C. Fiolhais, M. Fiolhais, P. Alberto, J. Paiva, J. Trindade, Miguel Marques, J. Bandeira and others.

Main goal:

To study, in a practical context, the new opportunities that computational means offer for teaching the basic sciences and to increase, through the use of computers, networks (Internet), etc. the popular understanding of science.

Short description:

Since 1988 we have been strongly committed, in the framework both of the Theoretical Physics Centre and the Portuguese Physical Society, to the analysis, development, diffusion, and use study of software for teaching Physics, in particular, and science, in general (encompassing mainly Chemistry and Mathematics). A meeting, with international participation, on "Computers for Teaching Physics and Chemistry" was organised in Coimbra in 1990. Following this meeting, a partnership of the Portuguese Societies for Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics was built (SOFTSCIENCES), which has produced 18 programs for teaching in secondary schools and in the first years of the university. The national impact of this common action has been enormous. A CD-ROM (entitled OMNISCIENCE 97) containing all these programs and some other material (multimedia, WWW pages, databases, etc.) has been produced and is being distributed, with the support of the Ministry for Science and Technology. A new chair on "Computers for Teaching Physics" was introduced in the course on physics for future teachers.


Summary of the planned activity for the next six years:

* Software for studying physics and chemistry (e.g., chemical equilibrium) namely by advanced modelling and simulation * Multimedia for learning Physics ("Physics is Fun", "Periodic Table Multimedia", "Museum of Physics", the latter being an approved Praxis XXI project) * Internet for Teaching Physics and Chemistry (the project READ Sciences - Resources for Teaching, Learning and Popularising Sciences, located at, has been a great success and has obtained the support of the Ministry for Science and Technology) * Analysis and evaluation of Educational Physics software, including the development of a database * Virtual worlds for teaching Physics, with a focus on virtual reality.