increase the pool of students interested in science and engineering. It is critical to infuse a new generation of scientists with the knowledge, skills, creativity, versatility, and sense of wonder needed to meet the challenges ahead.
Along with the six scientific challenges for CMMP that are identified in this report, the challenge to educate the next generation of scientists and citizens is equally important. In further refinement of this challenge, the Committee on CMMP 2010 identified three key issues: how to educate the next generation of CMMP researchers, how to attract talented people to the field, and how to increase the scientific literacy of the general public and of school-age children. These three issues are addressed below.
Regarding the education of the next generation of CMMP researchers, the research community perceives that significant changes have occurred in the field during the past decade and that these changes have had and will continue to have implications for the education of this next generation. Growing interdisciplinarity at the frontiers of CMMP is evident in all the scientific challenges discussed in this report, including the nanoworld, emergent and far-from-equilibrium phenomena, energy for the future, the physics of life, and the evolution of the information age. This interdisciplinarity is manifested as a broadening of the interface between CMMP and other areas of physics and also other disciplines, such as chemistry, biology, mathematics, and computer science. More exposure to these fields is therefore needed in the undergraduate and graduate educational programs of students who might be seeking careers in CMMP. Such interdisciplinary education should include both formal course work and hands-on exposure to how research is done in these fields, as well as an introduction to the vocabulary and culture of these diverse fields as they are now practiced in their interface with CMMP. This new emphasis is believed to be essential for working at the cutting edge of CMMP in the coming decade and beyond.
The great challenge that faces the academic community thus is to create an undergraduate curriculum that balances the need for breadth against the depth of the traditional physics culture, from which the community draws its strength. Innovative, experimental approaches to this problem should be encouraged, as should more flexible curricula that can transmit at least part of the physicist’s intellectual style to students considering careers in areas such as business, finance, and law. There is a strong sentiment that the achievements and experience level of students receiving undergraduate and graduate degrees in U.S. universities must be very thorough and fully competitive with their counterparts in the best universities worldwide. The implementation of these new educational directions for students and faculty in an exciting way, without increasing the length of undergraduate, graduate, and postdoctoral programs, is a significant challenge.
Attracting top-level talent to CMMP is identified as the second significant challenge to the field. It is expected that transforming the undergraduate educational