Invited

Science and engineering education, at 2008 Science and Technology in Society Forum (Kyoto, Japan), Sunday, October 5, 2008:
Making science-based studies more attractive to students is a worldwide issue. This session will cover science and engineering education at all levels, from K-12 to college/university and at the application level. Businesses are feeling a shortage of the skills that ensure innovation. how can we entice a larger number of students to embark in a career in science and research? What can be done on the policy side? What is the role of the media?
Nonlinear optics at the nanoscale: all-optical logic gates, at Julius Springer Forum on Applied Physics, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA), Saturday, September 27, 2008:
We explore nonlinear optical phenomena at the nanoscale by launching femtosecond laser pulses into long silica nanowires. Using evanescent coupling between wires we demonstrate a number of nanophotonic devices. At high intensity the nanowires produce a strong supercontinuum over short interaction lengths (less than 20 mm) and at a very low energy threshold (about 1 nJ), making them ideal sources of coherent white-light for nanophotonic applications. The spectral broadening reveals an optimal fiber diameter to enhance nonlinear effects with minimal dispersion. We also present a device that... Read more about Nonlinear optics at the nanoscale: all-optical logic gates
Gender and student achievement with Peer Instruction, at Physics Education Research Conference, AAPT Summer Meeting, University of Alberta (Edmonton, Alberta, Canada), Thursday, July 24, 2008:
We investigated the effect of physics education research-based teaching methods on the gender gap in conceptual understanding in introductory physics. We analyzed data from the introductory calculus-based mechanics course for non-majors at Harvard University taught traditionally and taught with different degrees of interactive engagement. On average, female students have lower Force Concept Inventory (FCI) pretest scores than males. Teaching with Peer Instruction not only yields significantly greater FCI posttest scores for both males and females but also reduces the FCI posttest gender gap.... Read more about Gender and student achievement with Peer Instruction
Peer Instruction Workshop, at AAPT New Faculty Workshop, American Center for Physics (College Park, MD), Friday, June 27, 2008:
The basic goals of Peer Instruction are to encourage and make use of student interaction during lectures, while focusing students' attention on underlying concepts and techniques. The method has been assessed in many studies using standardized, diagnostic tests and shown to be considerably more effective than the conventional lecture approach to teaching. Peer Instruction is now used in a wide range of science and math courses at the college and secondary level. In this workshop, participants will learn about Peer Instruction, serve as the “class” in which Peer Instruction is demonstrated,... Read more about Peer Instruction Workshop
Introduction to Peer Instruction, at AAPT New Faculty Workshop, American Center for Physics (College Park, MD), Thursday, June 26, 2008:
I thought I was a good teacher until I discovered my students were just memorizing information rather than learning to understand the material. Who was to blame? The students? The material? I will explain how I came to the agonizing conclusion that the culprit was neither of these. It was my teaching that caused students to fail! I will show how I have adjusted my approach to teaching and how it has improved my students' performance significantly.
Introduction to Peer Instruction, at AAPT New Faculty Workshop, American Center for Physics (College Park, MD), Wednesday, June 25, 2008
I thought I was a good teacher until I discovered my students were just memorizing information rather than learning to understand the material. Who was to blame? The students? The material? I will explain how I came to the agonizing conclusion that the culprit was neither of these. It was my teaching that caused students to fail! I will show how I have adjusted my approach to teaching and how it has improved my students' performance significantly.
The interactive learning toolkit: technology and the classroom, at Canadian Association of Physicists Congress, Laval University (Quebec, Canada), Tuesday, June 10, 2008:
It has been suggested the lack of interaction in large lecture courses is to blame for the many problems facing these courses: declining enrollments, low attendance, poor evaluations, and disappointing retention. We offer a way of redesigning the classroom so interaction is introduced in many aspects of the course. This approach has shown to be effective by many instructors in a broad variety of environments. I will demonstrate some of the tools we have developed to foster this interaction.
Memorization or understanding: are we teaching the right thing?, at NCLT Faculty Workshop on Nanoscale Science & Engineering Education, Alabama A&M University (Huntsville, AL), Friday, March 28, 2008
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. I will show how shifting the focus in lectures from delivering information to synthesizing... Read more about Memorization or understanding: are we teaching the right thing?
Wrapping light around a hair, at NCLT Faculty Workshop on Nanoscale Science & Engineering Education, Alabama A&M University (Huntsville, AL), Thursday, March 27, 2008:
Can light be guided by a fiber whose diameter is much smaller than the wavelength of the light? Can we mold the flow of light on the micrometer scale so it wraps, say, around a hair? Until recently the answer to these questions was ‘no’. We developed a technique for drawing long, free-standing silica wires with diameters down to 50 nm that have a surface smoothness at the atomic level and a high uniformity of diameter. Light can be launched into these silica nanowires by optical evanescent coupling and the wires allow low-loss single-mode operation. They can be bent sharply, making it... Read more about Wrapping light around a hair
High photoconductive gain and broad spectral sensitivity enabled by femtosecond laser doping of silicon, at SPIE Photonics West 2008 (San Jose, CA), Wednesday, January 23, 2008:
Femtosecond laser doping of silicon produces near-unity absorption from the ultraviolet to the short wave infrared. The resulting ‘black silicon’ has great potential for applications in photoactive devices. We have successfully incorporated black silicon into new silicon devices with unique characteristics including: high efficiency, room-temperature photoconductive gain, broad-spectral silicon photodetection, and enhanced near-infrared photovoltaic response. We present the current state of the research and discuss the potential for this processing technique to develop other new materials.

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