Magdalena Kersting

Image of Magdalena Kersting
Norwegian version of this page
Visiting address Moltke Moes vei 35 Niels Henrik Abels hus 0851 OSLO
Postal address Postboks 1099 Blindern 0317 OSLO
Other affiliations Department of physics
I am an educational researcher and physics educator with a particular interest in embodied meaning-making processes. In my research, I study how learners experience abstract knowledge in digital and virtual learning environments in formal and informal learning contexts. To understand learning processes in science, I approach my research with curiosity and an openness to theoretical and methodological approaches from other disciplines, among them philosophy, cognitive science, and the learning sciences. This intellectual openness and curiosity across disciplines is one of the reasons I find science education research so exciting.
Currently, I hold a position as a postdoctoral researcher in project LISSI to develop a framework of embodied cognition in science education and to study the quality of instructional practices in science classrooms. Previously, I developed a digital learning environment about Albert Einstein’s general theory of relativity as part of project ReleQuant.  
Please get in touch or go to my personal homepage for more information.

Research interests

  • Physics Education Research
    - Einsteinian physics education
    - sociocultural perspectives & talking physics
  • Science Education Research
    - embodied cognition in science education
    - meaning-making processes and conceptual understanding
  • Technology & Learning
    - design of digital learning environments
    - virtual reality in (in)formal learning spaces 
    - computer-supported collaborative learning
  • History & Philosophy of Science
     history & philosophy of the theory of relativity
    - nature of science & teaching science

Research methods

  • Qualitative research methods
  • Design-based research
  • Video and interaction analysis
  • Focus group and interview methods
  • Systematic metaphor analysis
  • Phenomenography


  • 2019: PhD in Physics Education, University of Oslo
  • 2018: Diploma in Public Relations Management, Freie Journalistenschule Berlin
  • 2015: Master of Science in Mathematics, University of Göttingen
  • 2012: Bachelor of Science in Mathematics, University of Göttingen
  • 2011: Bachelor of Science in Physics, University of Göttingen

Research stays

  • November 2019: Visiting researcher at the Centre of Science, Mathematics and Engineering Education Research, SMEER, Karlstad University, Sweden
  • May 2019 - June 2019: Visiting research fellow with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav) at Swinburne University, Melbourne, Australia
  • August 2018 - April 2019: Visiting research fellow with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Gravitational Wave Discovery (OzGrav) at the University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia

Selection of honors, awards & fellowships

  • 2021: Winner of the New Philosopher Writers’ Award XXX: Perception, Winning piece: The interplay between nature and ourselves

  • 2021: APS Young Leader in Physics, invited participant of the American Physical Society’s International Young Leaders Forum

  • 2021: Invited Participant at the International Summer School “Communicating Science” hosted by Wissenschaft im Dialog (WiD)

  • 2020: PhD Prize, International Astronomical Union PhD Prize for outstanding scientific achievement, Division: Education, Outreach and Heritage

  • 2020: Institute of Physics - Early Career Physics Communicator Commissioning Award 

  • 2019: Hartle Award for Best Oral Talk by a Student, GR22/Amaldi13
  • 2019: Best Oral Presentation of a Young Researcher in Physics Education, GIREP 
  • 2019: Science Studies Colloquium Series Qualification Scholarship
  • 2019: EARLI Mentoring Grant 
  • 2018: Norwegian Research Council personal overseas research grant 
  • 2018: ESERA Early Career Travel Award
  • 2017: Winner of the Science on Stage National Competition in Norway
  • 2014: DAAD Promos Mobility Stipend
  • 2011: Bachelor of Science with Distinction, University of Göttingen

Professional membership

  • ESERA, European Science Education Research Association
  • ASERA, Australasian Science Education Research Association
  • IOP, Institute of Physics
  • ISGRG, International Society of General Relativity & Gravitation
  • GIREP, International Research Group on Physics Teaching


Currently, I teach courses in science education at the Teacher Education Programme and I supervise master students in this programme, too. 

