Professor Carl Wieman


Yidan Prize for Education Research




Promoting research-based STEM teaching and learning practices globally



Judge's citation

Featured initiatives


Professor Carl Wieman

Professor Emeritus of Physics and Graduate School of Education, Stanford University


STEM education; Equity and inclusion

Transforming STEM teaching to help students think like scientists

Professor Carl Wieman founded PhET Interactive Simulations in 2002 at the University of Colorado Boulder. His focus was bringing scientific rigor to the art of teaching—and improving STEM education through direct access to online resources used in classrooms and lecture theaters.


Carl’s research has long shown that teaching techniques that foster independent decision-making in students yield better learning outcomes.


Having originally developed a series of online simulations to explain scientific theories and events, Carl began to incorporate them into his own lectures—before quickly realizing it was these simulations that really stayed with people and helped them learn. Carl seized on this realization to develop PhET, building on foundational ideas of learning theory, science instruction, and technology.


PhET’s engaging, game-like interactive simulations are designed to help students learn through play and exploration—the best way to learn—emphasizing the connections between real-life experiences and the underlying science. They’re at their best when educators use them alongside active learning practices in the classroom. Students come away not just thinking about science and mathematics, but thinking like scientists and mathematicians.


20 years on, more than 1.1 billion simulations have now been delivered to learners in 120 languages, and teachers and students all over the planet continue to feel the impact. There’s a pleasing circularity to the fact that a program designed to educate people in math and science is itself underpinned by the science of education.

“I don’t know of anyone who stands more for change and transformation in education, for innovation, and for a commitment to advance learning through education research, than Carl Wieman.”

Andreas Schleicher

Panel Head, Judging Panel for Education Research, Yidan Prize

Featured initiatives

Supported by the Yidan Prize project funds
Promoting research-based STEM teaching and learning practices globally

The PhET Global initiative builds a community of educators who commit to teaching STEM through active learning with research-based resources and strategies.



More about Professor Carl Wieman


2020 Yidan Prize for Education Research Laureate


Meet Professor Carl Wieman


Acceptance Speech