September 2020: Lin Ding
The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio
- Member since 2020
- Associate Professor
- Columbus, Ohio
I have always been awed by how Mother Nature is performing wonders around us. The sun, clouds, rain drops, lightening and many man-made gadgets like magnets, light bulbs, and gyroscopes all fascinate me. In my early twenties, I decided to pursue a graduate degree in physics to understand them all. It was then that I heard about physics education research (PER) and came to realize how exciting and fulfilling to study physical science and human science in tandem. I finally made up my mind to focus on PER and went to the Physics Department at North Carolina State University for my doctoral degree. There, I become a member of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) and attended my first AAPT meeting in the summer of 2004.
It was an unforgettable experience. I presented my first talk at the AAPT meeting. About half way into my presentation, my computer suddenly went hibernation. I frantically hit several key buttons but had no luck to wake it up. “Should I keep going without slides, or should I reboot the computer?” I asked myself. I hated standing in front of the big audience in silence, so I decided to continue without the slides. As I was doing so, a kind colleague came to the podium to work on the computer. A couple of minutes later, the computer was resuscitated, and I successfully finished my talk without going beyond the time limit.
Later, quite a few people approached me and called what I did was a grace under fire. I was pleasantly surprised to see how friendly and supportive this community was and felt really fortunate to be part of it. Since then, I have attended and contributed to every AAPT summer meeting.
My affiliation with AAPT broadens my connections with teachers and scholars everywhere, including many international colleagues. I have enjoyed the great opportunities that AAPT has provided me to work with people of different backgrounds, working styles and viewpoints. Through these experiences, I have become increasingly more embracing of diverse perspectives and also become more attuned to the current trends of research and practices in physics teaching.