by Anne Cox (Eckerd), Aaron Titus (High Point), Melissa Dancy (Colorado), and Thomas Colbert (Augusta) for the Physlet Physics and Physlet Quantum Physics books.

A second NSF grant in 2006 supported the rewriting of Physlet code into an open source library for a Java edition of An Introduction to Computer Simulation Methods with Harvey Gould (Clark) and Jan Tobochnik (Kalamazoo). This computational physics effort led to the development of other educational tools including: Tracker Video Analysis and Modeling (Douglas Brown, Cabrillo) and, Easy Java Simulations (EJS) and its JavaScript version (Francisco Esquembre and Felix Garcia, Murcia, Spain). This development attracted additional curricular authors who authored simulations to accompany their books and classes: Todd Timberlake (Berry), Michael Gallis (Pennsylvania State), and Kyle Forinash (Indiana University).

The dissemination of our materials began with books, CDs and a Davidson web server. William Junkin (Eckerd) followed by creating the Beyond Question Learning database. Later the AAPT-ComPADRE team, led by Bruce Mason (Oklahoma) and Lyle Barbato (AAPT), created a digital library for the OSP Collection that now contains over 2000 items, over 1,000 Physlet pages, and serves over 200,000 users worldwide. A second OSP-based digital library was created by Loo Kang Wee (Ministry of Education, Singapore).

Physlets, the AAPT-ComPADRE Collection, and the Singapore site have received numerous awards for developing computer-based interactive pedagogy including the AAAS Science Prize for Online Resources in Education (SPORE) in 2011 and the UNESCO King Hamad Bin Isa Al-Khalifa Prize for the Use of Information and Communication Technology in Education in 2016.

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