Frederick Reif




Personal information

      Emeritus professor of physics and education.

          (University of California at Berkeley & Carnegie Mellon University)



Brief biography


Born in Vienna, Austria.



1941 - :



Columbia College (and US Army)


Harvard University (Ph.D. in physics, 1953)


University of Chicago


(Assistant professor of physics)


University of California at Berkeley


(Professor of physics and education)


Carnegie Mellon University


(Professor of physics and education)


Emeritus professor


Selected publications

Condensed-matter physics

Reif, F. & Purcell, E. M. (1953).  Nuclear magnetic resonance in solid hydrogen.  Physical Review, 91, 631.

Reif, F. (1955).  Nuclear magnetic resonance studies of imperfect ionic crystals.  Physical Review, 100, 1597.

Reif, F. (1957).  Study of superconducting Hg by nuclear magnetic resonance  techniques.  Physical Review, 106, 208.

Cohen, M. H. & Reif, F. (1957).  Quadrupole effects in nuclear magnetic  resonance studies of solids.  In F. Seitz (Ed.), Solid state physics,  vol. 5, pp. 321-438.  New York:  Academic Press.

Reif, F. & Meyer, L. (1960).  Study of superfluidity in liquid He by ion motion.  Physical Review, 119, 1164.

Rayfield, G. W. & Reif, F. (1964).  Quantized vortex rings in superfluid  helium.  Physical Review, 136, A 1194.  

Reif, F. (1965).  Fundamentals of statistical and thermal physics. New York:  McGraw-Hill.

Reif, F. (1967).  Statistical Physics (Berkeley Physics Course, volume 5). New York:  McGraw-Hill.

Surko, C. M., Packard, R. E., Dick, G. J., & Reif, F. (1970).  Spectroscopic study of the luminescence of liquid helium in the vacuum ultraviolet. Physical Review Letters, 24, 657.

Reif, F. (1970).  Experimental study of superfluid helium from a microscopic point of view:  Ions, vortices, and "excitons".  In N. Wiser & D. J. Amit, (Eds.), Quantum fluids, pp. 165-249.  New York:  Gordon and Breach.

Reif, F.  (1999). Thermal physics in the introductory physics course: Why and how to teach it from a unified atomic perspective.  American Journal of Physics, 67, 1051-1062.


Cognitive science and education

Reif, F. (1969).  Science education for non-science students.  Science,  164, 1032.

Reif, F. (1974).  Educational challenges for the University.  Science,  184, 537-542.

Reif, F., Larkin, J. H., & Brackett, G. C. (1976).  Teaching general learning and problem-solving skills.  American Journal of Physics, 44, 212-217.

Larkin, J. H. & Reif, F. (1976).  Analysis and teaching of a general skill for studying scientific text.  Journal of Educational Psychology, 68, 431-440.

Reif, F., & St. John, M. (1979).  Teaching physicists' thinking skills in the laboratory.  American Journal of Physics, 47, 950-957.

Eylon, B. & Reif, F. (1984). Effects of knowledge organization on task performance. Cognition and Instruction, 1, 5-44.

Heller, J. I. & Reif, F. (1984).  Prescribing effective human problem-solving processes:  Problem description in physics.  Cognition and Instruction, 1, 177-216.

Labudde, P., Reif, F., & Quinn, L. (1988).  Facilitation of scientific concept learning by interpretation procedures and diagnosis.  International Journal of Science Education, 10, 81-98.

Reif, F. & Larkin, J. H. (1991).  Cognition in scientific and everyday domains:  Comparison and learning implications.  Journal of Research in Science Teaching, 28, 733-760.

Reif, F. & Allen, S. (1992).  Cognition for interpreting scientific concepts:  A study of acceleration.  Cognition and Instruction, 9, 1-44.

Reif, F. (1995).  Millikan Lecture 1994:  Understanding and teaching important scientific thought processes.  American Journal of Physics, 63, 17-32.

Reif, F. & Scott, L. A. (1999). Teaching scientific thinking skills: Students and computers coaching each other. American Journal of Physics, 67, 819-831.

Bhavnani, S. K., Peck, F. A., and Reif, F. (2008, May). Strategy-Based Instruction: Lessons Learned in Teaching the Effective and Efficient Use of Computer Applications. ACM Transactions on Computer-Human Interaction, 15 (1), 2:1-2:43.

Reif, F. (2008). Applying cognitive science to education: Thinking and learning in scientific and other complex domains. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.