Wendy K. Adams
Research Professor, Department of Physics

I have lived my entire life in Colorado, love teaching physics, and studying how people learn physics. I have taught a range of courses over 15 years from introductory physics to graduate level science education research seminar.

My research focuses on formative assessment and curriculum design. I developed the widely used CLASS, which measures students’ perceptions of physics and how to learn physics; have done extensive work on problem solving evaluation; developed the interface design guidelines for the PhET Interactive Simulations; and most recently developed the PTaP (Perceptions of Teaching as a Profession) instrument.  I have also designed and developed several curricula including the Explore Sound project – K-14 materials for acoustics.

Over the years I have also juggled a few other roles, including co-Director of the PhET Interactive Simulations Project, Director of Research for the Science Education Initiative at CU, Boulder, Research Consultant with the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative at UBC, Education Coordinator for the Acoustical Society of America , and Director of Science Teacher Education Programs at the University of Northern Colorado. Currently I am working with several national societies to build a campaign aimed at recruiting secondary math and science teachers.


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Teaching and Research Interests

  • Development and validation of low stakes assessment instruments
  • Problem solving evaluation
  • Interactive computer simulations
  • Curriculum design
  • Science Teacher Preparation


  • PhD, Physics, University of Colorado, 2008
  • MS, Physics, University of Colorado, 1996
  • BA, Physics, University of Northern Colorado, 1994

Honors and Awards

  • Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS)
  • American Physical Society Excellence in Physics Education Award
  • The Outstanding Achievement Award by UNC Sponsored Programs                                                     
  • 10th Anniversary Most cited Physical Review Special Topics – Physics Education Research Article