Having attended numerous NSF
workshops on introductory physics education research and current curriculum
improvement, I am active in improving my physics teaching by implementing new
techniques that enable students to gain knowledge actively rather than
passively. I analyze data obtained from my classes, compare that to national
data, and am constantly revising my teaching strategies. My courses are taught
in the Overview-Case Study/Conceptual Exercises (OCS/CE) mode, with minimal
traditional lecturing taking place. I plan to integrate computers into the
physics and astronomy curricula in such a way that lab and lecture lines are
completely blurred. In the sense of Priscilla Laws' Workshop Physics curriculum,
I hope to make the computers better facilitate the students' discovery of
physical laws. In astronomy, it will also enable the class to direct its own
search for information on topics of interest, rather than be instructor led. In
this way I subscribe strongly to John Holt's philosophy of self-direction as a
means to increase the students' sense of ownership of their knowledge - be it
astronomy, physics, or any other subject.
and Quantum Gravity
subject area research has been in computer-modeling of simple cosmologies,
examining such things as the large-scale symmetries of the universe early in its
history, compared to its current state. This work is important in that numerical
results can be obtained for geometries that cannot be considered in the standard
continuum models. The Regge Calculus approach is used to discretize spacetime
and the Hartle-Hawking "No boundary" condition as applied to their
quantum mechanical model. Many further questions are still to be asked because
of the ability to vary parameters in the model (such as the cosmological
constant or type of matter fields).
Observation and Data Analysis
a number of telescopes now online, it is possible to request data on objects
that have the potential to lead to new astronomical discoveries. Perhaps the
most interesting is the discovery of supernovae in distant galaxies by
maintaining a survey of perhaps 20 given galaxies. Probabilistically it can be
shown that surveying such a number of galaxies over one year is likely to reveal
a supernova in one of the galaxies. Another area is variable star photometry.
There are numerous known variable stars that have poorly defined light curves,
and hence can not be well classified. Again once data is on hand, analysis of
that data can lead to important results.
Click HERE for my SCAAPT Spring Meeting PowerPoint® presentation.
ASSIST CSULA to ECC to SMC
California's Adopted Standards
SHM Lab Data
Morse's Home Page