Eric M. Rogers

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Eric M. Rogers
Photograph of the head, shoulders, and hands of a man standing in front of a blackboard. The man is smiling and staring at this hands, which are at to the left of his face in the photograph; he is apparently using his hands to explain something. The fingers of his left hand are pointing upwards. His right hand is above his left, with its fingertips pointing downwards and touching the matching fingertips of his left hand. The two hands thus form an enclosure. He is dressed in a tweed jacket with a necktie. There is a diagram chalked on the blackboard.
Rogers demonstrating in the film Coulomb's Law (1959).
Born (1902-08-15)15 August 1902
Bickley, United Kingdom
Died 1 July 1990(1990-07-01)
Cambridge, United Kingdom
Nationality British
Occupation physics educator and author
Known for Physics for the Inquiring Mind

Eric M. Rogers (15 August 1902 – 1 July 1990) was a British author and physics educator.[1] He is perhaps best known for his 1960 textbook Physics for the Inquiring Mind.[2] The book, subtitled The Methods, Nature, and Philosophy of Physical Science, was based on courses he gave at Princeton University, where he taught from 1942 to 1971.[3] Rogers also headed the Nuffield Science Teaching Project program in physics education in the 1960s.

Life and work[edit]

Eric Rogers was born on 15 August 1902 at Bickley, Kent. His father, Charles Knight Rogers was a publisher for the International News Co Ltd. Eric Rogers went to Bedales School from 1916 to 1921. Bedales school and its founder John Haden Badley had a strong influence on Rogers . At Bedales school Eric Rogers was involved in various ventures, and during his last year at the school was elected as the Head Boy, and Editor of the school magazine.

Rogers went to Trinity College, Cambridge gaining first class honours both in Mathematics Tripos Part 1 in 1922 and Natural Science Tripos Part 2 in 1924. He was elected a senior scholar in 1923. He did a short term of research and teaching in the Cavendish Laboratory from 1924–1925, which ended in his posting as physics master and assistant house master at Clifton College, Bristol. He remained there from 1925 to 1928.

In 1928 Rogers joined Bedales school a physics teacher and boys' house-master. Here Eric Rogers met Janet Drummond a history teacher. They became engaged in April 1930, and eloped before the term ended to get married on 14 June 1930.

After this Eric Rogers became an instructor in physics at Harvard University for two years. Eric Rogers returned to England in 1932 and joined Charterhouse as physics master, until 1937.

In 1937 he went back to USA to join the Putney School for three years. He was then appointed at Mount Holyoke College (1940–41) and St. Paul's, Concorde (1941–42). In 1942 he joined Princeton University as associate professor. Rogers retired as professor from Princeton University in 1971.

Eric Rogers was also a member of the Physical Sciences Study Committee (PSSC). In 1962 he became a consultant on the Nuffield O-Level physics project, and he became the organizer of the project in 1963. He had a considerable impact on the project.[4][5]

Eric Rogers' wife and sister died in 1971 and 1972 respectively, which disrupted his retirement plans. Eric Rogers died on 1 July 1990 in Cambridge.

Wonder and Delight, published in 1994 (Institute of Physics), is a book dedicated to the works and philosophy of Eric Rogers. The book's subtitle is Essays in Science Education in honour of the life and work of Eric Rogers (1902–1990). A biography of Eric Rogers was included.[3]


In 1969 Eric Rogers received the Oersted Medal, which is given by the American Association of Physics Teachers.[6] In 1980 he became the inaugural recipient of the Physics Education Medal, awarded by the International Commission on Physics Education, and in 1985 he was given the Bragg Medal of the Institute of Physics.[7][8] Eric Rogers was a fellow of the Institute of Physics, the American Physical Society, and a member of the European Physical Society.

Selected writings[edit]



  1. ^ "Eric M. Rogers, 87; Teacher Humanized Physics' Complexity". The New York Times. 11 July 1990. 
  2. ^ Rogers, Eric M. (1960). Physics For The Inquiring Mind. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-691-08016-X. 
  3. ^ a b Fuller, Keith (1994). "Eric Rogers 1902-1990". In Jennison, Brenda; Ogborn, Jon. Wonder and Delight: Essays in Science Education. Bristol and Philadelphia: Institute of Physics. p. 203. ISBN 0-7503-0315-8. 
  4. ^ Woolnough, Brian E. (1988). Physics Teaching in Schools, 1960–85: Of People, Policy, and Power. Studies in Curriculum History. 8. London/New York: Falmer. pp. 97–98. ISBN 9781850002024. 
  5. ^ Lewis, John L. (1994). "Eric Rogers and the Nuffield Physics Project". In Jennison, Brenda; Ogborn, Jon. Wonder and Delight: Essays in Science Education in honour of the life and work of Eric Rogers 1902–1990. Bristol/Philadelphia: Institute of Physics Publishing. pp. 153–62. ISBN 9780750303156. 
  6. ^ "Eric M. Rogers: Oersted Medalist for 1969". Am. J. Phys. 37 (10): 953–954. 1969. Bibcode:1969AmJPh..37..953.. doi:10.1119/1.1975216. 
  7. ^ "Eric M. Rogers Physics Education Medalist 1980". Proceedings of the International Conference on Education for Physics Teaching 1980: 80–81. 1981. 
  8. ^ "Eric M. Rogers: Bragg Medalist 1985". Phys. Bull. 36: 153. 1985.