News & Events

About May 2011

This page contains all entries posted to Physics Announcements in May 2011. They are listed from oldest to newest.

April 2011 is the previous archive.

July 2011 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

Powered by
Movable Type 3.34

« April 2011 | Main | July 2011 »

May 2011 Archives

May 4, 2011

Seminar: Wednesday, May 4, 2011 at 3:30pm

Teaching Introductory Physics in Biological Context
Dr. Catherine Crouch
Swarthmore College

How can introductory physics best serve future life scientists and premedical students? Physics is an increasingly important foundation for today’s life sciences and medicine, as recognized by recent reports from professional societies such as the National Academy of Sciences, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, and the American Association of Medical Colleges. However, the content and skills identified by these reports and other practitioners as most important for these fields are often not taught, or underemphasized, in traditional algebra-based college physics courses. Furthermore, such courses rarely make substantive connections between the physics taught and the life sciences. I propose (in general agreement with many innovators in this area) that an exemplary course for these students focuses on the most relevant physics content, which does not always match the traditional introductory physics syllabus; anchors that physics in rich biological contexts; and explicitly seeks to develop sophisticated scientific and problem-solving skills, both qualitative and quantitative. I will present the syllabus and key features of the course I offer at Swarthmore College, describe the process of developing that course in collaboration with my biology colleagues as well as many others, and identify directions for further development and research related to such courses.

Location: Physics Bldg., Room 401

May 11, 2011

Seminar: Wednesday, May 11, 2011 at 3:30pm

Joseph F. Mulligan Lecture
The Life of Willard Gibbs: An American Scientist
Paul Corbitt

Willard Gibbs is one of the least known, but most important scientists in the nineteenth century. At this time America was a scientific backwater compared to the research universities of Europe. Working alone at Yale, Gibbs made major contributions to the fields of thermodynamics, vector analysis, and statistical mechanics. This lecture will explore the life of Willard Gibbs and his contributions to science. Even, today, the methods devised by Willard Gibbs are still in use.

Location: Physics Bldg., Room 401