A Brief History of GIREP

In the years 1960-64 OECE (later to become OECD) arranged a series of international meetings to encourage the renewal of Physics teaching. The meetings proved to be a valuable source of inspiration for the participants. However, from 1964 OECD concentrated on other fields and stopped supporting meetings on physics education.

A number of people who had attended the previuous meetings, led by prof. W. Knecht, Switzerland, believed that the series of international meetings on teaching physics in schools should continue. To this end they formed an international working group: GIREP was founded 15. March 1966 with Prof. Knecht as President.

At the beginning the number of members of GIREP was quite small (a few tens), but it soon grew to over 100 and now, for many years, it is quite stable at about 250.

Very soon GIREP began to organize international meetings, finding sponsorship from Universities, Ministries of Education, UNESCO; ESA and collaborating with many other national and international organisations. One way the Ministries of Education sponsor the Meetings is paying for the attendance of local school teachers.

Since 1969 all meetings published proceedings, distributed to all members. Sometimes other proceedings were also distributed (for example: ICPE Conference on Education for Physics Teaching, Trieste 1980; Microscience Conference on Computers in Science Education, Balaton 1985; ICPE Teaching Modern Physics Conference on Condensed Matter, Munich 1988; RIO FOLLOWUP - International science education conference on environmental issues, Eger 1994 ).

Now there is a growing archive of the past proceedings available to members on this website.

GIREP is now a collaborating group of concerned individuals, often working with other organisations to create conferences, with the prime function unchanged from the founding: to arrange a series of international meetings to encourage the renewal of Physics teaching.

GIREP meetings from the very beginning:

  1. January, 1967 (Lausanne, Switzerland): in collaboration with the International Commission of Mathematics Teaching, preliminary informal meeting on the co–ordination of mathematics and physics teaching at the secondary school.
  2. 30 October–5 November, 1968 (Malvern, UK): Study and discussion of the Nuffield Physics.
  3. 30 July–5 August, 1969 (Copenhagen, Denmark): Energy in the lower secondary school, Quantum mechanics and Relativity in the higher secondary school.
  4. 16–18 March, 1972 (Kiel, Germany): joint GIREP-UNESCO Meeting on the implementation of curricula in science education with sepcial regard to physics teaching.
  5. 14–20 October, 1973 (Venezia, Italy): “Electricity, magnetism and mechanics in the secondary school”.
  6. 6–10 September, 1976 (Montpellier, France): Two main topics: “First steps in teaching physics at the beginning of secondary school”, and “Probability and Statistics in physics teaching”.
  7. 14–21 July, 1978 (Oxford, UK): joint ICPE-GIREP Meeting on “The role of the Laboratory in Physics Teaching”.
  8. 19–24 August, 1979 (Rehovot, Israel): two topics: “Teaching Waves and Oscillations” and “Current Problems in Physics Teaching”.
  9. 6–12 September, 1981 (Balatonfüred, Hungary): “Nuclear Physics, Nuclear Power”.
  10. 20–25 August, 1984 (Zeist, Holand): “The many faces of teaching and learning mechanics”.
  11. 18–23 August, 1986 (Elsinore, Denmark): “COSMOS — an Educational”.
  12. 7–13 September, 1989 (Balatonfüred, Hungary): “Energy Alternatives — Risk Education”.
  13. 19–24 August, 1991 (Torun, Poland): “Teaching about Reference Frames — from Copernicus to Einstein”.
  14. 16–21 July, 1993 (Braga, Portugal): “Light and Information”.
  15. 24–30 August, 1995 (Udine, Italy): joint ICPE-GIREP Meeting on “Teaching the science of condensed matters and new materials”.
  16. 21–27 August, 1996 (Ljubljana, Slovenia): joint ICPE-GIREP Meeting on" New Ways of Teaching Physics”.
  17. 23–28 August, 1998 (Duisburg, Germany): “Hands–On experiments in physics education”.
  18. 27 August–1 September, 2000 (Barcelona, Spain): “Physics Teacher Education Beyond 2000”.
  19. 5–9 August, 2002 (Lund, Sweden): “Physics in new fields and modern applications”.
  20. 2–6 September, 2001 (Udine, Italy): “Developing Formal Thinking in Physics”.
  21. 1–6 September, 2003 (Udine, Italy): “Quality Development in Teacher Education and Training”.
  22. 19–23 July, 2004 (Ostrava, Czech Republic) “Teaching and Learning Physics in New Contexts”.
  23. 5–9 September, 2005 (Ljubljana, Slovenia): “Informal Learning and Public Understanding of Physics”.
  24. 20–25 August, 2006 (Amsterdam, Netherlands): “Modelling in Physics and Physics Education”.
  25. 26–31 August, 2007 (Opatija, Croatia): “Frontiers of Physics Education”, GIREP-EPEC Conference.
  26. 18–22 August, 2008 (Nicosia, Cyprus): “Physics Curriculum Design, Development and Validation”.
  27. 17–21 August, 2009 (Leister, Great Britain): “Physics Community and Cooperation”.
  28. 22–27 August, 2010 (Reims, France): “Teaching and Learning Physics Today: Challenges? Benefits?”.
  29. 1–5 August, 2011 (Jyvaskylla, Finland): “Physics Alive”.
  30. 1-6 July, 2012, (Istanbul, Turkey): “The World Conference on Physics Education”, WCPE Conference
  31. 7-12 July, 2014 (Palermo, Italy): “Teaching/Learning Physics: Integrating Research into Practice”, GIREP-MPTL InternationalConference.
  32. 6-10 July, 2015 (Wrocław, Poland): “Key competences in physics teaching and learning”, GIREP-EPEC Conference
  33. 10-15 July, 2016 (Sao Paulo, Brazil): 2nd World Conference on Physics Education, WCPE Conference
  34. 30 August - 3 September, 2016 (Krakow, Poland): GIREP 2016 Seminar on the occasion of GIREP 50th Anniversary

Presidents of GIREP

1966–1969 W. Knecht (Switzerland)
1969–1972 Soren Sikjaer (Denmark)
1972–1979 Poul Thomsen (Royal Danish School of Educational Studies, Copenhagen, Denmark)
1979–1984 Arturo Loria (University of Modena, Italy)
1985–1991 Paul Black (King's College, London, UK)
1992–1995 George Marx (R. Eoetvoes University, Budapest, Hungary)
1995–1999 Karl Luchner (University of Munich, Germany)
1999–2006 Manfred Euler (Department of Physics Education, IPN (Institute for Science Education), University of Kiel, Germany)
2006–2012 Ton Ellermeijer (AMSTEL Institute, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands)
2012– Marissa Michelini (Physics and Math Section of DCFA University of Udine, Italy)

Statutes of GIREP

New Statutes of GIREP approved by GIREP General Assembly in July 2015 and valid since the beginning of 2016 (when GIREP was registered in Belgium as an international non-profit organization GIREP vzw) is available at http://girep.org/media/GIREP_Statutes.pdf.