Michael Zeilik


Dr. Zeilik is a pioneer in physics and astronomy education research in introductory classes for non-science majors. His published educational materials now reflect insights for effective learning based on his research and those of others.

He was a founding member of the Collaboration for Astronomy Education Research (CAER), which developed the Astronomy Diagnostic Test (ADT) for introductory astronomy courses. CAER memebrs also carried out the first national survey of introductory astronomy courses in the USA.

Biographical Sketch

Dr. Michael Zeilik is a Professor Emeritus of Physics and Astronomy at the University of New Mexico. In his teaching, he specialized in introductory courses for the novice, non-science major student. He is a pioneer in astronomy education research at the university level. He has been supported by grants from the National Science Foundation, NASA, the Exxon Educational Foundation, and the Slipher Fund of the National Academy of Sciences for innovations in astronomy education, astronomy for the general public, and astronomy workshops for in-service teachers. He has received about $4 million in grant and contract support.

Dr. Zeilik's research activities have recently focused on a cognitive approach to teaching science. He has published four books, over 100 professional articles, and given over 200 talks to professional and lay audiences.

Dr. Zeilik earned his A. B. in Physics with honors at Princeton University and his M. A. and Ph. D. in Astronomy at Harvard University. He has been a Woodrow Wilson Fellow, a National Science Foundation Fellow, and a Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory Predoctoral Fellow. At the University of New Mexico, he has been named a Presidential Lecturer, the highest award for all-around performance by a faculty member.

Dr. Zeilik has published four books used internationally: Astronomy: The Evolving Universe (9th edition, Cambridge University Press, 2002), Astronomy: The Cosmic Perspective with J. Gaustad (2nd edition, Wiley, 1990), Conceptual Astronomy (1st edition, Wiley, 1993), and Introductory Astronomy and Astrophysics with S. Gregory (4th edition, Saunders, 1998).

The 8th edition of Evolving Universe won a 1997 Texty Award from the Text and Academic Authors Association; the 9th edition a 2003 Texty. In 2002, the American Astronomical Society awarded him its Astronomy Education Prize. In 2003, The American Association presented him with the award for Excellence in Introductory College Physics Teaching.

Selected Works

Interactive Lesson Guide for Astronomy: Cooperative Learning Activities, 2nd edition
Another quality product in the Active Learning Astronomy Series
Insights into the Universe (2003)
Edited by Timothy F. Slater and Michael Zeilik. This book is a collection of AstroNotes columns and related articles from The Physics Teacher.
Astronomy: The Evolving Universe (9th edition)
Revised and streamlined, this edition features materials based on astronomy education research.
Introductory Astronomy and Astrophysics (4th edition)
A classic revised and updated with co-author Steve Gregory.

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