EUROPEAN PHYSICAL SOCIETY

Secretary General

 

Received: 28 Sept. 2001

 

ACADEMIA EUROPAEA

31 Old Burlington Street

LONDON WX1 1LB

 

Dear Sirs,

 

R.E.:  World Congress Resolutions

 

The 3rd edition of the World Congress Physical Societies was Held in Berlin (Dec. 2000) and was attached by over 70 invited participants representing the Physical societies in our 40 countries.

 

The World Congress discussed both what each had in common and individual and regional differences.

 

The Congress passed unanimous resolutions relating to

 

Raising the Profile of Physics in Schools

The Strengthening of National Physical Societies

The Public Understanding of Physics

 

These documents attached highlight the importance of the Physics around the world and its impact on current and future development.

 

We would appreciate if you would discuss and disseminate their contents to your members.

 

Best regards

 

David Lee

Secretary General

 

 

EPS, BP 2136, F-68060 Mulhouse Cedex, France

tel +33 3 89 32 94 40   fax +33 3 89 32 94 49   email d.lee@univ-mulhouse.fr

Association Inscrite

 

 

 

 


EUROPEAN PHYSICAL SOCIETY

 

THIRD WORLD CONGRESS OF PHYSICAL SOCIETIES

RESOLUTION: Raising the Profile of Physics in Schools

 

The Presidents and representatives of more than 45 Physical Societies from all over the world unanimously declare the following.

 

1.       Whereas Physics is an important part of everyone's education, especially for the growth and appreciation of technology, everybody should have the opportunity to learn physics and physics related disciplines, As we enter the "New Knowledge Age", it will be ever more critical that everybody is given the quantitative reasoning and problem solving skills that the study of physics can provide.

 

2.       Whereas the enrollments in physics and physical science courses have been declining in many countries during the last decade and especially the enrollment of female students offering physics has reached appalling levels, physical societies should work together to find ways of attracting more young people, of both sexes, to careers in physics and where physics is relevant.  Governments should be willing to support such activities by improving the image of the profession of physics by offering better salaries to physics-trained personnel and providing them with better facilities.

 

3.       Whereas good teaching is an essential ingredient for students to learn physics, prospective physics teachers should receive the university education that will prepare them for success in the classroom.  It is imperative that continuing education opportunities should be provided to teachers throughout their careers.  Teachers should expect to receive salaries and facilities that are commensurate with their education and expertise.

 

4.       Whereas university physics faculty have the expertise to provide the needed physics education for physics teachers, physics faculty working with those with expertise in education should devote significant time and energy to the training of new physics teachers, and to the continuing education of initial and in-service physics teachers, This education should include the basic concepts of physics as well as exposure to current research results (advances in physics) and new teaching methods.

 

5.       Whereas having a scientifically educated population will be the key to the prosperity of all countries, governments should provide the resources required to make an excellent job of educating new physics teachers and continuing the education of teachers already in the classroom.

 

6.       Whereas learning physics requires both textbooks and the opportunity for hands-on, laboratory based experiences, governments need to provide sufficient funding to allow teachers to purchase needed books and equipment.  Strong physical societies should help making it possible, especially for the third world countries, to obtain facilities for fabricating equipment, to obtain textbooks at low cost, and to organize teacher training programs.

 

7.       Whereas the physics communities around the world are committed to improving the physics education for all students, including women, governments should consult with their local physics community in planning any changes and reforms.

 

8.       Whereas considerable research on how people learn physics has been carried out, new curricula for both new students and prospective teachers should be based on the results of this research.

 

9.   Whereas discrepancies among countries exist regarding resources, experience and culture, to the extent possible, countries which are more experienced and successful in physics education should share their experience, expertise and support material with the other disadvantaged countries with the objective of improving the opportunities for all students to learn physics.

 

10.        Whereas the International Union for Pure and Applied Physics, IUPAP, represents the international community of physicists, it, and strong physical societies, should support regional physics meetings in developing countries.

