2021 Medal Winners | francais

The 2021 CAP Medal for Excellence in Teaching Undergraduate Physics

is awarded to

Richard James Epp

"I am deeply honoured to be recognized amongst such an esteemed group of teaching-focused colleagues. Receiving this award has sparked me into thinking about new ways I might help students, sharing my love and understanding of Physics to inspire them to do the hard work it takes to master this beautiful and powerful discipline." winner citation

The Canadian Association of Physicists (CAP) is pleased to announce that the 2021 CAP Medal for Excellence in Teaching Undergraduate Physics is awarded to Richard James Epp, University of Waterloo, to recognize his accomplishments in teaching and commitment to physics outreach. He consistently receives high teaching evaluations from majors and non-majors alike, and students commended his "Thinking Like a Physicist" series that replaced informal interactions during the pandemic lockdown. announcement

Richard Epp inspires his students to think like a physicist and embrace their passion for the field. As an award winning and much-loved Lecturer at the University of Waterloo, and previously through his work as the founding Director of Scientific Outreach at Perimeter Institute for Theoretical Physics, Richard has spread enthusiasm for physics throughout Canada for more than 20 years. With graduate degrees in both Theoretical Physics and Electrical Engineering, Richard has a remarkably broad and deep understanding of physics and its connections to other disciplines. He develops and teaches courses that focus on inspiring students, building their intuitive understanding, and helping them see interdisciplinary big ideas, as well as the power of physics to address our deepest questions. At Perimeter, he started world class programs that inspire both ordinary and gifted students to appreciate and pursue physics, and give their teachers training and tools to teach modern physics, including the well-loved Alice & Bob in Wonderland series of physics animations.

During Fall 2020, Richard was instrumental in the design and delivery of a radically-altered remote version of the University of Waterloo’s first-year Mechanics course for physics majors. This course engaged over 500 students in live group work twice each week involving materials based on physics education research or developed by Richard to connect Mechanics material to more advanced and exciting topics. There were no marks associated with tests or quizzes in the course. Instead, students were motivated towards genuine learning, building a peer support network, and maintaining their mental health. Richard’s COVID-19 “lightboard” lectures captured the beauty, care, and enthusiasm he always puts into his teaching. His extra "Thinking Like a Physicist" discussion sessions sparked many students’ love for physics. The course brought students as close as possible, in COVID times, to an in-person “university experience”. nominator citation

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