Some of the coolest moments in teaching only occur when your students realize they can safely ask anything. On random days, at random times, (during some unpredictable moment) one student will suddenly raise their hand and ask a question along the lines of “What you just said reminds me of something on TV.” They will then explain what they saw and may not have understood, and will end with, “Can you explain?”...

Read More

Today I had two juxtapositions of journal articles. On one hand I had the photo-ready proofs of a journal article on the Astronomy Cast listener survey I submitted to, and had accepted by CAP. On the other hand I had a bunch of journal articles my student was working on data mining for our research (those articles are on the evolution of galaxies in clusters). I have to admit, my own journal article (which I’ll post links to...

Read More

Physics Exams as Germ Warfare?

Posted By on Sep 26, 2007

This week all of my physics classes are taking their first exam. Today my two sections of  Science Foundations for elementary education majors had their exam and tomorrow my science and engineering students have their calculas-based have their first exam. My exams are decidedly evil – they are tough and the average student will need 90% of the time (2 hours) to get them done. I’m sure that many of my students wish me...

Read More

The Wizards in the Tower

Posted By on Sep 22, 2007

Somewhere, once upon a time, the metaphor of faculty living in a mystical Ivory Tower entered the vernacular. I don’t know the history of this imagery, but it always conjures images of wizards working their spells while the look out over the common people – the little people – from their vantage on high. These gray-haired men of wisdom sometimes enter the courtyard to educate the young. At their feet the future wise...

Read More

ASP – EPO, post defacto blogging

Posted By on Sep 11, 2007

I admit it, I found my wall. Sometime Friday afternoon the part of my brain capable of writing and (somewhat more importantly) filtering the majority of the silly thoughts in my head from coming out my mouth turned off. As Saturday came on the heels of 5 hours of sleep, and crawled across 18 hours of work and travel, progressively more part of my brain continued to shut off. On Sunday, I was a puddle of brainless mush, and I...

Read More

ASP-EPO: Day One

Posted By on Sep 5, 2007

(I’m on a bad connection and will add links later.) Another day, another conference. From Dragon*Con, I crossed half-way across the country to Chicago to attend the 119th Meeting of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific on “EPO and a Changing World.” This morning I’m sitting in a session presented by astronaut George “Pinky” Nelson (the astronaut who repaired Solar Max) on things that need to...

Read More