 

 

THIRD WORLD CONGRESS OF PHYSICAL SOCIETIES

RESOLUTION: The Strengthening of National Physical Societies

 

The Presidents and representatives of more than 45 Physical Societies from all over the world unanimously declare the following.

 

Collaboration is one of the simplest and most effective ways of strengthening physical societies.  It is important to recognize that the individual physical societies can be very different, depending, upon their size, resources and membership.  Common problems include raising the profile of physics - public understanding of science, encouraging more young people to study physics, raising the profile of physics in schools, encouraging more teachers of physics, lobbying governments etc.

 

To this end:

 

1.       Societies should make materials and experience, in common areas available to other physical societies to use or modify to suit local conditions as they wish.

 

2.       Physical societies should feel free to use or adapt such material or information.

 

3.       Support should be given to transnational societies in bringing together resources and effort that cannot otherwise be brought together in initiatives such as the preparation of position papers and as a forum for greater collaboration between individual societies.

 

4.       Support should be given to physical societies in poorer countries, and east-west and northsouth initiatives should be encouraged.

 

5.      Membership of other physical societies in addition to one's own national physical society or community should be enabled and encouraged.  This should be particularly encouraged amongst those involved in running the physical societies, to help keep societies aware of what other societies are doing and to learn from them.

 

 

THIRD WORLD CONGRESS OF PHYSICAL SOCIETIES

 

RESOLUTION: The Public Understanding of Physics

 

 

1.            Physics is fundamental to our understanding of the world: it provides answers to such fundamental questions as the structure of matter, the properties of materials, the birth and fate of our universe and the origin of life on our planet.  It contributes to our understanding of the environment and of the place human beings occupy in nature. So, physics is an irreplaceable corner-stone of our culture, and must play a leading role in education.

 

II.            Physics has been, is, and will be, a major driving force of global technical and economic development - either directly or as an indispensable basis for other sciences, such as medicine, biology, chemistry, the geosciences and for most technological developments.  In the 21st century some of the most important areas in research will be in climate change, new energy sources and energy storage, new materials, information technology, transport, health and environment.  Scientific success and technical implementation in all these fields will be correlated to a sound knowledge base in physics.

 

III.        The time scale, which starts with physics education in school, leads to good research and eventually ends with an inventive product entering the market and possibly changing the economy and culture on a global scale - as the transistor did in information technology - sometimes extending over several decades.

 

This being said, the Presidents and representatives of more than 45 Physical Societies from all over the world, unanimously declare the following:

 

Global economic and cultural welfare has to be guaranteed by a high standard of general education as well as by an adequate supply of well-qualified scientists, in particular physicists and engineers.  To reach this goal, it is necessary to:

 

-     improve the public awareness of physics, of its economic necessity, its cultural contributions and its educational importance.

-     improve the curricula of schools, to give science, including physics, the right place and weight, not only for future students of science, but also for those who enter other fields of knowledge and expertise, as most of the worldwide political decision makers actually do.

-     increase the number of physics students and have them work in research, industry and schools as well.  The impending shortage of professional physicists is an acute danger for world-wide economic development.

-     improve the attractiveness of a post as a physicist in schools, universities, research institutes and administration.

-     increase the international exchange of physicists at all levels.  Care must be taken in preparing such programs to avoid further damage by the brain drain from the economical poor to the rich countries.

 

Whilst political and financial support is strongly needed to reach the aforementioned goals, the Undersigned are deeply convinced that investment today will most splendidly pay tomorrow.

 

The part to be played by Physical Societies, Physics Research Institutes, University Departments of Physics and also by individual physicists is demanding.  The Undersigned are willing to answer this demand and to:

 

-     Open labs to schools, classes and teachers

-     Open labs to industry

-     Open labs to the general public

 

-     Invite politicians to labs

-     Invite those forming public opinion -journalists, radio and TV

-     Invite young people and their parents

 

-     Go to schools, to support and encourage physics teachers

-     Go to teacher training colleges

-     Go to the market place, to convince the public that physics and physics research is exciting, intellectually challenging and extremely relevant to the needs of mankind.