My teaching philosophy is to ?teach to proficiency? for each student in their primary academic STEM education; stressing those areas the student finds interesting to maintain motivation and foster a STEM career. Learning theory, cognitive development and curriculum designs I used in the past focuses on attention gathering instruction, heavily based upon visual and sonic activities integrated with common applications familiar to the student. Reading materials are assembled to provide an intera... [more]
As an undergraduate, my degree was in applied science; however, my minor was history. I have not only taken numerous university courses in the subject, but also visited and studied the history of every one of the 50 United States and her territories (Guam, VI, Puerto Rico, Marshall Islands, etc.) However, my knowledge is not revisionist (as appears in many education environments). I understand the fundamental factors and true, underlying principles for events. For example, a common misunderstanding of the reasons behind the American Civil War (ACW) was the slavery issue. In fact, Abraham Lincoln stated initially that he desired the slaves to leave and later stated he could never image people of color being equal with whites. The ACW was about States? Rights and who authorized power. The North felt the federal government was central and granted power to the states. The South felt the states were central and issued power to the federal government (a continuing issue today). I have my students examine an issue in depth and discuss how it is relevant today.
I am currently a professor of commercial space operations and astrophysics at the university level. Depending on the level of need for the student I have the ability to use analogies to explain complex subjects. For example, when explaining the PP fusion cycle of a G class star (or the CNO cycle of an O class star) I am able to analogize to the level of the student. A freshman college student I would explain the PP cycle this way. Please understand it would be far more detailed and I would get feedback from the student to determine understanding. The PP (proton-proton) fusion cycle is one of two methods a star the size of our Sun or smaller makes light. Light is the result of the process, not the desire of the process. A star is formed by gravity [I?d digress into Newtonian gravity if not understood] which is like taking a bunch of snow and squeezing it into a snowball. But image the squeezing process never ends. What would happen to the snow? Sure it would eventually crush into nothing but water. Well a star is the same way when crushed by gravity. Now what type of force is this? Well think about it. The snow is where with reference to your crushing force (your hands)? Of course, the snow is inside and your crushing force is outside the snow. We call this an ?EXTERNAL? force. So why then doesn?t a star quickly crush by this external force we call (in the case of a star) gravity? Well there is another force [I?d once again digress and explain Newtonian forces (F=ma, etc.) and his other 2 laws if not understood]. Let?s regress. What happens when I explode a bomb? We say it ?blows up? right? Well but how does it blow up. Sure we all know that it explodes from ?inside.? [I have videos to present the process that is obvious to most students]. So what kind of force do you think this is? Sure it is an INTERNAL force. Now let?s take a look at our star ? our Sun. We have gravity as our external force and we have something blowing up internally. It just happens that these forces are exactly equal. What do you think happens? Of course, the force trying to crush the Sun is stopped by the force trying to blow the Sun up; AND the force trying to blow the Sun up is stopped by the force trying to crush the Sun. We call this equilibrium. So in our chapter on gravity, we learned how that happens [gravity is required before this section] but what causes the Sun to blow up? You guessed it; it is that PP fusion cycle. Throughout this discussion I would throw in the equations. If the student is familiar with differential and integral calculus I would give him/her the respective equations that explain my words. If the student is not familiar with calculus it can still be accomplished using totally physics equations (but of course it is more difficult for the student to understand). I never throw out equations without a discussion of the process BEFORE presenting the math to the student. Math is always easier when the concept of what the math describes is understood. Math and physics (whether classical, electromagnetism, relative, or quantum) are intertwined. Math is a tool like a hammer, physics is a description of the universe (no overstatement). I don?t teach math nor physics; I teach concepts. Once the student understands the concepts, the equations are simple.
Currently I am an adjunct university professor of astrophysics teaching courses in basic and intermediate astronomy, commercial space operations (including basic orbital mechanics and launch procedures), space physiology, aviation safety, crew resource management and commercial flight operations and procedures. I have advanced degrees in Space Studies and Planetary Science, published several articles and wrote my thesis entitled, "Explanation of the Supermassive Black Hole Conundrum of the Early Universe at z > 7 via the Examination of Mass Ratios between Quasars such as Henize 2-10 and the Milky Way Galaxy using SDSS and 2MASS Data."
As an undergraduate, my degree was in applied science; however, my minor was history with a concentration in World War II conflicts. I have not only taken numerous university courses in the subject, but also visited and studied the history of every continent in person. I have lived in Europe, Asia, India and Pakistan, the Middle East, Central America as well as the United States. This has provided a unique insight on history from a different perspective. For example, viewing WW2 from a Spanish point of view is completely different than from a British or US American viewpoint. For the Spaniard, the Fascists won! But world history is more than dates and places, it is an attitude. Understanding the rise of Lenin in early 20th Century Russia will aid in understanding the rise of Islamic Fundamentalism in 1978/79 Iran. Knowing the arrogant errors of the West following WW1 will explain the election victories of Nazis (including Hitler) and the militarism of Japan. These are concepts I not only understand, but also desire my students to examine in depth.