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Richard Steinberg

Faculty and Staff Profiles

Richard Steinberg

Program Director, Science Education


Additional Departments/Affiliated Programs::

NAC 5/205B; MR 413
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Richard Steinberg is Professor in the School of Education and the Department of Physics and Program Director of Science Education at City College of New York. He received a Ph.D. in applied physics and a high school science teaching certificate from Yale University. For 25 years his activities have included physics / science education research, innovative instruction, teacher education, outreach to local schools, and a sabbatical year as a full time science teacher in a public high school in New York City. He has published dozens of books, refereed articles, and curricula and has received funding from the National Science Foundation, the Fund for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, the National Academy of Education, and the New York State Department of Education. Topics have ranged from elementary school science to quantum mechanics. He is an APS Fellow, CCNY Teacher of the Year, CCNY Provost’s Prize for Pedagogical and Curricular Innovation winner, and Spencer Postdoctoral Fellow recipient.


Teacher Certification, City College of New York (2007)
Ph.D., Applied Physics, Yale University (1992)
Teacher Certification, Teacher Preparation Program, Yale University (1992)
M.S., Physics, Yale University (1987)
B.S., Physics and Mathematics, State University of New York at Binghamton (1986)

Courses Taught

PHYS 20700:        Introductory calculus-based physics 1
PHYS 20800:        Introductory calculus-based physics 2
PHYS 31406:        Understanding science: Optics
PHYS 31407:        Understanding science: Astronomy
PHYS 32100:        Modern physics
PHYS 33300:        Development of Knowledge of Physics 1
PHYSE 33400:     Development of Knowledge of Physics 2
SCI 31491:            Principals of physical science
FIQWS 10047:      Understanding science through understanding the universe

EDSE 3100E:       Teaching strategies in secondary science
EDSE 3900I:        Curriculum and instruction in science education
EDSE 0202I:        Master’s Project: Science
EDSE 0600G:       Student Teacher Supervision
PHYSE 1401E:     Development of Knowledge of Physics 1
PHYSE 1402E:     Development of Knowledge of Physics 2
SCIE 0400E:         Laboratory and Demonstration Techniques in Physical Science
SCIE 1403E:         Physical Science for Middle School Teachers 1
SCIE 1404E:         Physical Science for Middle School Teachers 2

Research Interests

Science, physics education: research and development aimed at improving how students learn physics/science;innovative instruction;teacher education;outreach.


“Targeted courses in inquiry science for future elementary school teachers,” R.N. Steinberg, Y. Wyner, G. Borman, and I. Salame, Journal of College Science Teaching 44, 48-53 (2015).

“Making sense of how students interpret atomic representations,” I.I. Salame, S. Sarowar, S. Begum, and R.N. Steinberg, Journal of Academic Perspectives 14 (2014).

“Understanding and affecting science teacher candidates’ scientific reasoning in introductory astrophysics,” R.N. Steinberg and S. Cormier, Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 9, 020111 (2013).

“Where the rubber meets the road,” R.N. Steinberg, The Huffington Post, (2012)

“An inquiry into science education, where the rubber meets the road,” R.N. Steinberg, Rotterdam NL: Sense Publishing (2011).

"The twin twin paradox: Exploring student approaches to understanding relativistic concepts,” S. Cormier and R.N. Steinberg, Phys. Teach. 48, 598-601 (2010).

“CLUSTER: University-Science Center Partnership for Science Teacher Preparation,” L.J. Saxman, P. Gupta, and R.N. Steinberg, The New Educator 6, 280-296 (2010).

“Probing student understanding of scientific thinking in the context of introductory astrophysics,” R.N. Steinberg, S. Cormier, and A. Fernandez, Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 5, 020104 (2009).

“Away from the ivory tower: Real challenges teaching high school physics in an urban environment,” R.N. Steinberg, invited article inForum on Education Newsletter, American Physical Society (Fall, 2008).

“Activity-Based Tutorials: Vol. 1. Introductory Physics,” M.C. Wittmann, R.N. Steinberg, and E.F. Redish, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (2004).

“Activity-Based Tutorials: Vol. 2. Modern Physics,” M.C. Wittmann, R.N. Steinberg, and E.F. Redish, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. (2004).

“Effects of computer-based laboratory instruction on future teachers’ understanding of the nature of science,” R.N. Steinberg, J. Comp. Math. Sci. Teach. 23:1, 185-205 (2004).

“Understanding and affecting student understanding about sound waves,” M.C. Wittmann, R.N. Steinberg, and E.F. Redish, Inter. J. Sci. Ed. 25, 991-1013 (2003).

“Physics education research-based reform at a multicultural institution,” R.N. Steinberg and K. Donnelly, Phys. Teach. 40, 108-114 (2002).

“Investigating student understanding of quantum physics: Spontaneous models of conductivity,” M.C. Wittmann, R.N. Steinberg, and E.F. Redish, Am. J. Phys. 70, 218-226 (2002).

“From students to teachers: Understanding how teachers learn and teach science,” R.N. Steinberg and S.A. Rosenberg, invited articleNational Society of Black Physicists Newsletter (Fall, 2001).

“Research-based instructional software in modern physics,” R.N. Steinberg and G.E. Oberem, J. Comp. Math. Sci. Teach. 19:2, 115-136 (2000).

“Physics education research and instructional reform beyond the introductory level,” R.N. Steinberg, invited article in Forum on Education Newsletter, American Physical Society (Fall, 2000).

“Computers in teaching science: To simulate or not to simulate?” R.N. Steinberg, Phys. Ed. Res. Suppl. to Am. J. Phys. 68, S37-S41 (2000).

“Teaching physics: Figuring out what works,” E.F. Redish and R.N. Steinberg, Phys. Today 52(1), 24-30 (1999).

“Making sense of how students make sense of mechanical waves,” M.C. Wittmann, R.N. Steinberg, and E.F. Redish, Phys. Teach. 37, 15-21 (1999).

“The influence of student understanding of classical physics when learning quantum mechanics,” R.N. Steinberg, M.C. Wittmann, Lei Bao, and E.F. Redish, invited session on Research on the Teaching and Learning of Quantum Sciences, NARST Annual Meeting, Boston, March, 1999; published at

“An investigation of student understanding of single-slit diffraction and double-slit interference,” B.S. Ambrose, P.S. Shaffer, R.N. Steinberg, and L.C. McDermott, Am. J. Phys. 67, 146-155 (1999).

“Photoelectric Tutor,” G.E. Oberem and R.N. Steinberg, Physics Academic Software, American Institute of Physics (1998).

“Student expectations in introductory physics,” E.F. Redish, J.M. Saul, and R.N. Steinberg, Am. J. Phys. 66, 212-224 (1998).

“Performance on multiple-choice diagnostics and complementary exam problems,” R.N. Steinberg and M.S. Sabella, Phys. Teach. 35, 150-155 (1997).

“The distribution and change of student expectations in introductory physics,” E.F. Redish, R.N. Steinberg, and J.M. Saul, invited presentation published in AIP conference proceedings 399, 689-697 (1997).

“Mathematical tutorials in introductory physics,” R.N. Steinberg, M.C. Wittmann, and E.F. Redish, invited presentation published in AIP conference proceedings 399, 1075-1092 (1997).

“On the effectiveness of active-engagement microcomputer-based laboratories,” E.F. Redish, J.M. Saul, and R.N. Steinberg, Am. J. Phys.65, 45-54 (1997).

“Development of a computer-based tutorial on the photoelectric effect,” R.N. Steinberg, G.E. Oberem, and L.C. McDermott, Am. J. Phys.64, 1370-1379 (1996).

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