Return to home pageasdfHome > Physics
Area of interest
Discipline-specific links
Announcement Archives


Modern Physics: A complete introduction


Richard Hake: Student engagement [physics]
ABSTRACT: Jack Uretsky, in a Phys-L post "Re: Student engagement" wrote: "American education has produced a number of physics Nobelists. How many were products of physics courses that would be approved by PER enthusiasts?" My answer: "Probably near zero.  BUT SO WHAT?" Physics Education Researchers (PER's) have attempted to design courses which enhance the learning of the vast majority of AVERAGE students, not potential Nobelists.  Why the emphasis on the "average
student" rather than the "exceptional student"? Because most exceptional students will learn on their own, even despite the (for them) usually helpful but unnecessary "interactive engagement." On the other hand, the fate of life on planet Earth is in the hands and minds of the masses of "average students" who, at least in democracies, control national policy - see e.g., "The Threat to Life on Planet Earth Is a More Important Issue Than David Brooks' 'Skills Slowdown' " [Hake (2009)].

To access the complete 13 kB post please click on <>.

Richard Hake, Emeritus Professor of Physics, Indiana University

Hake, R.R. 2009. "Re: Student Engagement," online on the OPEN! AERA-L archives at  <>.  Post of 8 Dec 2009 to AERA-L, AP-Physics, Net-Gold, Physhare, Phys-L, PhysLrnR, & Physoc.


Santa Fe Institute


The Physics area of Google News

-- what you see after going to and clicking on
the Add Section in the upper right portion of the screen


PhET -- Fun, interactive, research-based simulations of physical phenomena

Physics Education Technology (PhET) project


Weird, Rare Clouds and the Physics Behind Them -- from Wired by Betsy Mason

The physics behind the weird, rare clouds The physics behind the weird, rare clouds


Blended-learning in Science and Technology. A Collaborative Project-Based Course in Experimental Physics


Modern Physics: The Theoretical Minimum -- from Open Culture
For the past two years, Stanford has been rolling out a series of courses (collectively called Modern Physics: The Theoretical Minimum) that gives you a baseline knowledge for thinking intelligently about modern physics. The sequence, which moves from Isaac Newton, to Albert Einstein’s work on the general and special theories of relativity, to black holes and string theory, comes out of Stanford’s Continuing Studies program (my day job). And the courses are all taught by Leonard Susskind, an important physicist who has engaged in a long running “Black Hole War” with Stephen Hawking. The final course, Statistical Mechanics, has now been posted on YouTube, and you can also find it on iTunes in video. If you click through to this page, you will find every course in the series. Six courses. Roughly 120 hours of content. A comprehensive tour of modern physics. All in video. All free. Beat that.


Best Practices for Integrating Game-Based Learning into Online Teaching -- from MERLOT

Table 1 : Games for Teaching

COTS Games

“Commercial off-the-shelf games”. Modifiable games such as Neverwinter Nights and Oblivion can be used for a variety of teaching exercises, such as learning American History. The Queensland-based Games in Learning Project lists many potential types of COTS games.


Used in the discipline of Information Technology and computer science to teach students about network security issues.

Dafur is Dying

Used in history, cultural studies, or special topics humanities courses to teach students about war and its consequences.

Food Force

Used in various humanities courses to teach students about world famine issues.

Global Conflict: Palestine

Used in writing and history courses to teach students about journalistic techniques and about the history of Palestine.

Planet Green Game

Used in the discipline of ecology or general earth science to teach students about global ecological issues.

Fantastic Contraption

Used in math and physics courses to teach students basic physics concepts.


Used in the discipline of engineering to help teach students about large infrastructure projects.

Burn Center

Used in the discipline of medicine to help train doctors.

Tycoon (game series)

Used to teach business students resource management and other key business concepts.


A virtual simulation of the U.S. Congress, State legislature and the European union for students in history and government courses.

Hazmat: Hot Zone

Used to train first responders to deal with hazardous materials.



Game used to teach students geography.


Fluid and dynamics simulation software -- my thanks to Steven Chevalia in the T&L Digital Studio for this link

RealFlow is a stand-alone application for fluid and dynamics simulation that allows easy, intuitive control and visualization of the behaviour of fluids and rigid bodies, and their interaction with a surrounding environment. RealFlow was the first, and remains the definitive tool for creating impressively accurate and realistic fluid simulation effects in the Computer Graphics market.


Related item:
The iCampus Technology-Enabled Active Learning Project at MIT: An Interview with Phillip Long -- from innovate
In this interview with Innovate Editor-in-Chief James L. Morrison, Phillip Long describes some of the outcomes of iCampus, a recently concluded seven-year, $25 million research collaboration between MIT and Microsoft Research that focused on building technologies that enabled more effective learning. Long describes two of the many projects arising from this effort: Technology Enhanced Active Learning in Physics (TEAL), which has completely reconfigured the way MIT teaches introductory physics in order to encourage student engagement, and iLabs, which has created a way for MIT instructors to put real laboratory experiences—not virtual simulations but actual experiments running in real time—online so that students can experience them remotely.


Wiley Faculty Network


Learning Physics Through Open Courses -- from Open Culture by Dan Colman
There’s something compelling about physics. Almost every major open courseware collection features a well-crafted physics course, and these courses consistently rank high on iTunesU and YouTube Edu. Let’s give a quick overview of the favorites.