Science communication and public outreach

(selection of articles, interviews & podcasts)


Tags: Physics education, Science education, STEM, Technolog-based learning, Design-based research, history and philosophy of science, embodied cognition


  • Hughes, Theo & Kersting, Magdalena (2021). The invisibility of time dilation. Physics Education.  ISSN 0031-9120. . doi: 10.1088/1361-6552/abce02
  • Julia, Woithe & Kersting, Magdalena (2021). Bend it like dark matter!. Physics Education.  ISSN 0031-9120.  56 . doi: 10.1088/1361-6552/abe09c Full text in Research Archive.
  • Kersting, Magdalena; Haglund, Jesper & Steier, Rolf (2021). A growing body of knowledge. Science & Education.  ISSN 0926-7220. . doi: 10.1007/s11191-021-00232-z
  • Kersting, Magdalena (2020). Visualizing Four Dimensions in Special and General Relativity, In Bharath Sriraman (ed.),  Handbook of the Mathematics of the Arts and Sciences.  Springer Nature.  ISBN 978-3-319-70658-0.  chapter.
  • Kersting, Magdalena; Steier, Rolf & Venville, Grady (2020). Exploring participant engagement during an astrophysics virtual reality experience at a science festival. International Journal of Science Education, Part B: Communication and Public Engagement (IJSE).  ISSN 2154-8455. . doi: 10.1080/21548455.2020.1857458 Full text in Research Archive. Show summary
  • Kersting, Magdalena; Toellner, Richard; Blair, David & Burman, Ron (2020). Gravity and warped time – clarifying conceptual confusions in general relativity. Physics Education.  ISSN 0031-9120.  55:55 015023, s 1- 13 . doi: 10.1088/1361-6552/ab56d7
  • Choudhary, Rahul; Kraus, Ute; Kersting, Magdalena; Blair, David; Zahn, Corvin; Zadnik, Marjan & Meagher, Richard (2019). Einsteinian Physics in the Classroom: Integrating Physical and Digital Learning Resources in the Context of an International Research Collaboration. The Physics Educator.  ISSN 2661-3409.  1(4) . doi: 10.1142/s2661339519500161
  • Kersting, Magdalena (2019). Free fall in curved spacetime—how to visualise gravity in general relativity. Physics Education.  ISSN 0031-9120.  54(3), s 1- 9 . doi: 10.1088/1361-6552/ab08f5 Full text in Research Archive.
  • Kersting, Magdalena (2019). Navigating four dimensions – upper secondary students' understanding of movement in spacetime. Journal of Physics: Conference Series (JPCS).  ISSN 1742-6588.  1287(1) . doi: 10.1088/1742-6596/1287/1/012007 Full text in Research Archive.
  • Steier, Rolf & Kersting, Magdalena (2019). Metaimagining and embodied conceptions of spacetime. Cognition and Instruction.  ISSN 0737-0008.  37(2), s 145- 168 . doi: 10.1080/07370008.2019.1580711 Full text in Research Archive.
  • Steier, Rolf; Kersting, Magdalena & Silseth, Kenneth (2019). Imagining with improvised representations in CSCL environments. International Journal of Computer-Supported Collaborative Learning.  ISSN 1556-1607.  14(1), s 109- 136 . doi: 10.1007/s11412-019-09295-1 Full text in Research Archive.
  • Kersting, Magdalena; Henriksen, Ellen Karoline; Bøe, Maria Vetleseter & Angell, Carl (2018). General relativity in upper secondary school: Design and evaluation of an online learning environment using the model of educational reconstruction. Physical Review Physics Education Research.  ISSN 2469-9896.  14(1) . doi: 10.1103/PhysRevPhysEducRes.14.010130 Full text in Research Archive.
  • Kersting, Magdalena & Steier, Rolf (2018). Understanding Curved Spacetime: The Role of the Rubber Sheet Analogy in Learning General Relativity. Science & Education.  ISSN 0926-7220.  27(7-8), s 593- 623 . doi: 10.1007/s11191-018-9997-4 Full text in Research Archive.

