...the kindling of a flame

Curriculum and instructional developments

Careers in Physical Science (PHY580A)

The course engages students with a physics, astronomy, and physical science background in building a sound career plan and identify the steps to reach their goals. Students will be guided in matching their skills with real professions, preparing targeted job applications, as well as refining their presentation and interview skills. Students will also explore the job market with direct interaction with selected expert working outside the academic environment.

Introduction to Mathematical Physics (PHY312)

This course aims to review and expand the students’ background in mathematics needed to understand and apply the principles of mechanics, electromagnetism, optics, astronomy, and quantum mechanics. Large emphasis is given to exercises and problems, however, abstract mathematical concepts will be also discussed as I consider them very important for a thorough understanding of Physics. Topics are introduced in a constructive approach and applications in mathematics and/or physics are discussed.

Physical Principles in the Science of Materials (SAM630)

This course aims to review and expand the students' background in physics principles and methods and focuses on applications in materials science. It was organized in two modules that revolve around "thought experiments". Topics are introduced by building models that allows to interpret the

University Physics (PHY145)

In collaboration with a graduate student we have introduced and tested weekly cooperative problem solving sections (PSS). We have also introduced a diversified assessment tool which included short answers, CRP, and multiple choice questions.

Table Top Physics (PHY127)

Completely redesigned in PBL format (Fall 04, Spring 05). Several PBLs were designed to introduce concepts such as error analysis, temperature, heat, phase transitions. The PBLs topic revolved around the science of cooking. Assessment has been done with concept mapping, presentations, and reports (see Projects).

Currently (since Fall 10 with graduate student J. B. Hancock II) we are collecting data on the effectivness of MAGA activities on the laws of motion (see MAGA).

PER and MAGA poster

Solid State Physics (PHY556)

Completely redesigned in PBL format. See "Teaching Central" (Spring 05).
In recent years has been taught with the same approach of SAM630 (less introductory materials and more advanced topics).

Conceptual Physics (PHY100)

Introduced peer-teaching (Mazur's style), cooperative learning activities, concept mapping and rich context problems (RCP, UMN - Minneapolis). Few experiences with problem based learning (PBL).

Methods of Theoretical Physics (PHY614)

In this class I have introduced Hilbert space theory applied to quantum mechanics building on simpler linear algebra formalism.