At Stanford, we’re putting together a six course sequence called Modern Physics: The Theoretical Minimum. Taught by Leonard Susskind, one of America’s leading physics minds, this course traces the development of modern physics, moving from Newton to Einstein to Black Holes. So far, we’ve made five of the six courses available online (get them here), which amounts to 100 hours of free classroom footage. Hard to beat. (And, in case you’re wondering, the sixth course is being taped right now, and it will be coming online during the months to come.)

Another program that has received a fair amount of attention is Walter Lewin’s series of courses at MIT. As The New York Times has noted, Lewin has long had a cult following at MIT, and now, thanks to his physics courses, he’s achieved a minor degree of fame on the internet. His lectures, delivered with panache, can be found here:

A third course to call your attention to is Richard Muller’s Physics for Future Presidents (Feed - MP3s - YouTube).  The course comes out of UC Berkeley, where it’s an undergraduate favorite. (It’s also the basis of a recent book by the same name.) And the whole point here is to give citizens the scientific knowledge they need to understand critical issues facing our society. Finally, another course worth reviewing is Fundamentals of Physics, which is taught by Ramamurti Shankar and it’s part of Yale’s Open Course initiative. All of these physics courses, and many more, can be found in our Free University Course collection.

NOTE: We have moved to Please spread the word and update any old links to our site. Thank you.


Related posting -- my thanks to Melissa Winegar in the T&L Digital Studio for this link/resource:

nature geoscience

Understanding the Earth's history and its future evolution is becoming ever more important as the human influence on climate and landscapes, the oceans and the atmosphere expands.Nature Geoscience is a monthly multi-disciplinary journal aimed at bringing together top-quality research across the entire spectrum of the Earth Sciences along with relevant work in related areas.The journal's content reflects all the disciplines within the geosciences, encompassing field work, modelling and theoretical studies. Topics covered in the journal include:

  • Atmospheric science
  • Biogeochemistry
  • Climate science
  • Geobiology
  • Geochemistry
  • Geoinformatics and remote sensing
  • Geology
  • Geomagnetism and palaeomagnetism
  • Geomorphology
  • Geophysics
  • Glaciology
  • Hydrology and limnology
  • Mineralogy and mineral physics
  • Oceanography
  • Palaeontology
  • Palaeoclimatology and palaeoceanography
  • Petrology
  • Planetary science
  • Seismology
  • Space physics
  • Tectonics
  • Volcanology


Here’s An Easy Way to Create Whiteboard Lectures for Your E-Learning Courses -- from The Rapid eLearning Blog

Thanks to Janet Hurn, I was introduced to LectureScribe.  She teaches physics at Miami University, Ohio and uses it as part of her rapid elearning process.  You can see her demo... 

1/28/09 -- my thanks to Daniel Laninga, in the T&L Digital Studio, for this link


From DSC:
My purpose in posting this is not to tick anyone off. Instead, I want to raise a red flag and say,
"This is where it is going. The question is, how do we want to respond to this?"


A New Thermometer for Physicists -- from Scientific American, by Charles Q. Choi
An electronic thermometer that ties temperature directly to the Boltzmann constant


More Interactive Physics: Crayon Physics Deluxe (K-12) -- from Interactive Multimedia Technology by Lynn V. Marentette


Science, physics, tech, nano, news





From DSC:
Good example of an interdisciplinary assignment!
Tell some physics, engineering, comm studies folks, etc. to create this and put it on a website for others to enjoy!



SMARTBoards and my 2008 Top Five List - Science -- from Teachers Love Smart Boards


Fun idea ensures no one will sleep through physics -- link from ETS at PSU


Physics Simulations Online -- link from Generation Yes blog
Fun, interactive, research-based simulations of physical phenomena from the PhET project at the University of Colorado.


Fantastic Contraption -- from iLearn Technology blog

Fantastic Contraption



Three Lectures by Hans Bethe -- thanks to Niko Solihin in the T&L Digital Studio for this link
"In 1999, legendary theoretical physicist Hans Bethe delivered three lectures on quantum theory to his neighbors at the Kendal of Ithaca retirement community (near Cornell University). Given by Professor Bethe at age 93, the lectures are presented here as QuickTime videos synchronized with slides of his talking points and archival material. Intended for an audience of Professor Bethe's neighbors at Kendal, the lectures hold appeal for experts and non-experts alike. The presentation makes use of limited mathematics while focusing on the personal and historical perspectives of one of the principal architects of quantum theory whose career in physics spans 75 years."

Interactive Physics Simulations

Physics Central may offer some ideas

From the Scout Project

Clifford Glenwood Shull Collection

In 1994, Clifford Glenwood Shull was awarded the 1994 Nobel Prize in Physics. His career as a scientist started six decades prior at what was then the Carnegie Institute of Technology. Shull was known as the "Father of Neutron Scattering" and primarily known for his work on the neutron diffraction technique which was used to study condensed matter. This particular digital collection created by the Carnegie Mellon University Libraries allows interested parties to explore Shull's papers, correspondence, teaching materials, and other items related to his work. After reading a brief biography of Shull, visitors can click on through to the "Contents" area to get a better sense of the offerings available within the collection. In the "Access" area visitors can browse through the document series, which cover his time at MIT, the Oak Ridge Laboratory, and New York University.