Teaching


I have a large amount of teaching experience first as a tutor and teaching assistant at Colgate University (CU), and now as a teaching fellow at Boston University (BU). Here are a few of the classes I have TA’d for and a description of the class:


Astronomy Classes

Astr. 107 – Life Beyond Earth (BU)

Fall 2017

About 10% of the planets in our Milky Way galaxy are like Earth in size and material composition. The same physical laws operate everywhere so extraterrestrial life may be both common and techno- logically advanced. In 1950, during a casual conversation with col- leagues about the possibility of extraterrestrial intelligence, the great physicist Enrico Fermi is reputed to have immediately asked: “Where is Everybody?” This conundrum, known as the Fermi Paradox, provided the focus for this course. The class delved into philosophical and scientific answers to the Fermi Paradox under three main branches: They are/were on Earth in the past, They are somewhere in the Milky Way Galaxy, or They don’t exist.

Astr. 109 – Cosmology (BU)

Spring 2018

Cosmology is the study of the universe as a whole. The goals of the class were to provide an historical and scientific background on the evolution of the field of cosmology, an understanding of the current theories on the beginnings of the universe, and how the universe evolved into its current observable state.


Astr. 101 – Solar System Astronomy (CU)

Fall 2014, Fall 2015

 

The course dealt with the exploration of the solar system through ground-based observations and spacecraft missions. Topics included motions of solar system objects, properties of the solar system, origin and evolution of the solar system, uncovering the nature of objects in our solar system through comparative planetology, detection techniques and characteristics of planets orbiting other  stars, and the possibility of life elsewhere in the universe. Evening observing and Ho Tung Visualization Lab sessions supplemented lectures.

SettingUpTelescope
Me setting up an 8-inch telescope and camera in preparation for an AS 101 night lab at Colgate University (09/2015).

Astr. 102 – Stars, Galaxies, and the Universe (CU)

Spring 2017

This course provided an overview of astronomy beyond the solar system. Students discovered the answers to questions such as: Of what stuff are stars made? What powers the Sun and other stars? How do stars and planetary systems form and evolve? Do other Earth-like planets exist? What determines the distribution and nature of galaxies in the universe? How did the universe begin and what is its future? Ho Tung Visualization Lab and night-time observing sessions supplemented lectures.

Astr. 210 – Intermediate Astronomy (CU)

Fall 2016

The course provided a discussion of introductory astronomical topics at a level accessible to second-year Physics and Astronomy majors, and covered such topics as fundamental physical principles of astronomy and astrophysics, stellar structure, evolution, neutron stars, black holes, and the interstellar medium.


Non-Astronomy Classes

Emerging Global Challenges (CU)

Fall 2015

As a continuing foray into online education, using experience gained during the teaching of the Advent of the Atomic Bomb course, this course was taught to an incoming first-year class of Colgate University students. The students learned online-education methods and techniques in a hands-on manner through the creation of their own online course. The students chose bread as a means to investigate emerging global challenges in the world, such as climate change, industrialization, and an increasingly globalized world. The course is archived here.

Advent of the Atomic Bomb (CU)

Spring 2015

By integrating science and history, this course examined the scientific evolution of nuclear weapons and the historical context in which they were developed. World War II made urgent the exploitation of atomic power for military purposes. Students explored the scientific thought that made harnessing nuclear energy possible, the political pressure that shaped that process, and the ramifications of the bomb for science and politics during and immediately after the war.

This course was the first course created by Colgate University to harness the power of online learning through the edX platform. The course was unique in that it combined in-classroom learning for the Colgate University students enrolled in the course with an online-education component comprised of Colgate University alumni of varying ages. The course was completed in May 2015 but is archived on the edX site here.


Astronomy, as nothing else can do, teaches men humility. – Arthur C. Clarke