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Karl MamolaKarl Mamola Named as 2015 Oersted Medal Recipient


College Park, MD, September 15, 2014—Karl C. Mamola has been named as the 2015 recipient of the prestigious Oersted Medal, presented by the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT). The Medal will be awarded at a Ceremonial Session of the 2015 AAPT Winter Meeting in San Diego, California, in recognition of his significant contributions to physics education through his roles as editor of The Physics Teacher and as mentor for students, prospective authors, column editors, reviewers, and others.

Mamola earned his B.S. in Physics in 1963 at the Stony Brook University, his M.S. in Physics in 1965 at Florida State University, and his Ph.D. in Physics in 1973 at Dartmouth College.

In 1963 Mamola began his career as Instructor of Physics at Appalachian State University.  His responsibilities grew as he was promoted, first to Assistant Professor, then to Associate Professor, Chair of the Department of Physics & Astronomy (1977) and Professor (1978).  He served as Department Chair for twenty-one years, and was the recipient of a number of teaching and service awards.

Throughout his career, Mamola has touched a multitude of lives, as a physics teacher, a prolific author, a presenter at national and local meetings, as editor of the “Apparatus for Teaching Physics” column in The Physics Teacher, and as editor of The Physics Teacher, AAPT’s signature publication.  He consistently produced an extraordinary publication with content accessible to and usable by physics teachers at all levels.

He has always served AAPT well at the section and national levels.  As an active member of the Executive Board, he was also supportive of the national officers and took an active role in working on new Association initiatives.  He gave freely of his time, using his leadership and writing skills in service to the physics teaching community.  Mamola’s involvement in AAPT in a wide range of capacities has made it a better organization and its members more effective educators.  His contributions to physics and physics teaching continue to have an outstanding and widespread impact on the teaching of physics.  

Remarking on his selection for the Oersted Medal, Mamola said, “For nearly 50 years AAPT has played a critical role in my professional life.  I am grateful to everyone in the physics teaching community who has supported, inspired, and befriended me throughout the years.  I’m delighted and honored to have been selected as the recipient of the 2015 Oersted medal.”

About the Award
The Oersted Medal is named for Hans Christian Oersted (1777-1851), a Danish physicist who, in the course of creating a demonstration for teaching his class, discovered that electric currents cause a magnetic field. This was a crucial step in establishing the theory of electromagnetism so important in building modern technology and modern physics. The award was established by AAPT in 1936 and is given annually to a person who has had outstanding, widespread, and lasting impact on the teaching of physics.

Some previous Oersted award winners are Dean Zollman, George F. Smoot, Mildred S. Dresselhaus, Carl Wieman, Lillian McDermott, Hans Bethe, Carl E. Sagan, Edward Purcell, and Richard Feynman. The complete list of recipients can be found at http://www.aapt.org/Programs/awards/oersted.cfm.

About AAPT
AAPT is the premier professional society established to advance the greater good through physics education. With the support of members worldwide, AAPT is an action oriented organization designed to develop, improve, and promote best practices for physics education as part of the global need for qualified Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics teachers who will inspire tomorrow's leaders and decision makers. AAPT was founded in 1930 and is headquartered in the American Center for Physics in College Park, Maryland.

For more information contact Marilyn Gardner, Director of Communications, mgardner@aapt.org, (301) 209-3306, (301) 209-0845 (Fax), www.aapt.org.