I have an extensive teaching experience at both the undergraduate and graduate
levels. This includes teaching in the US as an Associate Professor
of Physics and Astronomy in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at
Georgia State University and as a Visiting Professor in the Department
of Physics, Washington State University, and a Visiting Scientist in the
Department of Physics, State University of New York at Buffalo.
I have taught over 20 different courses in physics at both the undergraduate
and graduate levels. The courses for which on-line materials are available,
are highlighted and underlined)
Teaching Philosophy and Ideas:
I really enjoy teaching at all levels, from freshman to advanced graduate.
I consider teaching as an important part of science, which on one hand
disseminates knowledge and promotes the science itself, and on the other
hand allows one to involve students in current research, further enhancing
its results. Based on the student's evaluations, my performances have scored
better than average, from good to outstanding. As an innovation, I have
substantially incorporated computer assisted and on-line methods in my
teaching. Besides a classroom teaching, I have been an advisor to many
undergraduate and graduate students and postdoctoral associates. A considerable
and enjoyable part of my research has been done in close collaboration
with students. Presently I am an advisor of three Ph.D. students and a
MS student. Previously, I had been an advisor for seven Master's theses
and seven Ph.D. dissertations, all of them successfully defended. The most
recent of these Ph.D. dissertations has been defended in 2001 by my graduate
student Sergey Faleev who is now at Sandia National Laboratories, Livermore,
I feel that my teaching has been successful due to a few principles consistently
adhered to and due to a substantial use of modern computer based approaches.
Among those principles are: considering teaching as a privilege, not a
burden, thorough preparation for classes, formulation of problems which
are realistic and of as much practical use as possible, and which are closely
related to the current material to serve also as illustrations, and last
but not least, being accessible to students.
I have always actively involved my students, both undergraduate and graduate,
in my research. As my List
of References witnesses, a number of my papers [6, 9, 11-13, 16-18,
21-25, 28-36, 38, 39, 43-45, 47, 48, 50, 51, 56, 58, 64, 67-72, 74-80,
82, 83, 87, 94, 96, 99, 102-106, 108] have been published in collaboration
with my students.
I use also some other ideas to make teaching more efficient:
Teaching in the classroom without constantly consulting notes (I have the
notes thoroughly prepared, but use them just a few times during a lecture).
This makes teaching more difficult and may generate some mistakes but has
two great advantages. Students witness obtaining all results from scratch
before their eyes and become familiar with the techniques of calculations,
derivations, tests, and recovery from mistakes.
As examples, I always take subjects that are of practical importance, commonly
interesting to students. For instance, teaching classical mechanics, I
consider such examples as the stability of a car during difficult cornering,
how to drive safely with the maximum speed, and what is the mechanical
basis of skiing. In teaching thermodynamics, I discuss how the Joule-Thomson
process is used in SCUBA, why Russian armor during World War II was superior
to German and how it is related to the method of liquefaction and separation
of gases suggested by the famous Piotr Kapitsa, a Nobelist, why laser light
can serve as the Maxwell's demon without contradiction to the second law
of thermodynamics, whether there is any resolution of the Gibbs paradox,
etc. In the course of quantum mechanics, I consider such examples as quantum
cryptography (measurability and uncertainty relations), measurements and
localization of particles, the failure of common-sense predictions in photon
interference (Bell inequalities), and the Aharonov-Bohm effect, etc.
I always give students more credit for their consistent work during the
semester than for examinations. With this, I emphasize the priority of
diligent, everyday work.
A new idea mentioned above is the incorporation of interactive
computer assisted methods into teaching. I have a computer on my desk
during the lectures, with its display shown on the big screen. In the case
of Introductory Physics course, I have all my lectures, including text,
figures, and simulations as computer files, available on Internet. Each
such file has a hyperlinked structure, so one can easily go to any important
part of the lecture or activate an embedded simulation or demonstration
object by simply clicking the corresponding field. These lectures are available
to my students via Internet. In my experience, such approach
makes a tremendous difference for the efficiency of teaching. For
graduate courses, many materials are also available to the students during
the lectures and through the Internet. In this case a stronger emphasis
is on modeling packages (usually written in Mathematica) and embedded
into assignment and solution files. There are links to such materials from
the List of Courses above.
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