• About AAPT
  • Jeffrey Bennett to Receive the 2023 Klopsteg Memorial Lecture Award

Jeffrey Bennett to Receive the 2023 Klopsteg Memorial Lecture Award

2023 Klopsteg Memorial Lecture Award goes to Jeffrey Bennett

Jeffrey Bennett

College Park, Maryland, United States, March 1, 2023—The American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) announced today that Jeffrey Bennett, astronomer, teacher, and writer, is the 2023 recipient of the Klopsteg Memorial Lecture Award. The lecture and award will be presented during the AAPT Summer Meeting. This award recognizes educators who have made notable and creative contributions to the teaching of physics.

Regarding his selection to receive the 2023 Klopsteg Award Bennett said, "I’m very honored to receive this award, especially since it comes from the American Association of Physics Teachers, which represents a group of outstanding educators who share my passion for using physics — and science in general — to help us create a better and more just world for everyone.”

Bennett received his B.A. in Biophysics from the University of California at San Diego and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Astrophysics from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Specializing in mathematics and science education, he writes for and speaks to audiences ranging from elementary school children to university faculty.

For more than 30 years, Bennett has successfully advanced the cause of public understanding of physics. Key achievements include:

  • Serving as the first “Visiting Senior Scientist” at NASA Headquarters whose focus was specifically on education and outreach. In this role, he launched a transformative effort at NASA that vastly expanded public outreach by scientists engaged in astrophysics missions and research.
  • Creating the concept for a new and innovative type of scale model solar system exhibit, first at the University of Colorado and then with the Voyage scale model solar system (for which he served as co-PI), the first permanent installation on the U.S. National Mall in Washington, DC to be focused specifically on science education. The Voyage model depicts the Sun, the planets, and the distances between them on a scale of 1 to 10 billion, providing visitors an accurate sense of the vastness of our solar system, a unique perspective on the beauty and fragility of our home planet, and the inspirational message embodied in the fact that our species has managed to learn so much about other worlds. Dr. Bennett continues to work with the Voyage National Program (voyagesolarsystem.org) to spread Voyage “Mark II” models around the nation.
  • Leading creation of the free Totality app (bigkidscience.com/eclipse/), which helps people plan for upcoming solar eclipses and learn eclipse science. He is currently in the process of donating ownership of the app to the American Astronomical Society, through which it is likely to be used by millions of people for the upcoming 2023 annular and 2024 total solar eclipses.
  • Creating and freely posting a complete, middle school curriculum for Earth and Space Science (grade8science.com).
  • Creating and freely posting a “global warming primer” (globalwarmingprimer.com) and engaging with the public on a free speaking tour that has encompassed more than 40 venues and an estimated 10,000 people.
  • During 2014 and 2015, engaging with public in a free speaking tour on Einstein’s theory of relativity, at approximately 25 venues and reaching an estimated 10,000 people.
  • Presenting school assemblies on concepts of astronomy and astrobiology for K-12 children -- more than 200 schools (jeffreybennett.com/events/school-list/), reaching an estimated 100,000 students.
  • Writing seven critically acclaimed science books for children, all of which have been selected for launch to the International Space Station for the Story Time From Space program (storytimefromspace.com).
  • Writing six critically acclaimed books for the general public on topics including the search for extraterrestrial life, Einstein’s theory of relativity, global warming, leading mysteries of astrophysics, the role of mathematics in everyday life, and methods of science teaching.
  • Lead author of best-selling college textbooks for non-STEM majors in astronomy, astrobiology, mathematics, and statistics.

About the Award
Named for Paul E. Klopsteg, a principal founder, a former AAPT President, and a long-time member of AAPT, the Klopsteg Memorial Lecture Award recognizes outstanding communication of the excitement of contemporary physics to the general public. The recipient delivers the Klopsteg Lecture at an AAPT Summer Meeting on a topic of current significance and at a level suitable for a non-specialist audience and receives a monetary award, an Award Certificate, and travel expenses to the meeting.

Previous Awardees:
• 2021 Helen Czerski, University College London, London, England
• 2019 Jodi A. Cooley, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, TX
• 2018 Clifford Victor Johnson, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA
• 2017 John C. Brown, University of Glasgow Scotland
• 2016 Margaret Wertheim, Institute For Figuring, Los Angeles, CA
• 2015 David Weintraub, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
• 2014 Donald W. Olson, Texas State University, San Marcos, TX

Additional winners

About AAPT
AAPT is an international organization for physics educators, physicists, and industrial scientists—with members worldwide. Dedicated to enhancing the understanding and appreciation of physics through teaching, AAPT provides awards, publications, and programs that encourage teaching practical application of physics principles, support continuing professional development, and reward excellence in physics education. AAPT was founded in 1930 and is headquartered in the American Center for Physics in College Park, Maryland.