A more technical post than most. If the symbol and the equation look familiar to you, you’ll be fine. If not, you may still like the post, but in case you’re about to depart I’ll put my customary link to my pop-science biophysics book’s description here, and also share this week’s news that it will … Continue reading What does the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle have to do with microscopy?
This past term (Fall 2021) I taught a course on image analysis. It was a new course — not just new for me but completely new, though it grew out of an informal image analysis class I’ve taught “off the books” before and have posted about. The class went well, though I severely underestimated how … Continue reading Image Analysis: Reflections on a New Course
A terrible question to ask in science is unfortunately quite common: Does something affect something else? It seems innocuous enough — after all, one might want to know whether exposure to sunlight affects one’s risk of skin cancer, or whether the location of the moons of Jupiter affects the stock market. The answer, however, is … Continue reading Pushed around by stars
What do I add to a first-year university physics class on simple harmonic motion? Anything? What’s the point of a class on simple harmonic motion? Why do first-year physics classes exist? I was thinking about these questions exactly six months ago, pre-pandemic, when I started writing a blog post that seems especially relevant now. I … Continue reading What’s the point of a first-year physics class?
Last week we had another successful run of our Physics & Human Physiology “SAIL” outreach day camp for high school students. I just realized that this is the 10th year I’ve co-run a SAIL camp, which means I should probably offer some grand assessment of it. Instead, I’ll just jot a few notes, post a … Continue reading SAIL Recap 2017
I’ll continue describing a graduate biophysics course I taught in Spring 2015. In Part I, I wrote about the topics we covered. Here, I’ll focus on the structure of the course — books, assignments, in-class activities, and the students’ final project — and note what worked and didn’t work. (What didn’t work: popsicle sticks.) Click … Continue reading Recap of a graduate biophysics course — Part II
In Spring 2015 I taught a graduate biophysics course for the first time. It was a first in several ways: the course didn’t exist before, so I developed it from scratch, and it was also the first graduate course I’ve taught in my nine years as a professor! I’ve been thinking for months that I … Continue reading Recap of a graduate biophysics course — Part I
What makes a good exam question? Not surprisingly, I try to write exams that most students who are keeping up with the course should do well on — almost by definition, the exam should be evaluating what I’m teaching. But I also want the exam to reveal and assess different levels of understanding; it would … Continue reading What have I got in my pocket?
As of yesterday, the graduate student union here at the University of Oregon is on strike*. (I walked past three separate picket lines on my way to get coffee.) I don’t have anything profound to write about labor issues, but I thought I should post something that’s graduate-student-related! Quite often, the topic of “time to … Continue reading Universality, Scaling, and Time-to-Ph.D.
Like last year, several of us from the Physics Department manned a booth at the Oregon Country Fair, the long-running hippie / arts / music / performance / counterculture festival that occurs each year outside Eugene. I worked there today, which was lots of fun. Though our booth was mostly about energy — lots of … Continue reading “You should do birthday parties!” — Year 2 at the Oregon Country Fair