Nobel Science Educator Finds U.S. Won't Put Its Money Where Its Youth Is — But Canada Will

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Nobel Laureate Carl Wieman Announces Move To British Columbia

Carl Wieman, CU-Boulder distinguished professor and Nobel laureate, announced today he will leave his faculty position at the University of Colorado at Boulder in January 2007 for a position at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver.

Wieman made the announcement today at a news conference on the CU-Boulder campus. Under the terms of his agreement with UBC, Wieman will retain a 20 percent appointment at CU-Boulder to head up the Science Education Project.

Wieman’s new faculty position at British Columbia will include funding for a $12 million science education project.

Wieman will be a professor of physics at the University of British Columbia in addition to his position in charge of the British Columbia science education project. CU-Boulder’s Science Education Project will work collaboratively with the UBC project.
 
Wieman said several considerations went into his decision to leave CU-Boulder but the primary reason was the realization that securing private support and public grants to support a major science education initiative at CU-Boulder might not be feasible.

“I have been seriously attempting to raise money to carry out this science education effort ever since the Nobel Prize (in 2001),” Wieman said. “While on sabbatical last year I prepared about 34 proposals for support directed to private individuals and foundations, mostly in Colorado, and to state and federal funding agencies,” he said. None of the proposals were awarded.

Although Wieman has raised some funding for his science education effort – $150,000 from the National Science Foundation through the physics department, $200,000 from the Hewlett Foundation and about $350,000 from NSF through the shared JILA award – the level of support is not enough to fund training and salaries for senior teaching fellows who are a critical component of Wieman’s program for improving science education.

A significant portion of the funding for Wieman’s Physics Education Technology Fund, which supports his science education efforts, came from his own $300,000 National Science Foundation award, which he received in 2001 for excellence in teaching and research. He later contributed $250,000 of his Nobel Prize award to the Physics Education Technology Fund supporting classroom initiatives at CU-Boulder.


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