Research and other interests
primary area of
research is experimental surface science, focusing
interactions of small molecules and atoms (such as oxygen, sulfur, and
carbon monoxide) with metal surfaces, typically copper and platinum.
These phenomena are important to a range of technologies
including heterogeneous catalysis, chemical sensing, pollution control,
and thin-film growth. Experimental techniques include surface
resistivity, infrared spectroscopy, temperature-programmed desorption,
and Auger electron spectroscopy.
Areas of interest include:
In 2013 I was named a Fellow of the AVS (formerly American Vacuum
Society) "for outstanding contributions to understanding the dynamics
energy transfer between adsorbates and metal substrates, and chemical
reactions and electronic effects on stepped surfaces."
of adsorbates on the electrical and optical properties of the metal;
chemistry of novel chemical sensors;
and reaction on stepped metal surfaces;
- Adsorption on metallic
For more details, see list of publications.
Physics of Baseball
I have a longstanding interest in the physics of
baseball, and frequently give talks on the subject.
In 2008 I published an
analysis of the possible effects of steroid use on home-run production,
which was reported in the Washington
and numerous other publications.
You can see a video of one version of my talk on steroids and home runs
, or read my comments on the physics of pitching here
After the 2007 World Series, I was interviewed on Canadian
television about the effects of the high altitude at Coors
Field in Denver.
Science and Math
The Fulcrum Institute was an innovative NSF-funded program for improving elementary and
middle-school science instruction by giving in-service K-8 teachers an
intensive set of courses to enhance both their science knowledge and
their expertise in effective science pedagogy. Physicists,
education researchers and curriculum developers worked closely with each
other and with the teacher/learners to make sure that the science,
educational methods, and coursework were at the highest possible level.
In collaboration with
colleagues at TERC
and elsewhere, I have also been involved in efforts to improve science
curricula and teacher preparation in the elementary grades. The Inquiry
Project, an NSF-supported
development and educational research project,
on new curricula
for grades 3-5, aimed at investigating the properties of materials and
laying the groundwork for students' later exposure to
the atomic model
of matter. Currently I am active in a project
to develop and implement a learning progression
for the teaching and learning of energy concepts in elementary and
In my teaching at Tufts I work to incorporate the insights of Physics
Education Research by promoting active student engagement in classes at
all levels. In the introductory classes that includes the use
Instruction technique pioneered by Eric Mazur,
and interactive lecture demonstrations developed at the Tufts Center for Science and
Math Teaching. You can view a brief interview about student
On this page
you will find some interactive tools I've developed for teaching
various concepts in math and physics.
to read some letters to the editor relating to science education.
am convinced that over the next several decades the world will need to
make an dramatic transition from an economy based on the
extraction and consumption of abundant and inexpensive fossil fuels to
one based on renewable energy sources. This transition poses
extraordinary technical, economic, social and political challenges that
are only beginning to be fully recognized.
I have offered a seminar for my freshman advisees, focusing on
issues of energy and climate change, mainly from a scientific and
to read some letters to the editor relating to energy and climate