University of Pittsburgh
February 28, 2007

Nobel Laureate and Physicist Carl Wieman to Speak at Pitt March 14 On Improving Undergraduate Science Education

2001 Nobel prizewinner to discuss failures of traditional educational model and review modern, more effective methods as part of Teaching Excellence lecture series
Contact:  412-624-4147

PITTSBURGH-Since modern science blossomed in the 1500s, it has evolved into society's key source of knowledge, technology, and medicine, and explores a vast terrain ranging from the outer reaches of the universe to tiny quarks. Yet the quality of science education has largely failed to keep pace, according to Nobel Laureate Carl Wieman, director of the Science Education Initiative at the University of British Columbia.

A champion of modernizing undergraduate science classes, Wieman will speak at the University of Pittsburgh March 14 from 3 to 5 p.m. in Room 343 of Pitt's Alumni Hall, 4227 Fifth Ave. He will talk about the shortcomings of current science education and how to revamp curricula through such methods as interactive software and hiring education specialists to work within science departments. His appearance is part of the annual Teaching Excellence lecture series, which features experts on the best techniques for teaching at the undergraduate level, and is sponsored by Pitt's School of Arts and Sciences.

While at the University of Colorado in Boulder, Wieman won the 2001 Nobel Prize in Physics with two other researchers for producing a super cold state of matter known as the Bose-Einstein condensate. With a temperature close to absolute zero-or negative 273-degrees Celsius-the condensate is useful to physicists because it slows atomic activity to an observable level.

The event is free and open to the public, but seating is limited. Regina Schulte-Ladbeck, associate dean of undergraduate studies in Arts and Sciences, and Chandralekha Singh, associate professor of physics and astronomy and 2002 winner of the Chancellor's Distinguished Teaching Award, will introduce Wieman.

For more information on the event, call the office of the associate dean of undergraduate studies at 412-624-6482 or visit