Jeffrey Bennett, astronomer, teacher, and writer, is the 2023 recipient of the Klopsteg Memorial Lecture Award. This award recognizes educators who have made notable and creative contributions to the teaching of physics.

Regarding his selection to receive the 2023 Klopsteg Award Bennett said, “I'm very honored to receive this award, especially since it comes from the American Association of Physics Teachers, which represents a group of outstanding educators who share my passion for using physics—and science in general—to help us create a better and more just world for everyone.”

Bennett received a B.A. in Biophysics from the University of California at San Diego and an M.S. and Ph.D. in Astrophysics from the University of Colorado at Boulder. Specializing in mathematics and science education, he writes for and speaks to audiences ranging from elementary school children to university faculty.

For more than 30 years, Bennett has successfully advanced the cause of public understanding of physics. Key achievements include:

  • Serving as the first “Visiting Senior Scientist” at NASA Headquarters whose focus was specifically on education and outreach. In this role, he launched a transformative effort at NASA that vastly expanded public outreach by scientists engaged in astrophysics missions and research.

  • Creating the concept for a new and innovative type of scale model solar system exhibit, first at the University of Colorado and then with the Voyage scale model solar system (for which he served as co-PI), the first permanent installation on the U.S. National Mall in Washington, DC to be focused specifically on science education. The Voyage model depicts the Sun, the planets, and the distances between them on a scale of one to ten billion, providing visitors an accurate sense of the vastness of our solar system, a unique perspective on the beauty and fragility of our home planet, and the inspirational message embodied in the fact that our species has managed to learn so much about other worlds. Dr. Bennett continues to work with the Voyage National Program ( to spread Voyage “Mark II” models around the nation.

  • Leading creation of the free Totality app (, which helps people plan for upcoming solar eclipses and learn eclipse science. He is currently in the process of donating ownership of the app to the American Astronomical Society, through which it is likely to be used by millions of people for the upcoming 2023 annular and 2024 total solar eclipses.

  • Creating and freely posting a complete middle-school curriculum for Earth and Space Science (

  • Creating and freely posting a “global warming primer” ( and engaging with the public on a free speaking tour that has encompassed more than 40 venues and an estimated 10,000 people.

  • During 2014 and 2015, engaging with the public in a free speaking tour on Einstein's theory of relativity at approximately 25 venues and reaching an estimated 10,000 people.

  • Presenting school assemblies on concepts of astronomy and astrobiology for K–12 children—more than 200 schools (, reaching an estimated 100,000 students.

  • Writing seven critically acclaimed science books for children, all of which have been selected for launch to the International Space Station for the Story Time From Space program (

  • Writing six critically acclaimed books for the general public on topics, including the search for extraterrestrial life, Einstein's theory of relativity, global warming, leading mysteries of astrophysics, the role of mathematics in everyday life, and methods of science teaching.

Catherine Herne received the AAPT's Homer L. Dodge Citation for Distinguished Service to AAPT during the 2023 Summer Meeting. Herne was honored for tireless service to bringing attention to the importance of equitable learning spaces, and for exceptional contributions and consistent leadership that have helped develop foundational principles and structure to serve as a guide for realizing AAPT diversity.

Regarding her selection to receive this citation, Herne said, “I am honored to receive this award as a part of AAPT's movement towards a more diverse, inclusive, and equitable association and physics community. I continue to be amazed by the efforts of AAPT members and staff and their commitment to this ongoing work.”

Herne is an Associate Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the State University of New York at New Paltz. She earned an A.B. in Physics and Mathematics at Bryn Mawr College, Bryn Mawr, PA and a Ph.D. in Applied Physics at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI.

Herne has been a key leader of AAPT's Diversity Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Task Force. The efforts of the Task Force will reshape the Association's understanding of how to best serve its diverse membership and will support both teachers and students of physics in the 21st century. Her leadership was central, and her work enabled the Task Force to complete its initial goals.

Additionally, Herne serves in other roles in AAPT, such as being part of the chair chain in the Committee on Laboratories. She was an author of the recent AAPT White Paper “Increase Investment in Accessible Physics Labs: A Call to Action for the Physics Education Community.” This major whitepaper was recently endorsed by the AAPT Board of Directors.

Herne has been appointed to represent AAPT on AIP's Diversity, Equity, Inclusion, Belonging, and Accessibility (DEIBA) strategic Framework Work Group. The purpose of the group is to offer all AIP Member Societies the opportunity to assist with the development of the DEIBA Strategic Plan. Member Societies will inform the process by providing input on the intended strategies for implementation and feedback on various components of the plan.

Herne serves on the SEA Change Professional Association Assessment Team, as Regional Director, NY State region for the Advanced Laboratory Physics Association, and has given many contributed and invited talks at our meetings.

One new fellow of AAPT was announced in the Summer 2023 meeting:

Lin Ding, University of Ohio, Columbus, Ohio

Information on Alice Flarend, the recipient of the 2023 Paul W. Zitzewitz Excellence in K–12 Teaching Award, appears in The Physics Teacher.