Muller Alain

M. Alain Müller

Chargé d'enseignement

103 - Pavillon Mail
+41 22 379 04 04

Chair of Science Education, University of Geneva, Faculty of Science and Institute of Teacher Education




Studies in Heidelberg, Grenoble, and Göttingen ((Ger, F)

PhD at Max-Planck-Institute of Nuclear Physics / Heidelberg, 1990

Habilitation at Institute of Physics Education/University of Gießen (Ger), 1996

former positions:

10/1997 – 11/1999    Post-doc at the Institut für Pädagogik der Naturwissenschaften (IPN), Kiel

12/1999 7/2010         Chair of Physics and Physics Education, University Koblenz-Landau (Ger)


married to Dr. Dietlind Schleiermacher (medical doctor), 3 children




Type d’enseignement



cours  (annuel)

Didactique de la discipline: Science de la Nature

master (MASE,  Master of Arts in Secondary Education)

séminaire (annuel)


Didactique de la discipline: Science de la Nature. Séminaire de Recherche

cours (annuel)


La Physique du Quotidien et La Physique Du Quotidien, avec une Focale sur la Physique de la Musique* )

bachelor et master physique

séminaire (annuel)

Research group seminar  « Science Education »

doctoral et post-doctoral



–      Science Education Doctoral Programme (interinstitutionnel : avec CERN, U Kaiserslautern HEP St. Gallen)

–      Swiss Doctoral School of Science Education (depuis 2015)

–      Programme doctoral suisse en didactique disciplinaire/swissuniversities (Sigriswil, 2017)

formations continues (FC): enseignants, formateurs, médiateurs scientifiques)

FCs pour formateurs der terrain des didactiques de la physique et de la chimie

2014/15 : Psychologie cognitive et enseignement des sciences ; Cooperative and collaborative learning ; Heuristiques, préconceptions et erreurs en didactique des sciences 

2015/16 : Tâches, exercices, problèmes comme dispositifs didactiques: Apports par la recherche

2016/17 : Diagnostic, évaluation : outils ; Nouveaux moyens d'expérimentation en classe

2017/18 Physique (et chimie) et mathématiques : liens, obstacles et perspectives didactiques ; Sciences du Quotidien

2018/19 : Situation-problème : pratique, recherche, discussion

2019/20 : Online teaching & learning


FCs pour des enseignant-e-s dans le programme du DIP genevois** :

2015/16 :

– La cosmologie – histoire,  actualité, enjeux didactiques 

– Les smartphones et tablettes numériques comme moyen d’expérimentation


– Le raisonnement par ordre de grandeur

– Stellarium Gornergrat - un observatoire astronomique piloté à distance destiné aux enseignant-e-s et aux élèves

2017/18 :

– Cosmologie moderne et relativité générale : activités pour les élèves du secondaire II ;

– Littérature et Sciences 

– Nanosciences

2018/19 : Smartphones et tablettes numériques comme moyens d'expérimentation


*avec J. Rougemont, A. Sfyrla, D. van der Marel


** selon la thématique en coopération avec plusieures collegues : N. Chiaruttini, L. Darmendrail, H. Hagemann, A. Gasparini, S. Gschwind, P. Klein, J. Lacki, C. Loretan, D. Perret, F. Rossi. 




Areas of Expertise and Interest


a)       Research-based development and empirical research in science education and science teacher education, in particular concerning physics, e.g. about: role of tasks and experiments in science learning; mobile devices and other ICT for physics learning; conceptual learning; interdisciplinary connections­ physics education - general science education. See e.g.


Keller, O., Benoit, M., Müller, A., & Schmeling, S. (2019). Smartphone and Tablet-Based Sensing of Environmental Radioactivity: Mobile Low-Cost Measurements for Monitoring, Citizen Science, and Educational Purposes. Sensors, 19(19), 4264.


Hochberg, K., Kuhn, J., & Müller, A. (2018). Using Smartphones as Experimental Tools – Effects on Interest, Curiosity, and Learning in Physics Education. Journal of Science Education and Technology, 27, 385-403.


