The Robert A Millikan Medal, established in 1962, recognizes those who have made notable and intellectually creative contributions to the teaching of physics.

Kenneth Heller is the Robert A. Millikan Medal awardee for 2017. This award recognizes educators who have made notable and intellectually creative contributions to the teaching of physics. Heller is a professor of physics at the School of Physics and Astronomy, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN. After receiving his B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley, Heller spent two years in the Peace Corps in Kenya and Nigeria, before completing his Ph.D. at the University of Washington. Besides his roles as a professor of physics and an associate head of the physics department at the University of Minnesota, he has been an active member of both APS and AAPT for many years and has organized events for both associations. He is a fellow of the APS and AAAS and is a regular presenter at the AAPT/APS New Faculty Workshops.

Heller is a pioneer in developing a systems approach to support the learning of physics through problem solving. This approach emphasizes the importance of the structure of problems including paper and pencil and laboratory problems, the structure and support of student groups, the preparation and support of teaching assistants, and the beliefs and values of faculty. Heller and his research and development group used a variety of methods to establish the research basis for the pedagogy known as Cooperative Group Problem Solving and made the technique adaptable by a wide variety of instructors and institutions.

The pedagogical systems and materials produced by his PER group are some of the most widely used research validated materials in U.S. colleges and universities. Although developed for introductory physics at the college level, this pedagogy has been influential in teaching advanced physics courses and in other STEM fields as well. The continuing work includes the use of computers on the internet as coaches and the appropriate structure and content of the introductory physics course for biology majors.

Heller's service in support of physics education includes his role as AAPT President. He has also served on several other APS and National Academies committees related to education. For example, he was a member of the National Academies Committee on the Status, Contributions, and Future Directions of Discipline-Based Education Research. The report from this committee, released in 2012, has been highly influential in supporting the growing field(s) of Discipline-Based Education Research, of which Physics Education Research is an important part.

Established in 1990, the Klopsteg Memorial Award recognizes outstanding communication of contemporary physics to the general public, in memory of Paul Klopsteg, an American physicist and past AAPT President. The Klopsteg Memorial Award recipient makes a major presentation at an AAPT Summer Meeting on a topic of current significance suitable for non-specialists.

John C. Brown, University of Glasgow, School of Physics and Astronomy, is the 2017 recipient of the Klopsteg Memorial Lecture Award. This award recognizes educators who have made notable and creative contributions to the teaching of physics. Brown's successful career as a solar physicist has been marked by his success at communicating science. This ability to communicate has been recognized by the Queen of the UK appointing him in 1995 as 10th Astronomer Royal for Scotland and in 2016 as an OBE (Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire) “for services to the promotion of astronomy and science education.”

Brown is unquestionably one of the leading astrophysicists in the United Kingdom. He has greatly enhanced progress in the important field of high energy radiation associated with solar activity, so improving our understanding of the physics of our nearest star and of the Sun-Earth system with the dramatic effects the Sun can have sometimes on our home planet. He has also worked in many other areas of astrophysics including hot star mass loss, comet collisions with the Sun and stars, solar-sailed spacecraft, and ill-posed data deconvolution problems. In all of these, Brown is recognized worldwide for his pioneering contributions to science, for his deep insight into the underlying physics, and for his determination to uncover truth rather than “taking sides” on issues. Through his willingness, when demanded by the facts, to take a stance that is sometimes contrary to the popular wisdom, he has consistently striven to provide a thorough and clear exposition of the essential science and its importance. These qualities earned him Glasgow University's Kelvin Prize and Medal in 1984 and the Royal Astronomical Society's (Geophysics) Gold Medal (their highest honor) in 2012.

In addition to his formal university teaching and research activities, Brown has made a lasting contribution to the quality of life in our society through his perennial and unwavering zeal for community outreach activities. These range from talks and planetarium shows to diverse audiences to enhancement of talks by the use of his magician skills and collaborations with poets, playwrights, musicians, and artists, and even a space day twinning the Highland village of Glenelg with its Martian partner. Through these voluntary activities, which he has conducted for decades, he has had a profound impact on thousands of people, both young and old. Through his roles as an ambassador for astronomy and for science, in general, Brown has greatly increased public awareness of the nature of scientific investigation and of the role of science in contemporary society.

