John Belcher, “Committed to Caring” honoree, receives Oersted Medal for physics teaching


August 11, 2015

OerstedAward

John W. Belcher, the Class of 1922 Professor of Physics and a member of the MIT Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, has been awarded the 2015 Hans Christian Oersted Medal of the American Association of Physics Teachers. The award was given in recognition of Belcher’s “tireless work with TEAL (Technology Enabled Active Learning) and Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs).”

Belcher’s research interests are within the areas of space plasma physics, in particular the interaction of the heliosphere with the local interstellar medium. He was the principal investigator on the Voyager Plasma Science Experiment during the Voyager Neptune encounter — the end of the Planetary Grand Tour, which sent Voyager probes to planets in the outer solar system. Belcher is now a co-investigator on the Plasma Science Experiment on the Voyager Interstellar Mission. The Voyager spacecraft are still returning data, 37 years after launch, with a predicted demise in 2031.

The Oersted Medal recognizes those who have had an outstanding, broad, and lasting impact on the teaching of physics. It is awarded annually by the American Association of Physics Teachers, a nonprofit organization founded in 1930 to “enhance the understanding and appreciation of physics through teaching.” Belcher is also one of the first two faculty members honored by MIT’s Committed to Caring! initiative, which began in 2014. Read the full article at MIT NEWS

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