Müller, A. (2019). Physics Education Research - An Applied Science (part 2). Progress in Physics no. 68. Communications of the Swiss Physical Society, 59, 25-29.


Müller, A. (2019). Physics Education Research - An Applied Science (part 1). Progress in Physics no. 68. Communications of the Swiss Physical Societ, 58, 28-33.


Stern, F., Delaval, M., Kampourakis, K., Müller, A. (2020). Implicit Associations of teleology and essentialism concepts with genetics concepts among secondary school students. PLoS ONE 15 (11): e0242189.


Scheid, J., Müller, A., Hettmannsperger, R., & Schnotz, W. (2019). Improving learners’ representational coherence ability with experiment-related representational activity tasks. Physical Review Physics Education Research, 15(1), 010142.


b)      Improvement of general interest for and understanding of physics/science (“public understanding of science”), eg. by out-of-school learning offers. See e.g.


– Stellarium Gornergrat:


– Green Breath Box:


– Climatizens:


c)       Physics/science of everyday phenomena, hands-on-experiments, order-of-magnitude reasoning; see e.g.


Darmendrail, L., & Müller, A. (2020). Helmholtz in the kitchen: a frying pan as a volume resonator. European Journal of Physics, 41(3), 035804.


Darmendrail, L., & Müller, A. (2021). Standing Vertical Jumps–Sports Physics with a Smartphone. The Physics Teacher, 59(4), 264-267.


*Klein, P., Müller, A., Molz, A., Gröber, S., & Kuhn, J. (2017). Rotational and frictional dynamics of the slamming of a door. American Journal of Physics, 85, 30-37.


*Müller, A., Hirth, M., & Kuhn, J. (2016). Tunnel Pressure Waves – A Mobile Phone Inquiry on a Rail Travel. The Physics Teacher, 54, 118-119.


*Müller, A., Vogt, P., Kuhn, J., & Müller, M. (2015). Cracking knuckles – A smartphone inquiry on bioacoustics. The Physics Teacher, 53, 307-308.


Müller, A., & Loretan, C. (2016). Fermi in the Woods. The Physics Teacher, 54, 383-84.


Müller, A. (2011). The dream of transmutation of common material to silver: An example of a hands-on science experiment. The Physics Teacher, 49, 179-180.


Approved research projects and grants (since 2010)


running projects



Physics learning tasks with visual aesthetic aspects – Impact on motivation and learning

Kuhn-Foundation for Physics Education; PI (PhD fellowship, 100’000 EUR)


Green Breath Box: Insights into biogeochemical cycles, environment, and sustainability. Swiss National Foundation, program AGORA; co-PI, PI: V. Slaveykova (194’000 CHF)


PriSE – Progress in Science Education (international, multilingual, Swiss-based research journal in science education) swissuniversities, sous-projet 1 « Développement des compétences scientifiques dans le domaine des didactiques disciplinaires » (cooperation St. Gall (Lead), Geneva, Locarno, Lucerne); co-PI


completed projects




COBALT – Context-Based Science Learning and Teaching. swissuniversities, sous-projet 1 « Développement des compétences scientifiques dans le domaine des didactiques disciplinaires » (cooperation Geneva (Lead),  Lucerne, St. Gall); PI (660’000 CHF, from which 1/3 in Geneva)



Genetic determinism, human intuitions, and genetics literacy. Swiss National Foundation (cooperation with biology education, with K. Kampourakis, B. Strasser); PI (461’000 CHF)



Stellarium Gornergrat – Educational Modules. A German-Swiss cooperation project for the extension and dissemination of educational modules of the Stellarium Gornergrat (a remote controlled astronomical observatory for educational purposes). Kuhn Foundation for Physics Education; PI (200’000 EUR)



Out-of-School Laboratories for High School Students, Kuhn-Foundation for Physics Education; part-time leave of a teacher-developer, PI (14’000 EUR)



