Teaching Interests

I have enjoyed teaching a wide range of courses in Wellesley's Physics Department including:

Frontiers of Physics (Physics 101) an introductory course intended for non-majors
Fundamentals of Mechanics and Fundamentals of Electricity and Magnetism, and Optics (Physics 104 and Physics 106), a year long introduction to classical physics.
Principles and Applications of Mechanics and Principles and Applications of Electricity and Magnetism, and Optics (Physics 107 and Physics 108) , also a year long introduction to classical physics, but somewhat more rigorous than the 104 /106 track.
Introduction to Quantum Mechanics and Thermodynamics (Physics 202) and Waves and Vibrations, and Special Relativity (Physics 203), our Sophomore level courses.
The Art of Electronics (Physics 219), a laboratory course emphasizing construction of both analog and digital electronic circuits, it is intended for students in all of the natural sciences and computer science.
Quantum Mechanics (Physics 302)
Classical Mechanics (Physics 306)
Electromagnetic Theory (Physics 314)
Applications of Quantum Mechanics (Physics 349), an advanced quantum mechanics course that also includes an advanced laboratory component centered largely on optical spectroscopy.
Introduction to Engineering (Extradepartmental 160) is co-taught with faculty from Olin College. This project-based course, located in Wellesley's new Engineering Studio, gives our students an opportunity to explore first-hand the way engineers approach problems in the world. Check out these video clips of some of the 'walking robots' that students designed and built using laser cut parts.

Franklyn Turbak of Wellesley's Computer Science Department and I have developed new course at Wellesley called Robotic Design Studio. In this course students learn how to design, assemble, and program robots made out of LEGO parts, sensors, motors, and a tiny computers. The course culminates in a robot exhibition where students exhibit the robots that they designed and built during the course. Here are some video clips from recent Exhibitions:

These creative projects tie together aspects of a surprisingly wide range of disciplines, including computer science, physics, engineering, and art.

I am also interestered in working on classroom demonstrations that help capture some of the excitement of physics. For example, one popular demonstration involves breaking a wine goblet such as the one shown below using sound whose frequency (pitch) matches the "natural" or "resonant" frequency of the glass.

Is it live or is it Memorex?

See a movie of the "shattering a glass with sound" demonstration.

Read an explanation of how the demonstration works.

Robbie Berg / June, 2007