TEACHING INSPIRATION


“The most incomprehensible thing about the world/universe is that it is comprehensible”


- Albert Einstein


I like to start off the first class in a course or lecture series by showing a slide where I superimpose my favorite quote from Einstein on my favorite cartoon strip of Calvin and Hobbes staring up at the night sky in wonder. At the end of the last lecture, I reshow this slide as a departing reminder of how much we have learned in the course and how much more we can learn about the world and the Universe.

DEPARTMENT OF PHYSICS COURSES


Undergraduate


Graduate

PHYSICS 33-466 EXTRAGALACTIC ASTROPHYSICS AND COSMOLOGY


I have been teaching this undergraduate course since 2014S. This course provides an introduction to cosmology (the study of our Universe) and extragalactic astrophysics (the physics of astronomical systems beyond our Galaxy). Looking up at the night sky, have you wondered what is the Universe made of? What is dark matter and dark energy? What is the origin and fate of the Universe? What are the important events in cosmic history? You will explore these and many other interesting questions in this course. The expansion of the Universe and the formation of cosmic structures are two of the most important and fascinating problems in cosmology that you will learn about.

Syllabus

PHYSICS 33-106 PHYSICS FOR ENGINEERING STUDENTS I


I have co-taught this large undergraduate course in 2012S, 2013F, and 2014F, first with Prof Helmut Vogel and then Dr David Anderson. I cover basic Newtonian mechanics and thermodynamics. My main objective is to emphasize the beautiful physics rather than which equations to use. I teach the students to solve problems algebraically in order to understand how the solutions depend on the variables rather than plug-and-chug numbers.


Syllabus


PHYSICS 33-477 INTRODUCTORY ASTROPHYSICS


I have taught this graduate course in 2011S, 2011F, and 2012F. This course provides an introduction to the physical principles applied in astrophysics and cosmology. Taking an object-oriented approach, I cover the Solar System, extrasolar planets, Sun, stars, Milky Way Galaxy, galaxies, clusters, and the Universe. I apply the physics of gravity, thermodynamics, hydrodynamics, radiative processes, radiative transfer, and nuclear, atomic, and molecular processes to understand the beautiful Universe.


Syllabus

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