Understanding first year students’ curiosity and interest about Physics

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Understanding first year students’ curiosity and interest about Physics

Understanding first year students’ curiosity and interest about Physics - Lessons learned from the HOPE project

This paper focuses on results of an interview based survey of 1st year University physics students, carried out within the EU HOPE project (http://hopenetwork.eu/). 94 interviews conducted in 13 universities have been analysed to investigate the factors that inspire young people to study physics. In particular, the main motivational factor, which was proven to consist in personal interest and curiosity, was unfolded into different categories and detailed interest profiles were produced. The results are arguably useful to help the academic curriculum developers and teaching personnel in physics departments to provide guidance to students in developing and focusing their interest towards specific subfields and/or to design targeted recruitment and outreach initiatives.

The paper has been accepted for publication in European Journal of Physics, accepted preprint is available below.

Olivia Levrini(1), Anna De Ambrosis(2), Sabine Hemmer(3), Antti Laherto(4), Massimiliano Malgieri(2), Ornella Pantano(5), Giulia Tasquier(1)

(1) Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia, Alma Mater Studiorum, Università di Bologna
(2) Dipartimento di Fisica, Università di Pavia
(3) INFN, Sezione di Padova
(4) Department of Physics, University of Helsinki
(5) Dipartimento di Fisica e Astronomia, Università di Padova