Invited

Engaging students in the classroom, at Faculty Workshop on The Use of Technology in Teaching and Learning, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA), Wednesday, May 12, 1999:
Education is more than just transfer of information, yet that is what most instructors focus on in large lecture classes. Eric Mazur will demonstrate how technology in large classes can help engage the students, turning them from passive receivers of information to active participants in the learning process.
Teaching and Research: Inseparable responsibilities of the modern physicist, at APS Centennial Meeting 1999 (Atlanta, GA), Tuesday, March 23, 1999:
Mention the word ""physics"" to the average high-school student and you are not likely to see many happy faces. Public opinion of science in general--and physics in particular--is not high. More importantly, misunderstandings about the goals and procedures of physics are rampant. In part, these problems arise because physics education has focused nearly exclusively on generating a steady supply of future physicists. The need to educate non-majors, let alone the public at large, has generally not been perceived as an important mission of physics departments. Now that the need for physics is no... Read more about Teaching and Research: Inseparable responsibilities of the modern physicist
Laser-induced microexplosions: ultrafast physics with clinical applications, at 20th Annual International Conference of the IEEE Engineering in Medicine and Biology Society (Hong Kong), Thursday, October 29, 1998:
We used water and human skin tissue to compare the surgical potential of 100-fs and 200-ps laser pulses. For investigation of threshold behavior of 100-fs and 200-ps pulses, we use water as a model for tissue. In addition to having a lower threshold, we find that energy deposition is much more consistent with 100-fs pulses. We also compared 100-fs and 200-ps laser pulse effects on the surface and in the bulk of human skin tissue. On the surface, pulses with 100-fs and 200-ps duration leave similar size ablation regions. In the bulk both 100-fs and 200-ps pulses produce cavities, however, 100-... Read more about Laser-induced microexplosions: ultrafast physics with clinical applications
Understanding or Memorization: Are we Teaching the Right Thing?, at Fall workshop on educational outreach at Materials Research Science and Engineering Centers, University of California at Santa Barbara (Santa Barbara, CA), Thursday, October 22, 1998:
Education is more than just transfer of information, yet that is what is mostly done in large introductory courses -- instructors present material (even though this material might be readily available in printed form) and for students the main purpose of lectures is to take down as many notes as they can. Few students have the ability, motivation, and discipline to synthesize all the information delivered to them. Yet synthesis is perhaps the most important -- and most elusive -- aspect of education. Students get frustrated because they are unable to grasp simple concepts. Instructors get... Read more about Understanding or Memorization: Are we Teaching the Right Thing?
Peer Instruction: Turning a Lecture Into a Seminar, at Forum on Education, Optical Society of America Annual Meeting (Baltimore, MD), Thursday, October 8, 1998
With Peer Instruction, the instructor of a large lecture class periodically poses conceptual questions to the students. Students answer these questions individually and then discuss them in small groups. A student described this method as ""turning a lecture into a seminar."" This approach enhances student learning by confronting and correcting student misconceptions and generates student enthusiasm in the process.
Thresholds for femtosecond laser-induced breakdown in bulk transparent solids and water, at SPIE Annual Meeting, 1998 (San Diego, CA), Wednesday, July 15, 1998
We present thresholds for optical breakdown in bulk transparent solids and water with 100-fs laser pulses. In solids, we used microscopy and scattering techniques to determine thresholds for plasma formation and permanent damage in a wide variety of materials. Transmission measurements show that damage occurs at energies where there is little absorption of the laser pulse. In water, we used scattering and acoustic techniques to measure the breakdown threshold for 100-fs pulses. In contrast to solids, transmission measurements in water indicate that there is no plasma or bubble formation... Read more about Thresholds for femtosecond laser-induced breakdown in bulk transparent solids and water
Ultrafast laser induced microexplosions: explosive dynamics and sub-micrometer structures, at Photonics West 1998 (San Jose, CA), Monday, January 26, 1998
Tightly focused femtosecond laser pulses can be nonlinearly absorbed inside transparent materials, creating a highly excited electron – ion plasma. These conditions exist only in a small volume at the laser focus. This tight confinement and extreme conditions lead to an explosive expansion — a microexplosion. In solid materials, a microexplosion can result in permanent structural changes. We find that the damage produced by femtosecond pulses in this way is surprisingly small, with only a 200-nm diameter. Material left at the center of the microexplosion is either amorphous and less dense or... Read more about Ultrafast laser induced microexplosions: explosive dynamics and sub-micrometer structures

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