During the summer my and Eric Corwin‘s weekly group meetings (our groups meet together) depart from our usual format of presentations of our own research and brief summaries of journal articles to instead tackle some broader topic.  Last year, for example, we covered a good chunk of Introduction to Modeling for Biosciences by Barnes and Chu, … Continue reading Microcontrollers

STEM education, employment, and happiness

A colleague sent me this interesting report / survey on connections between education, employment, and contentment and disappointment among recent college graduates: Voice of the Graduate, McKinsey & Co. , which relates a bit to issues of STEM education that I wrote about earlier. The opening paragraph: There’s a paradox facing American society today. The … Continue reading STEM education, employment, and happiness

Science Literacy Program video

I’ve been heavily involved in the University of Oregon’s Science Literacy Program, which aims to improve science education for non-science-major undergraduates by designing innovative classes based on effective “active learning” methods. A student in my Fall term Scientific Revolutions class filmed a story for the campus newspaper on the Science Literacy Program, which is neat! … Continue reading Science Literacy Program video

Seminar: May 23, 2013

I’m happy to note that tomorrow’s Physics Department colloquium will feature Heinrich Jaeger from the University of Chicago, co-invited by me and Eric Corwin, who were both graduate students of Heinrich. He’s both brilliant and imaginative, with research spanning such things as making soft robots , granular materials in general, complex fluids (as in the … Continue reading Seminar: May 23, 2013


I finally finished copying CDs onto my new ipod, my beloved white-brick old one from 2003 having died a few months ago.  220 albums on one card-sized device! It boggles the mind. When I was a kid, all we had were LPs carved out of wood. Speaking of kids, here’s K. with the plug-in USB … Continue reading ipod

STEM persistence

I’m likely to become involved in an organized effort to improve the persistence of STEM majors at the University of Oregon. (STEM meaning Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics, and persistence meaning completing a degree rather than switching to a different field.) Less than half of the undergraduates who start out as intended STEM majors graduate … Continue reading STEM persistence

Science Comics

Being on sabbatical this term, I’ve been staying away from our science teaching journal club. I went yesterday, though, taking a break from working on papers, pondering signal processing mysteries, and failing at subcloning, since the topic was teaching science via comics. I’m fond of both science and comics, and so couldn’t stay away! I … Continue reading Science Comics