Symposium on Horizons in Astronomy and Physics Education

Department of Physics and Astronomy

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


Since 2008 the UNC-BEST program has invited North Carolina physics (and other) teachers to join us for a symposium on current advances in physics, astronomy, and the teaching of these subjects in secondary schools. The symposia feature talks by leaders in the field about astronomy and physics research, the application of physics in a variety of contexts, and physics and astronomy pedagogy.There are also hands-on activities and tours of research labs in the UNC-CH Physics & Astronomy Department.



Teachers who come to SHAPE have the opportunity to share ideas and learn from other teachers from across North Carolina in an informal atmosphere. Those who attend the entire symposium are eligible to receive Continuing Education Unit credits.


inclined plane exercise


To see list of speakers and hands-on activities from recent symposia, look here.

Presentations at SHAPE 2017 will include Teaching Nanobiophysics Concepts Using Model Building Activities by Prof. Mike Falvo (UNC-CH), The Dawn of Gravitational Wave Astronomy by Prof. Chuck Evans (UNC-CH), Physics of our planet: factors influencing the Earth's climate by Prof. Jason West (UNC-CH), and Beyond Elementary Science: Opportunities for High School students at Morehead Planetarium and Science Center by Whit McMillan from the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center. Finally, There will be a workshop on LEAP (Learner-centered Environment for Algebra-based Physics) entitled LEAPing into Science led by Prof. Paula Engelhardt of Tennessee Tech.




The next symposium will take place on Saturday, March 4, 2017 at the Department of Physics and Astronomy on the campus of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Registration will begin at 8:30 a.m. and the activities will end at 5:00 p.m. The registration fee of $20 (payable in advance or at the start of the symposium) covers all symposium materials as well as lunch.

To register for the symposium, follow this link. Detailed information about the symposium logistics will be sent to all registrants.

We look forward to seeing you at SHAPE!