Public Understanding of Science

Public Lectures

Contact Info

As a professor at Dartmouth College I teach courses at all levels, from advanced graduate courses in quantum field theory and cosmology to introductory physics classes. I also teach 2 "Physics for Poets" classes, that is, physics for non-science majors. These two courses (Physics 1 and Astronomy 4), designed in collaboration with my colleague from the History Department Richard Kremer, attract quite a large number of students, typically around 180 or so. The courses present physics and astronomy as part of an evolving cultural process, as a search for a deeper understanding of who we are and of the world around us. For more details you can consult the Department of Physics and Astronomy web page. I also teach occasionally in Comparative Literature. My course "Us and Them: Aliens in Fiction and Nonfiction," examines how our conception of extraterrestrial life has changed science the seventeenth century and continues to change today. As science advances and we learn more about the cosmos and about ourselves, our conception of what extraterrestrial life is also changes. In many ways, aliens are mirrors we use to understand who we are and what are our fears, our strengths, and our weaknesses.

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Last updated 08 February 2010
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