The David Halliday and Robert Resnick Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Physics Teaching recognizes outstanding achievement in teaching undergraduate physics, which may include the use of innovative teaching methods.

The 2017 David Halliday and Robert Resnick Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Physics Teaching winner is Cindy Schwarz. John Wiley & Sons is the principal source of funding for this award, through its donation to the AAPT. Schwarz earned her B.S. in Mathematical Physics at SUNY at Binghamton (1980), M. Phil. in Physics at Yale University (1983), and her Ph.D. in Experimental Particle Physics, at Yale University (1985). She is a Professor of Physics in the department of Physics and Astronomy at Vassar College. Schwarz was an early adopter of interactive teaching methods and brought many techniques, such as peer instruction, use of smartboards in the classroom, use of electronic clickers, and in-class problem solving to Vassar College and shared those methods with her colleagues. She instituted Vassar College's Physics Teacher Certification program by working closely with the Education Department in crafting a New York state-approved curriculum. She has been an active member of AAPT and has brought students to many regional and national meetings.

For nearly 30 years, Schwarz has been an innovator in interactive pedagogies and an author of multiple books that have made an impact on physics education at the undergraduate as well as elementary and high school levels. She has been a leader and mentor to Vassar faculty members. Schwarz has created multiple new physics courses during her time at Vassar. “Physics in Motion” is a course in which Vassar students create instructional physics videos and take them into the local community where they are presented to students ranging from third graders up to high school students. Schwarz is recognized for her excellent work in bringing a modern, evidence-based pedagogy to the instruction of physics at Vassar College. She has been an advocate for science literacy, finding new and exciting ways to bring physics to undergraduate non-physicists as well as K-12 students (one example is the co-authored book for 7–11 year olds, Adventures in Atomville: The Macroscope, which is available in English and Spanish). She has guided many physics majors to careers as professional educators and has been instrumental in achieving a balanced gender ratio in the Physics and Astronomy Department at Vassar College. Schwarz has been a volunteer in many roles in the AAPT community including service on the Committee on Women in Physics (1991–1993, 2004–2007), the Committee of Computers in Physics Education (2001–2001), and the Committee on Educational Technologies (2010–2013).

The Paul W. Zitzewitz Award for Excellence in Pre-College Physics Teaching recognizes outstanding achievement in teaching pre-college physics.

The 2017 Paul Zitzewitz Excellence in Pre-College Physics Teaching Award winner is J. Mark Schober, a physics teacher from Trinity School, New York City. This award is in recognition of contributions to pre-college physics teaching and awardees are chosen for their extraordinary accomplishments in communicating the excitement of physics to their students.

Schober earned his Bachelor degree in Physics, Mathematics, and Theater Arts at Concordia College in Moorhead, MN, and Master's degrees in Physics and Secondary Education at Miami University in Oxford, OH. Schober began teaching at John Burroughs School in St. Louis, where colleagues and mentors from the St. Louis Area Physics Teachers (SLAPT), the Modeling Instruction program, the National Science Teachers Association, and AAPT inspired his classroom practice and prepared him to lead teacher workshops for each of these organizations. Serving as the webmaster for SLAPT, he also helped to formalize SLAPT's structure to become an AAPT Section. He worked with SLAPT and Six Flags St. Louis to edit and write curriculum and plan logistics for Physics Day. Schober served as the President of the American Modeling Teachers Association (AMTA) as the organization grew in its role as the custodian of the Modeling Instruction program. Schober is a founding member and past Chairman of STEMteachersNYC, a grassroots professional development group “by teachers, for teachers, about teaching.” Through his involvement with these groups, he has led numerous weekend and multi-week science teaching workshops for teachers across the country.

