19th Frontiers of Physics Conference

11 October 2019

IOP Ireland and Waterford Institute of Technology (WIT) recently held the 19th Annual Frontiers of Physics Conference, a key event in the physics calendar for physics teachers.

19th Frontiers of Physics Conference

Professor Gorazd Planinšič from the University of Ljubljana, Slovenia, attended as a keynote speaker to discuss the vital importance of preparing future generations to be active participants in the learning process. He also discussed his own views about the role of physics experiments in engaging all students in active learning and teaching them to think like physicists.

Gerry Hyde from the State Examinations Commission discussed the assessment principles used to produce examination instruments and looked at an integrated approach to written examination questions and marking schemes.

WIT physics lecturers presented their current work in a series of talks during the conference:

  • Dr Claire Keary provided the audience with an overview of the interaction of gamma radiation with matter and the technique of gamma ray spectroscopy with the emphasis on the high purity germanium spectrometer system at WIT.
  • Dr PJ Cregg addressed the deficit in the general understanding of tides which provided an opportunity for students of physics to appreciate how powerful conclusions can be drawn from simple analysis.
  • Dr Cormac O’Raifeartaigh discussed the ‘big bang’ model, one of the most famous theories of modern science, with some discussion on recent discoveries which have revolutionised our view of the universe.

Workshops at the event covered sustainable solutions, Geogebra for physics and maths teachers, physics demonstrations, inquiry-based learning techniques and student-teacher confidence building in the classroom.

Delegates had the opportunity to view the exhibition illustrating the work of scientific organisations and interacted with exhibitors about resources such as books, posters, electronics and much more.  

IOP Ireland would like to acknowledge the support of the Professional Development Service for Teachers for this year’s conference. We are particularly grateful to the IOP Ireland Coaches Paul Nugent and David Keenahan, and Gabriel Gallagher of the School of Physics at WIT for organising the event.

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