December 1, 2022 Thursday 4:00 PM
University of Pittsburgh
Facilitating Thinking and Learning In and Beyond the Physics Classrooms using Research-based Approaches
I will discuss, using my research in physics education, how research can be used as a guide to develop curricula and pedagogies to reduce student difficulties and for making physics equitable and inclusive. I will also discuss innovations in teaching and learning methods for physics after the new normal using my research conducted during emergency remote teaching and lessons learned that can be valuable for innovation in teaching and learning going forward. My research has focused on improving student understanding of introductory and advanced concepts. We are developing research-validated learning tools such as tutorials and peer instruction tools that actively engage students in the learning process. I will discuss how we evaluate the effectiveness of these tools using a variety of methodologies and then describe our research studies that provide guidelines for how to enhance physics by making it inclusive. Finally, I will discuss how a field-tested short intervention was implemented at the beginning of a physics course and how it improved the performance of underrepresented students in introductory physics classes compared to the comparison group.
December 8, 2022 Thursday 4:00 PM
Hybrid: 726 Broadway
, 940 and Zoom
Strong Interactions, Confinement and Strings
In the 1950s and 60s many strongly interacting particles (mesons and baryons) were discovered. String theory was originally invented to describe them, but 50 years ago Quantum Chromodynamics (QCD) emerged as the precise theory of the strong nuclear force. A quarter century later it was understood that string theory and certain gauge theories akin to QCD are different descriptions of the same physics. I will review the relations between gauge theories and strings. The formation of QCD strings is a manifestation of the confinement of colored quarks and gluons. The confinement is observed numerically using Lattice Gauge Theory, and I will review evidence that large N QCD provides a good approximation to the masses of hadrons. The gauge/gravity duality has shed new light on confinement, but its analytic understanding remains a deep unsolved problem in theoretical physics. I will conclude by discussing some surprises in 2D models.