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Announcement, March 20, 2018


690. WE-Heraeus-Seminar

General Relativity as a Challenge for Physics Education

February 10 - 15, 2019

Physikzentrum Bad Honnef, Germany

Application deadline: October 31, 2018 (extended to November 15!)

The Wilhelm and Else Heraeus-Seminar on "General Relativity as a Challenge for Physics Education" is generously funded by the Wilhelm and Else Heraeus Foundationexterner Link.


Aims: The goal of the seminar is to promote the scientific exchange of ideas and research results on the teaching of general relativity. The seminar will be focussed on the secondary school and undergraduate levels.

Target audience: Physics education researchers, physicists, and physics teachers are invited to participate in the seminar. PhD and master students are encouraged to apply.

Background: General relativity is one of the fundamental advancements of physics in the 20th century, well established and tested to high accuracy, basis of modern astrophysics and cosmology. General relativity and its applications are also especially fascinating for many students, both in school and at university. In spite of its fundamental importance general relativity is not part of most curricula in secondary schools and in undergraduate university education.

However, in recent years this has begun to change and general relativity has made its way into the secondary school curricula of a number of countries. Concurrently, physics education research on teaching general relativity has become more active with a wide variety of research activities. There are studies aimed at implementing specific curricula, others originate from the conviction that a contemporary physics education should give all students the opportunity to get acquainted with general relativity. Methodically, current research activities cover a broad range including the design of new teaching materials and of whole teaching units, the development of assessment instruments and the evaluation of new approaches, and empirical research on learning and instruction.

Scope and Key Topics: The teaching of general relativity at the secondary school and undergraduate levels is a challenge for physics education. Novel and abstract concepts must be explained. The mathematical framework of the theory is involved and is not accessible to learners at these levels. New approaches must therefore be developed that make it possible to teach general relativity using no more than elementary mathematics. The seminar will be a forum for the discussion of these questions. Contributions will be grouped in two strands, each strand comprising several invited talks, a discussion slot and a poster session.


The seminar will start on Sunday (February 10th, 2019) with an evening lecture and will end on Friday (February 15th, 2019) at lunchtime.

The programme consists of invited talks (two of them combined with workshops), poster sessions and discussion slots. The talks are scheduled for 50 minutes duration plus 10 minutes discussion. The talks with workshop will be 120 minutes long, including discussion time. The poster sessions will be introduced with short plenary presentations of all posters ("poster flashes"). Poster prizes will be awarded for the three best posters.


Preliminary list of invited speakers


Important dates:

15 November 2018 (extended deadline):Application and abstract deadline
End of November 2018:Accepted participants will be informed

Physics education researchers, physicists, and physics teachers are invited to participate in the seminar. PhD and master students are encouraged to apply. Each participant is expected to contribute a poster to the program. A brief preliminary abstract for a possible poster presentation is requested as part of the application.

Please notify us if you would like to use the poster session to display teaching material or to set up a laptop and present digital resources.

There is no registration fee for participating in the seminar. Accommodation and meals will be provided in the Physikzentrum for all participants free of charge, thanks to the funding by the Wilhelm and Else Heraeus Foundationexterner Link. For details visit Physikzentrum Bad Honnefexterner Link

Please note that the total number of participants is limited. The organizers will select the participants based on the information provided in the application. Activities in teaching general relativity to school or undergraduate students and/or related physics education research are appreciated (but not required).

If you would like to participate, please send the following data via email to


Academic title
First Name
Subject of your main research interest
Preliminary poster title
Short preliminary poster abstract


The seminar will be held at the Physikzentrum in Bad Honnef, Germany. The Physikzentrum provides a setting for research conferences, seminars and workshops, also offering accommodation for the participants.

Public transport offers convenient access to the nearby cities of Bonn (15 km) and Cologne (40 km). For further information concerning arrival, location and accommodation, please visit Physikzentrum Bad Honnefexterner Link


If you have questions concerning the seminar, please contact us at gr19(at) .

The scientific organizers of the seminar are

Prof. Dr. Ute Kraus

Institut für Physik
Universität Hildesheim

Universitätsplatz 1
31141 Hildesheim

Homepage: Ute Krausexterner Link

Dr. Corvin Zahn

Institut für Physik
Universität Hildesheim

Universitätsplatz 1
31141 Hildesheim

Homepage: Corvin Zahnexterner Link

Kontakt: Möchten Sie uns eine Nachricht senden?

AutorInnen: Ute Kraus, Corvin Zahn, Datum: 15.03.2018
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