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 sometimes tours of research labs in the UNC-CH Physics & Astronomy Department or activities at the Morehead Planetarium and Science Center.



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.

The list of speakers for the 2021 symposium includes:

  • Mr. Josh Reding (UNC-CH) The Menagerie of "Failed" Ia Supernovae
  • Prof. Julieta Gruszko (UNC-CH) Neutrinos: Rescuing Conservation Laws Since 1930
  • Ms. Susan Miller-Hendrix (Public Schools of Robeson County) Women in Physics: Crucial Conversations
  • Ms. Bailey Canter (Raytheon) You Can Do Anything With a Physics Degree!

There will also be a hands-on workshop Going the Distance: Remote Labs for Introductory Physics by Prof. Colleen Countryman (Ithaca College).

The program for SHAPE 2021, including abstracts and presenter bios, is available here.


The symposium will take place on Saturday, March 20, 2021 via Zoom. Presentations will begin at 9:00 a.m. There is no registration fee, but advance registration is required (see link below).

To register for the symposium, follow this link. The Zoom link for the symposium will be sent to all registrants.

We look forward to seeing you (virtually) at SHAPE 2021!