DFG Graduate School Teaching & Learning Processes. Interdisciplinary graduate school with the participation of Psychology, Educational Science (“Empirische Pädagogik”) and Discipline related education research (“Fachdidaktiken”);  German research Council / Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG); co-PI; since 2010 associated member  (total 2.800.000 EUR, physics education research part 400.000 EUR)



1. – 4. Swiss Doctoral School of Science Education: swissuniversities and ETH Zurich / CSF – Congressi Stefano Franscini (CSF) (cooperation Lucerne, Geneva, St. Gall, Zürich); PI and co-PI (10’000 – 20’000 CHF per year)



iMobile Physics: Smartphones and other new media devices as physics laboratiesWilfried-und Ingrid-Kuhn-Foundation for Physics Education (in cooperation with the university of Kaiserlautern); PI (230’000 EUR)




current work:  see „Axes de Recherche“

full list: lind to 220105 publications A. Müller_APA.pdf



a)       Head of Science Education Group (together with B. Strasser), Faculty of Science, University of Geneva

b)      Representative of the Faculty of Science, University of Geneva in the COIMBRA network of European universities

c)       Initiator and co-founder of the Swiss Doctoral School of Science Education

d)      Co-founder and co-editor of the journal PriSE – Progress in Science Education        


board memberships

e)       Swiss Physical Society (Board Member for Physics Education)

f)       Swiss Association of Science Education (DiNat)

g)      European Physical Society/Physics Education Board


h)      editorial and reviewer activities in international peer-reviewed journals, e.g.

– PLOS One,

– Eur. J.  Phys.,

– Prog. Sci. Educ.



Current Members (see also PhD students)

Alice Gasparini (senior post-doc and physics teacher)

Jean-Sébastien Graulich (lecturer and physics teacher)

Stéphane Gschwind (project fellow and physics teacher)

Murièle Jacquier (lecturer and physics teacher)

Kostas Kampourakis (senior scientist and lecturer)

Claudio Lucchesi (lecturer and physics teacher)

Laurence McKinnon (lecturer and physics teacher)

Sébastien Roch (physics teacher)

Florian Stern (senior post-doc)

Serag Tawfik (lecturer and chemistry teacher)


Former Members (see also PhD students)

Marine Delaval (post-doc)

Alain Grundisch (lecturer)

Rosa Hettmansperger (post-doc)

Marco Meris  (lecturer)

Laura Weiss (lecturer and senior scientist)


Current PhD students

Merten Dahlkemper; CERN/University of Göttingen (co-supervisor)

Tatjana Lamparter; Ludwig-Maximilian-University Münich (co-supervisor)

Silvia Havlena; University of Salzburg (co-supervisor)

Daniela Schriebl; HEP of St. Gall/University of Geneva (supervisor)

Oliver Keller; CERN/University of Geneva (supervisor)

Julien da Costa; University of Geneva (co-supervisor)

Luis Darmendrail (supervisor)

Cedric Loretan, University of Geneva (supervisor)



Former PhD Students

Alice Gasparini; University of Geneva (supervisor)

Florian Stern; University of Geneva (supervisor)

Julia Woithe; CERN/University of Kaiserslautern (co-supervisor)

Florian Simon; Helmholtz Centre Dresden-Rossendorf and TU Dresden (co-supervisor)

Michael Hirth; Technical University Kaiserslautern/Ger (co-supervisor)

Pascal Klein; Technical University Kaiserslautern/Ger (co-supervisor)

Alexander Molz; Technical University Kaiserslautern/Ger (co-supervisor)

Rebecca Cors; HEP St. Gall/University of Geneva (supervisor)

Katrin Hochberg; Technical University Kaiserslautern/Ger (co-Supervisor)

Alwine Lenzner, University of Landau (co-supervisor)

Jochen Scheid, University of Landau (supervisor)

Rosa Hettmansperger, University of Landau (co-supervisor)

Thomas Poth, University of Landau (supervisor)

Patrick Vogt, University of Landau (supervisor)

Jochen Kuhn, University of Landau (co-supervisor)

Enseignant-es et collaborateurs/trices