In my “Physics of Energy and the Environment” class , we try to construct estimates of how much energy is required by various aspects of modern civilization. Transportation is the main focus — it’s important, energetically costly, and the physics underlying it can be grasped by non-science-major undergrads in a few weeks . Teaching this … Continue reading A pound of flesh — a puzzle about estimates, energy, and life
As in 2015, I’ll write a quick post about my favorite books and movies that I read or watched in 2016. Like last year, there’s (almost) nothing in this list relevant to the blog’s usual themes of science and academia — I’ve got two posts on grant writing and teaching half-written, though, so we’ll be … Continue reading Books, books, and movies, 2016
(A follow-up to my election day post.) Tuesday’s surprising presidential election has been on everyone’s mind for the past week, and has stirred up lots of emotion. I thought it worth acknowledging this event at the start of class on Thursday. My aims were that this would be very brief, that I wouldn’t expresses displeasure … Continue reading Post-election-day biophysics
(A short election day post!) I always start off my “biophysics for non-science majors” class with an interesting picture. Today, since it’s election day, I tried to think of something that links politics and science and came up with these photos that I took at the Library of Congress this past summer, where there’s a … Continue reading Election day biophysics
Summary: The background artwork at the café in the new UO Science Library features sketches from UO faculty and student notebooks. If you’re here, go check it out! [Update: Note Eric Johnson’s comment on the sunshades! Update: Lara Nesselroad, below, notes that there is an informational placard next to the artwork!] The Science Library here … Continue reading Science Sketches and Café Cartoons
There seems to be a lot more discussion of ethics in scientific news and articles these days compared to the distant past (e.g. when I was a graduate student). This may be due to an increased complexity in the practice of science — issues like data sharing, for example, are more difficult than they used … Continue reading When is an ethics course not an ethics course?
I’ll continue describing a graduate biophysics course I taught in Spring 2015. In Part I, I wrote about the topics we covered. Here, I’ll focus on the structure of the course — books, assignments, in-class activities, and the students’ final project — and note what worked and didn’t work. (What didn’t work: popsicle sticks.) Click … Continue reading Recap of a graduate biophysics course — Part II