"It is, in fact, nothing short of a miracle that the modern methods of instruction have not entirely strangled the holy curiosity of inquiry." -- Albert Einstein
My teaching philosophy is that the teacher's role is to help the students teach themselves. (The current buzzword is "active learning" but the strategy is as old as teaching itself). My classes revolve around discussion, questioning, hands-on experiment, scientific programming, group projects, and exercises for the development of skills in answering new questions.
GEOS 23200 | Climate Dynamics of the Earth and Other Planets
This course introduces the basic physics governing the climate of planets, the Earth in particular but with some consideration of other planets. Topics include atmospheric thermodynamics of wet and dry atmospheres, the hydrological cycle, blackbody radiation, molecular absorption in the atmosphere, the basic principles of radiation balance, and diurnal and seasonal cycles. Students solve problems of increasing complexity, moving from pencil-and-paper problems to programming exercises, to determine surface and atmospheric temperatures and how they evolve. Co-taught with Ray Pierrehumbert
GEOS 24705 | Energy: Science, Technology, and Human Usage
This course covers the technologies by which humans appropriate energy for industrial and societal use, from steam turbines to internal combustion engines to photovoltaics. We also discuss the physics and economics of the resulting human energy system; fuel sources and relationship to energy flows in the Earth system; and modeling and simulation of energy production and use. Our goal is to provide a technical foundation for students interested in careers in the energy industry or in energy policy. Field trips are a required part of class and will include visits to an oil refinery and to coal, cogeneration, and nuclear plants.
Lecturer, organizing committee: international summer school on Water Vapor in the Climate System (WAVACS), Cargese, Corsica (Sept. 2009)
Lecturer, organizing committee: international summer school on the Upper Troposphere and Lower Stratosphere (UTLS), Cargese, Corsica (Oct. 2005)
AIMS is a one-year program for graduates in math and science from African universities, with the goal of preparing students for graduate school and for careers in academia, business, or government. Many AIMS alumni are now in graduate programs in the U.S., U.K., and Europe.
My AIMS experience has led to ongoing interest in, research on, and activism about higher education in developing countries. This webpage summarizes research and recommendations; see the "student voices" section for essays from African university students describing their educational conditions. The website was included in the e-Granary Digital Library distributed to developing world educators without internet access. (Note ironically that the internet access section here is out of date; conditions and access are changing rapidly).
Working with Professor Calestous Juma of Harvard University, we have focused particular effort on internet access for African universities (e.g. this Science editorial of 2008). In July 2009 Prof. Juma was in Tanzania for the first signal through the SEACOM fiber optic cable connecting the E. coast of Africa to the remainder of the world. SEACOM has pledged bandwidth to African universities and has chosen the Tanzanian landing point in consideration of the Univ. of Dar es Salaam; the government of Kenya is also now committed to providing bandwidth to all Kenyan universities.