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  • Kersting, Magdalena (2021, 04. februar). Engaging students to science through Einstein. [Internett].  PhysicsHigh Podcast YouTube.
  • Kersting, Magdalena (2021). Engaging the Public with Astrophysics Virtual Reality Experiences.
  • Ødegaard, Marianne; Kjærnsli, Marit; Karlsen, Solveig; Kersting, Magdalena; Lunde, Mai Lill Suhr; Olufsen, Magne & Sæleset, Johannes (2021). Tett på naturfag i klasserommet (Linking Instruction in Science & Student Impact).
  • Kersting, Magdalena (2020). Einsteinian Physics in the Classroom.
  • Kersting, Magdalena (2020). General Relativity in Secondary Schools.
  • Kersting, Magdalena (2020). Grundlagen der Allgemeinen Relativitätstheorie.
  • Kersting, Magdalena (2020). Impact in Einsteinian Physics Education.
  • Kersting, Magdalena (2020). Instructional Strategies to Foster Motivation for Einsteinian Physics Among Middle School Girls.
  • Kersting, Magdalena (2020). Learning Processes of Embodied Interaction with Disembodied Concepts in CSCL Environments.
  • Kersting, Magdalena (2020, 10. desember). Sag mal du als Physiker: Die relativ sensationelle 100. Folge. [Internett].  Podcast Audible.
  • Kersting, Magdalena (2019). Bringing general relativity to secondary schools: Design and evaluation of a digital learning environment.
  • Kersting, Magdalena (2019). Curved Spacetime: Investigating Students' Conceptual Understanding in General Relativity.
  • Kersting, Magdalena (2019). Free Fall in Curved Spacetime.
  • Kersting, Magdalena (2019). General Relativity in Secondary School -Research-Based Development of Learning Resources and Analyses of Students’ Conceptual Understanding Using the Model of Educational Reconstruction.
  • Kersting, Magdalena (2019). General Relativity in Secondary School. Research-Based Development of Learning Resources & Analyses of Students' Conceptual Understanding Using the Model of Educational Reconstrucion.
  • Kersting, Magdalena (2018). General Relativity – Why high school students should learn about Einstein’s most revolutionary idea. Show summary
  • Kersting, Magdalena (2018). General Relativity in Upper Secondary School.
  • Kersting, Magdalena (2018). General Relativity in Upper Secondary School: How Philosophy of Science Can Inform Physics Education of the 21st century.
  • Kersting, Magdalena (2018). Generell relativitetsteori. [www ].
  • Kersting, Magdalena (2018). How history and philosophy of science can inform teaching and learning of general relativity in upper secondary school.
  • Kersting, Magdalena (2018). How history and philosophy of science can inform teaching and learning of general relativity in upper secondary school.
  • Kersting, Magdalena (2018). International perspectives on Einsteinian Physics at upper secondary school level.
  • Kersting, Magdalena (2018). Modernising Physics Teaching.
  • Kersting, Magdalena (2018). Navigating Four Dimensions. Lateral Magazine. Show summary
  • Kersting, Magdalena (2018). Navigating four dimensions – upper secondary students’ understanding of movement in spacetime.
  • Kersting, Magdalena (2018). The Role of Imagination in the Language Games of the Science Classroom.
  • Kersting, Magdalena & Steier, Rolf (2018). Gravity, imagination and embodied conceptions of spacetime.
  • Steier, Rolf & Kersting, Magdalena (2018). When a sandwich becomes the earth: imagination and creativity with improvised representations..
  • Kersting, Magdalena (2017). Teaching General Relativity in Upper Secondary Schools: an Educational Reconstruction.
  • Kersting, Magdalena; Henriksen, Ellen Karoline; Bøe, Maria Vetleseter & Angell, Carl (2017). Educational Reconstruction of General Relativity Through a Collaborative Online Learning Environment.
  • Kersting, Magdalena & Myhrehagen, Henning Vinjusveen (2017). A Relatively Modern Physics Lesson.
  • Kersting, Magdalena; Zadnik, Marjan; Stannard, Warren; Moschilla, John & Blair, David (2017). An International Research Collaboration in the Teaching and Learning of Einsteinian Physics.
  • Bungum, Berit; Henriksen, Ellen Karoline; Frågåt, Thomas & Kersting, Magdalena (2016). ReleKvant - læring og undervisning i kvantefysikk og relativitetsteori.
  • Henriksen, Ellen Karoline; Angell, Carl; Bungum, Berit; Bøe, Maria Vetleseter; Tellefsen, Cathrine Wahlstrøm; Frågåt, Thomas & Kersting, Magdalena (2016). ReleKvant - undervisningsopplegg om relativitetsteori og kvantefysikk.
  • Kersting, Magdalena (2016). Curved space and warped time: Students’ understanding of gravity.
  • Kersting, Magdalena (2016). General Relativity: Making Einstein’s Theory Teachable.
  • Kersting, Magdalena; Frågåt, Thomas; Henriksen, Ellen Karoline & Tellefsen, Cathrine Wahlstrøm (2016). Introduction to ReleQuant: Developing online learning resources in modern physics.

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Published Mar. 9, 2020 10:47 AM - Last modified June 1, 2021 5:13 PM