Research on Physics Education
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Physics Education research is a young field with a strong tradition in many countries. However, it has only recently received full recognition of its specificity and relevance for the growth and improvement of the culture of Physics in contemporary Society for different levels and populations. This may be due on one side to the fact that teaching, therefore education, is part of the job of university researchers and it has often been implicitly assumed that the competences required for good research activity also guarantee good teaching practice. On the other side, and perhaps more important, is the fact that the problems to be afforded in doing research in education are complex problems that require a knowledge base not restricted to the disciplinary physics knowledge but enlarged to include cognitive science, communication science, history and philosophy. The topics discussed here look at some of the facets of the problem by considering the interplay of the development of cognitive models for learning Physics with some reflections on the Physics contents for contemporary and future society with the analysis of teaching strategies and the role of experiments the issue of assessment and cultural aspects. Information is also given on the organizations involved in connecting various aspects of Physics Education: the International Commission on Physics Education, the European Physical Society and the European Physics Education Network.