His colleague noted that “these workshops rank at the top of the professional development I have experienced in my 47 years as a teacher—the electricity and magnetism workshop was so powerful to me that it caused me to completely reformulate my course at my school to conform to the structure of the workshop.”

Schober currently teaches at Trinity School where he has served as a department head and promoted Trinity's shift to a physics-chemistry-biology sequence. He teaches physics, engineering, and astronomy and advises a variety of student groups.

Distinguished Service Citations are presented to AAPT members in recognition of their exceptional contributions to the association at the national, sectional, or local level.

Joseph Kozminski earned his B.S. in Physics and Mathematics at the University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in Physics from Michigan State University, East Lansing, MI. He began his teaching career as a Teaching Assistant and Research Assistant at Michigan State University. In 2005, he served as an Adjunct Professor at Triton College, River Grove, IL. He joined the faculty of Lewis University later that year and has continued to teach and lead the Physics Department. Kozminski has performed extraordinary service to AAPT in a variety of positions including serving as a reviewer for American Journal of Physics, and being a member of the Executive Committee of the Undergraduate Curriculum Task Force since 2013, and took the lead in writing the “AAPT Recommendations for the Undergraduate Physics Laboratory Curriculum.”

Duane Merrell is an Associate Teaching Professor, Department of Physics and Astronomy, Brigham Young University, Provo, UT. Merrell earned his A.S. in Pre-Engineering at the College of Eastern Utah, B.S. in Education, Math, and Physics from the Utah State University, and his M.S. in Instructional Design from Utah State University. From 1985 to 2004, he taught high school at Snowflake High School in Arizona and Emery High School in Castle Dale, UT. In 2004, he accepted a position at Brigham Young University. The physics teacher preparation program that Merrell has created there has been very successful in increasing the number of new physics teachers produced each year since 2006. In addition to Merrell's leadership in the area of physics teacher preparation programs, he has played a significant role in the advancement of physics teaching in a number of other areas.

Bill Reitz is a retired teacher from Hoover High School, North Canton, OH. He had previously taught in Scotland and Australia. Regarding his selection to receive this award, Reitz said, “It is an unexpected honor to be recognized by the organization that shaped my career and humbling to be listed among many of the physics educators who have inspired me.” As an active member of the Ohio Section, Reitz received the section's Distinguished Service Award in 2009. He served as the Ohio Section President from 1998 to 2000 and 2012–2014 and as the Section Representative from 2015 to 2017. He first became an AAPT PTRA in 1986 and has continued to serve the physics community in that role. Additionally, Reitz has served on the AAPT Committee on Physics in High School and has chaired the Committee on Physics in Pre-High School and the Committee on Science Education for the Public.

Toni Sauncy is an Associate Professor and Department Chair at Texas Lutheran University in Seguin, TX. Sauncy earned her B.S. in Mathematics (magna cum laude) at Texas Tech University, her M.S. in Physics at Texas Tech University, and her Ph.D in Applied Physics at Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX. As an active member of AAPT since 1997, Sauncy has served on the AAPT Programs Committee (2013–2014), the Lotze Scholarship Committee (2014–2016), and the Committee on Physics in Undergraduate Education (2015–2018). She has been an active Texas Section AAPT member for her entire professional career, serving through the four year presidential chain. She has also served as the four-year college representative to the Executive Council of TS AAPT. Sauncy was the Director of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) and Sigma Pi Sigma from 2012 to 2014 at the American Institute of Physics (AIP).

Paul Stanley is a Professor of Physics and a holder of the Dobson Endowed Professorship in Physics at Beloit University, Beloit, WI. Stanley earned his B.S. from Iowa State University and his M.S. and Ph.D. from Oregon State University. He joined the Peace Corps and spent seven years deep in the South Pacific as a high school teacher. Stanley began his work with the U.S. Physics Team in 2003 when he became a coach. He became the team's Academic Director in 2009 and has continued serving in that role. He has been very successful in developing the tests used to identify the top U.S. high school physics students and in training them to compete in the international physics competition.