2010 Medal Winners | francais

The 2010 CAP Award for Excellence in Teaching High School/CEGEP Physics (Quebec and Nunavut)

is awarded to

Nathaniel Lasry

"It feels great! I strongly recommend it! It gives me courage to take on future endeavours which just keep on getting more interesting with time." winner citation

The Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) is pleased to announce that the 2010 CAP Award for Excellence in Teaching High School/CEGEP Physics (Quebec and Nunavut) is awarded to Nathaniel Lasry, John Abbott College (Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC), in recognition of who for many years has been actively using and promoting innovative pedagogical tools in teaching physics in Québec and even beyond. Few professors can boast about being compared favourably to Richard Feynman for the ease and ability to present difficult concepts clearly. That is nevertheless the case with Nathaniel Lasry who obviously loves his profession and who communicates his passion through his presentations, his teaching and his interactions with teachers and students. Being exceptionally competent both in physics and in education, his accomplishments are remarkably varied, ranging from the creation of banks of problem situations to demonstrations of magic, in addition to research and the promotion of learning through peers. It is with pleasure that the Canadian Association of Physicists makes Mr. Nathaniel Lasry the first Québec recipient of the Award for Excellence in Teaching High School/CEGEP Physics.. announcement

Dr. Nathaniel Lasry is a professor of physics at CEGEP John Abbott College and the founding president of the Quebec Association of Physics Teachers. Troubled by the profound disconnect his students experienced between classroom science and the everyday world they live in, in addition to his M.Sc. in physics from UQAM (2000), he completed a PhD in cognition and instruction at McGill University where he worked on authentic learning. Besides authoring a book titled “Understanding Authentic Learning” Lasry developed the first online Problem-Based Learning resource for college physics (www.ccdmd.qc.ca/en/pbl) in French and English. This site is currently used by teachers in 5 continents and indexed by the comPADRE digital library, The Physics Front and The Physics Source portals. Dr. Lasry continued to bring everyday physics to the public as a science consultant and writer in the ten-part Discovery Channel documentary series: What’s That About? This series was nominated for a Gemini in the best documentary for 2006 category.

Nathaniel Lasry is also interested in student-centered pedagogies such as Peer Instruction, developed by Eric Mazur at Harvard University. Dr. Lasry documented the effectiveness of Peer Instruction (with and without clickers) in his CEGEP classrooms thereby showing that Peer Instruction works equally well in institutions as different as Harvard and a publicly funded two-year college. He actively promotes Peer Instruction both locally and internationally and continues to collaborate with the Mazur group to further the effectiveness of the approach.

Nathaniel Lasry is truly passionate about teaching the magic of physics through the physics of magic something he can occasionally be seen doing on Discovery channel or, in French, on CanalD. He is an exemplary physics teacher and physics educators and he continues making a profound difference in the lives of his students and colleagues. nominator citation

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