2011 Bragg Medal and Prize

Professor Philip Harland Scott

University of Leeds

For his influential research in physics education which has had a significant impact on teachers and the teaching of physics in secondary schools.

Professor Phil Scott is a leading physics education researcher and teacher educator. His research has examined the teaching and learning of physics concepts in high schools. He was a leading member of the highly influential Children’s Learning in Science (CLIS) project based at the University of Leeds. His work with CLIS involved close collaboration with physics teachers in examining student misconceptions, developing teaching sequences to address these misconceptions, and evaluating the impact of these sequences on student learning.

Teachers around the UK (and beyond) still talk with affection about their work with him on the CLIS project. His research has also examined the use of language in the physics classroom. One co-authored outcome of this work has been the highly influential book ‘Meaning Making in Secondary Science Classrooms’. In addition, he was recently elected to serve on the Executive Board of the North America National Association for Research in Science teaching (NARST).

Phil Scott is a Professor of Science Education who has never forgotten his roots in school teaching. The first 13 years of his physics education career were spent in comprehensive schools around West Yorkshire, ultimately as a Head of Science. His research has always involved teachers and students in the conduct of studies and the discussion of findings. 

He has taken a leading role in a succession of highly influential physics teacher development initiatives. Examples include the CLIS professional development courses, participation in the award winning ‘Private Universe Project’ television programmes in collaboration with the Science Media Group at the Harvard-Smithsonian Centre for Astrophysics, and the development of the Supporting Physics Teaching (SPT) resources with the Institute of Physics. Alongside these high profile activities, Phil has always been pleased to visit groups of teachers around the country to share his expertise and discuss physics education.


It was with much regret that we learned Phil Scott passed away suddenly in July 2011, before he was presented with this award. 

An obituary can be found on the University of Leeds website