Coming in for a landing: Embattled Nobel physicist and science education reformer Carl Wieman arrives at Stanford

From Science Insider:

The physics Nobelist and former White House science education czar has been named a faculty member in both the physics department and Stanford’s Graduate School of Education. 

Wieman joined the Obama administration in 2010 from the University of British Columbia (UBC) in Vancouver, Canada…

Wieman says that his new job will let him “spend my time on things that I personally find a lot more fun and satisfying” than his 2-year stint at the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. In that post, which he left abruptly in June 2012 to battle multiple myeloma, his attempts to reshape the $3-billion-a-year federal investment in STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) education faced significant opposition. At both UBC and the White House, he says he was “trying to find ways to get people to do things they did not want to do.” Those efforts, he adds, “may have been necessary, but they were not much fun.”

Those two experiences, he says, “have earned me the right to be more selfish” in his professional life. In particular, that means conducting research on how students learn and applying those lessons to individual courses in specific fields. “This work involves thinking about interesting intellectual problems, working with good students and collaborators, and writing papers,” he says.

If “trying to find ways to get people to do things they did not want to do” is that tough and “not much fun” for a Nobel Laureate and White House staffer, what about for the rest of us who are at the bottom of the food chain?

Update (9:30 am):  There is a scholarly answer to the above question in Physical Review Special Topics Physics Education Research.

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