My primary responsibility is teaching our general physics courses in which we use a workshop approach to physics. Everything is done in a laboratory. We do not have separate lecture and laboratory settings. Students do experimental work almost every class period and learn much from each other. Each lab station has a dedicated computer on which most data analysis is performed. This approach limits the size of the class to 24 students. We generally have four sections of the first part of the calculus based Workshop Physics sequence offered in the fall semester (taught by four different professors), and four sections of the second part in the spring semester. Experience tells us that this approach works much better than the traditional arrangement of separate lecture and lab venues.
I am also the Laboratory Director for the Physics Department. In this capacity I am responsible for seeing that all laboratory activities for general physics and upper level physics courses run smoothly. I direct the activities of the Lab Manager in setting up, taking down, and testing experiments for all Workshop Physics courses, and direct the Lab Manger’s activities supporting experiments for upper level physics courses. I direct the management of equipment rooms including inventories. I revise the lab manuals for the Workshop Physics courses as needed, to reflect changes in procedures and new experiments when added.
My research interest is the physics of Earth’s upper atmosphere, specifically the behavior of carbon dioxide and how it interacts with various molecules and with radiation in the mesosphere and lower thermosphere. Computer models of these interactions may be compared with data retrieved from instruments aboard rockets and satellites.
I was also instrumental in the acquisition and installation of the Martha Carpenter Observatory, which houses a Celestron 14-inch Schmidt-Cassegrain reflecting telescope.