Teaching

Courses

During my time as a graduate student I have been fortunate to TA many bright students in a number of classes. I consider education to be an extremely important aspect of graduate school and science in general, and am continually looking for ways to improve my own teaching. As a result of my efforts, I was awarded the "Distinguished TA Award" in the Physics and Astronomy Department in 2013. Here you can find a list of my current and previous TA assignments.

  • Current
  • I'm currently not teaching.
  • Previous
  • Astronomy 3: "The Nature of the Universe" — Winter 2010, Spring 2012, Fall 2013
  • Astronomy 4: "Black Holes and Cosmic Catastrophes" — Fall 2009, Spring 2010
  • Astronomy 5: "Life in the Universe" — Fall 2012
  • Astronomy 82: "Astrophysics II: Stellar Evolution, Galaxies, and Cosmology" — Spring 2012, Spring 2014
  • Astronomy 127: "Stellar Astrophysics" — Winter 2010, Winter 2013, Winter 2014

Real science data as a teaching tool

Using real scientific data in courses can be a great way to connect students to current research. Thanks to the internet, there are tons of places to get data and ways to use it. Below are just a few sites that encourage or allow data as a teaching tool. Check back in from time to time as I update this section with ways to use these tools.

  • Zooniverse: Great resource for astronomy and many other fields allowing you to actually help scientist with their research. Check out Planet Hunters and Galaxy zoo!
  • Exoplanets.org: Information on all the exoplanets and exoplanet candidates, with a superb plotting interface. Great for looking at or showing off trends in planets around other stars, like how eccentricity is low for planets close to their host.
  • NASA Eyes on Exoplanets (and Eyes on Earth, Eyes on Solar System): Downloadable NASA software that allows you to explore exoplanets and their host stars through a very cool interface. The other NASA Eyes programs are included and are equally cool.
  • World Wide Telescope: Incredible visualization software that displays a huge number of data sets over a range of frequencies and allows you to take a tour of them. The web interface is great, but if you use the Windows software you can even make your own planetarium shows. Very impressive stuff!
  • CERN Open Data Portal: CERN has released their collision event data from 2010, and included some very cool visualization software on the site. It's higher level, being particle physics, but for advanced high schoolers or undergraduates there's a lot of potential for projects here.