Loyola University Chicago

Department of Physics

LMFK Report - Iceland 2005

Jeffry V. Mallow
July 6, 2005

The meeting took place in Akureyri, in northern Iceland, June 27-30. Some 110 delegates attended, from all of the Nordic countries. Many of us brought family to experience this unique country. The theme of the conference was “Man (sic), Environment, and Energy.” There were numerous talks on Iceland’s use of geothermal and hydropower, as well as hydrogen fuel cells. Three buses in Reykjavik run on hydrogen at present.

Of course, many of the talks and discussions focused on the primary theme of the LMFK: advances in science and math teaching. Each country’s delegation presented a paper on the various reforms being enacted to improve science and math literacy. Delegates found many of these reforms controversial.

Attending from the Danish delegation were our friends Helge Kastrup and Carsten Claussen. Helge and I gave a joint paper (sponsored by the AAPT International Committee), on our binational research project, “Gender, Science Anxiety, and Constructivism.” Carsten is the current Danish Ministry of Education National Physics Advisor, and attended in that capacity. He helped explain the current Danish gymnasium reform, one of whose components is that all first year students take physics, without distinction as to their later choices of science or humanities specialties. (Helge and I described this in more detail at the Albuquerque AAPT last January.)

One day was given over to a bus excursion to Lake Myvatn. This included tours of geysers, extinct (and not-so-extinct) volcano craters, geothermal swimming pools, and other sites. The final session was a panel with representatives from the various countries, in which Helge and I participated.

Iceland has surprisingly good cuisine, including local fish and lamb. It is an expensive place , but worth the time and money. The conference organization was excellent.

The next conference, summer 2008, will take place in Copenhagen.