Eric Kuo

Eric Kuo
Eric Kuo he/him/his

Primary Research Area

  • Physics Education
Assistant Professor
309 Loomis Laboratory


Eric Kuo received bachelor's degrees in physics and mathematics from Brandeis University in 2008. After a brief stint teaching high school physics, he began his graduate work at the University of Maryland, where he received his Ph.D. in physics in 2013. After working as a postdoctoral researcher at Stanford University and as a research associate at the University of Pittsburgh, he joined the physics department at Illinois in 2020. Professor Kuo takes an interdisciplinary approach to the study of teaching and learning, drawing on research in other fields, such as the learning sciences, psychology, and cognitive science, to study the dynamics of learning and to develop models of how physics students think. He applies these models to tackle a broad range of issues related to physics education, with a strong focus on mathematical reasoning, causal reasoning, and problem solving.

Undergraduate Research Opportunities

I'm always looking to work with undergrad and grad students interested in physics education research. If you'd like to discuss possible opportunities or have any questions, please send me an email. Students working with me can expect to gain a background in theories of learning and quantitative/qualitative methodologies for examining physics education. My research team welcomes individuals with diverse backgrounds, experiences, and ideas who embrace and value diversity and inclusivity.

Research Interests

  • Mathematical reasoning in physics
  • Adaptive problem-solving expertise
  • Causal Bayesian Networks
  • Student epistemological views on what it means to learn and understand physics
  • The impacts of motivation on physics learning
  • Applying learning theories to design physics instruction and assessment

Selected Articles in Journals

  • Kuo, E., Hull, M. M., Elby, A., & Gupta, A. (2020). Assessing mathematical sensemaking in physics through calculation-concept crossover. Physical Review Physics Education Research, 16(2), 020109.
  • Wallace, T. L., & Kuo, E. (2020). Publishing qualitative research in the Journal of Educational Psychology: Synthesizing research perspectives across methodological silos [Editorial]. Journal of Educational Psychology, 112(3), 579-583.
  • Kuo, E., & Wallace, T. L. (2020). Introduction to the special section: Qualitative studies of reasoning and participation. Journal of Educational Psychology, 112(3), 417-419.
  • Conlin, L.D., Kuo, E., & Hallinen, N.R. (2019). How null results can be significant for physics education research. Physical Review Physics Education Research, 15(2), 020104.
  • Kuo, E., Hallinen, N.R., & Conlin, L.D. (2017). When procedures discourage insight: Epistemological consequences of prompting novice physics students to construct force diagrams. International Journal of Science Education, 39(7), 814-839.
  • Kuo, E. & Wieman, C.E. (2016). Toward instructional design principles: inducing Faraday's law with contrasting cases. Physical Review Physics Education Research, 12(1), 010128.
  • Kuo, E. & Wieman, C.E. (2015). Seeking instructional specificity: an example from analogical instruction. Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research, 11(2), 020133.
  • Redish, E.F. & Kuo, E. (2015). Language of physics, language of math: Disciplinary culture and dynamic epistemology. Science and Education, 24(5-6), 561-590.
  • Hull, M., Kuo, E., Gupta, A., & Elby, A. (2013). Problem-solving rubrics revisited: Attending to the blending of informal conceptual and formal mathematical reasoning. Physical Review Special Topics - Physics Education Research, 9(1), 010105.
  • Kuo, E., Hull, M.M., Gupta, A., & Elby, A. (2013). How students blend conceptual and formal mathematical reasoning in solving physics problems. Science Education, 97(1), 32-57.

Recent Courses Taught

  • PHYS 100 - Thinking About Physics
  • PHYS 211 - University Physics: Mechanics
  • PHYS 325 - Classical Mechanics I
  • PHYS 598 PER - Special Topics in Physics

Semesters Ranked Excellent Teacher by Students

Spring 2023PHYS 325
Fall 2021PHYS 100
Spring 2021PHYS 211