2011

Confessions of a converted lecturer, at Harvard-Cengage Conference For Teachers of the Principles of Economics, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA), Friday, April 29, 2011:
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
Nonlinear optics at the nanoscale, at Physics Colloquium, Lehigh University (Bethlehem, PA), Thursday, April 28, 2011:
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
Confessions of a converted lecturer, at Lehigh University (Bethlehem, PA), Thursday, April 28, 2011:
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
Educating the Innovators of the 21st Century, at Critical Issues and Strategies for Leaders of Modern Universities, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA), Tuesday, April 26, 2011:
Can we teach innovation? Innovation requires whole-brain thinking — left-brain thinking for creativity and imagination, and right-brain thinking for planning and execution. Our current approach to education in science and technology, focuses on the transfer of information, developing mostly right-brain thinking by stressing copying and reproducing existing ideas rather than generating new ones. I will show how shifting the focus in lectures from delivering information to team work and creative thinking greatly improves the learning that takes place in the classroom and promotes independent... Read more about Educating the Innovators of the 21st Century
Silica Nanowires for Microphotonic Devices, at NSEC AP298 Seminar, Harvard University (Cambridge, MA), Monday, April 18, 2011:
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 Silica Nanowires for Microphotonic Devices
Femtosecond laser production of TiO2, at Hyperdoping Research Meetup, MIT (Cambridge, MA), Friday, April 15, 2011:
We present a novel method for producing TiO2 through femtosecond-laser processing titanium in the presence of oxygen. The process produces laser-induced periodic surface structures that are consistent with previous work done on titanium. We compare how the surface morphology and composition vary with gas composition and laser parameters. Using x-ray photoelectron and Raman spectroscopy, we will show that chemical selectivity plays an important role in hyperdoping titanium. With this method, we hope to introduce dopants, such as chromium and nitrogen, into the lattice for visible light... Read more about Femtosecond laser production of TiO2
Comprensión o Memorización: ¿Estamos haciendo lo correcto?, at FUNGLODE (Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic), Friday, April 15, 2011:
Educación es mucho más que transferencia de información, sin embargo es lo que comúnmente se hace en cursos introductorios de gran tamaño – los profesores presentan material (a pesar de que ese material puede estar disponible en su versión impresa) y para los estudiantes el principal propósito de las clases magistrales es tomar la mayor cantidad de notas que puedan. Pocos estudiantes tienen la habilidad, motivación y disciplina para sintetizar toda la información que se les entrega. Sin embargo la síntesis es quizás el más importante -- y el más eludido – aspecto de la... Read more about Comprensión o Memorización: ¿Estamos haciendo lo correcto?
The make-believe world of real-world physics, at Spring 2011 Joint Meeting of the New England Sections of the American Physical Society & American Association of Physics Teachers, UMass Lowell (Lowell, MA), Friday, April 8, 2011:
That physics describes the real world is a given for physicists. In spite of tireless efforts by instructors to connect physics to the real world, students walk away from physics courses believing physicists live in a world of their own. Are students clueless about the real world? Or are we perhaps deluding ourselves and misleading our students about the real world?
The scientific approach to teaching: Research as a basis for course design, at Harvard Medical Education Grand Rounds, Harvard Medical School (Boston, MA), Friday, April 8, 2011:
Discussions of teaching -- even some publications -- abound with anecdotal evidence. Our intuition often supplants a systematic, scientific approach to finding out what works and what doesn't work. Yet, research is increasingly demonstrating that our gut feelings about teaching are often wrong. In this talk I will discuss some research my group has done on gender issues in science courses and on the effectiveness of classroom demonstrations.

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