A Brief History of Quantum Timekeeping

My course on the history and science of timekeeping has reached the home stretch, with students giving presentations in class for the remainder of the term. My portion of the course was wrapped up with two lectures on “quantum timkeeping,” as it were: a lecture on the development of quantum mechanics: History of Quantum Mechanics […]

How to Give a Good PowerPoint Lecture, 2012

My timekeeping course this term is a “Scholars Research Seminar,” which means it’s supposed to emphasize research and writing skills. Lots of these will include some sort of poster session at the end of the term, but I decided I preferred the idea of doing in-class oral presentations. Having assigned that, of course, I felt […]

An Experiment in Teaching Writing: A Look Inside the Sausage Factory

As I’ve said a bazillion times already this term, I’m teaching a class that is about research and writing, with a big final paper due at the end of the term. Because iterative feedback is key to learning to write, they also have to turn in a complete rough draft, which I will mark up […]

Course Report: A Brief History of Timekeeping 04

Through a weird quirk of scheduling, I haven’t actually taught the intro modern physics course since I started writing pop-science books about modern physics. So, this week has been the first chance I’ve really had to use material I generated for the books to introduce topics in class. In the approximately chronological ordering of the […]

Thursday Eratosthenes Blogging: Measuring Latitude and Longitude with a Sundial

As I keep saying in various posts, I’m teaching a class on timekeeping this term, which has included discussion of really primitive timekeeping devices like sundials, as well as a discussion of the importance of timekeeping for navigation. To give students an idea of how this works, I arranged an experimental demonstration, coordinated with Rhett […]

Critical Pronunciation Poll

I’m using Dava Sobel’s Longitude this week in my timekeeping class. The villain of the piece, as it were, is the Reverend Dr. Nevil Maskelyne, who promoted an astronomical method for finding longitude, and played a major role in delaying the payment to John Harrison for his marine chronometers. It’s a good story, with lots […]