Academic Positions

  • Present 2015

    Lecturer

    University of Massachusetts Amherst, Physics Department

  • 2015 2013

    Lecturer

    University of Arizona, Physics Department

Education & Training

  • Ph.D. 2012

    Ph.D. in Physics

    University of California, Irvine

  • B.S.2006

    Bachelor of Science in Physics

    University of Arizona

Honors, Awards and Grants

  • Spring 2020
    Manning Prize Teaching Award Departmental Nomination
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    The Physics Department Nominee for The Manning Prize for Excellence in Teaching. This prize honors one outstanding faculty member from each of the five campuses of the University of Massachusetts. Now in its third year, this competitive prize is presented to faculty members who demonstrate excellence in teaching along with exemplary dedication to students and the campus community.

  • Spring 2020
    UMass Amherst, CNS Outstanding Teaching Award Departmental Nomination
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    The Physics Department Nominee for The College of Natural Science Outstanding Teaching Award. Recognizes excellence in teaching and honors faculty for their teaching accomplishments. The basis for the CNS Outstanding Teaching Award is broader than those typically applied for the University’s Distinguished Teaching Award, in that contributions to graduate education or undergraduate independent study could be the basis for recognition. The CNS Outstanding Teaching Award program is administered by the College and the Provost's Office, using guidelines established by The Center for Teaching and Learning.

  • Spring 2019
    Manning Prize Teaching Award Departmental Nomination
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    The Physics Department Nominee for The Manning Prize for Excellence in Teaching. This prize honors one outstanding faculty member from each of the five campuses of the University of Massachusetts. Now in its third year, this competitive prize is presented to faculty members who demonstrate excellence in teaching along with exemplary dedication to students and the campus community.

  • Fall 2018
    Distinguished Teaching Award Nomination
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    Honoring individual excellence, the campus-wide Distinguished Teaching Award is highly competitive and prestigious. Only current students and alumni may nominate faculty for this award. Each year faculty, graduate, and undergraduate student committees review more than 100 nominations in a two-step process of data collection and analysis prior to selecting three faculty and two teaching assistant awardees.

  • Spring 2018
    Mellon Mutual Mentoring Grant
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    Leading member of a team awarded a $6000 Mutual Mentoring team grant from the institute for Teaching Excellence and Faculty Development (TEFD) at UMass Amherst for a project titled "Integrated Introductory Life-Science Education." The goal of the project is to facilitate collaboration with faculty across the introductory life-science sequence: introductory biology, general and organic chemistry, calculus for life-science students, and introductory physics for life-science students. The aim of the collaboration is to develop a clear picture of the topics and goals of each course and investigate ways that the courses could be structured to facilitate transfer and interdisciplinary thinking.

  • Spring 2018
    Open Education Initiative
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    A $2,500 grant from the UMass, Amherst W.E.B du Bois Libraries to extend our work on our custom Physics 131 textbook Physics 131: Forces, Energy, Entropy through the creation of a second volume for Physics 132 What is Light? What is an Electron? with the goal of having a textbook ready for the Fall 2018 semester. As with Physics 131: Forces, Energy, Entropy, the book will be based upon the OpenStax: College Physics and videos hosted on my course YouTube channel

  • Spring 2018
    Distinguished Teaching Award Nomination
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    Honoring individual excellence, the campus-wide Distinguished Teaching Award is highly competitive and prestigious. Only current students and alumni may nominate faculty for this award. Each year faculty, graduate, and undergraduate student committees review more than 100 nominations in a two-step process of data collection and analysis prior to selecting three faculty and two teaching assistant awardees.

  • Fall 2017
    Distinguished Teaching Award Nomination
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    Honoring individual excellence, the campus-wide Distinguished Teaching Award is highly competitive and prestigious. Only current students and alumni may nominate faculty for this award. Each year faculty, graduate, and undergraduate student committees review more than 100 nominations in a two-step process of data collection and analysis prior to selecting three faculty and two teaching assistant awardees.

  • Fall 2017
    Open Classroom Experience
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    Participated in an inaugural extended version of the open classroom days. Through this process faculty open their course for visits by other faculty. Such an exchange provides an opportunity to observe how different faculty address similar instructional challenges as well as an opportunity to get feedback on one's own class.

    I opened a total of six sections of my course to visitors and observed BIOLOGY 190H - 01: Quantitative Biology of the Cell which is an honors introductory biology course taught in a team-based learning style.

    Thank you letter for participation

  • September 2017
    National Residence-Hall Honorary
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    UMass-Amherst campus winner of the "Of The Month Award" for September.

    Nomination: Through his teaching of Physics, he expresses his love and passion for science and the many ways it is changing the world. Sometimes in a big lecture class, it starts to feel like there is less of a connection with the professor, but Professor Toggerson tries his hardest to learn the name of each member of the class and to make the class an interactive experience. Even though team- based learning classes are often disliked by many, Physics is interesting due to the team aspects that lead to a better understanding of many difficult topics. I look forward to attending the class three times a week due to the intriguing demonstrations and collaborative activities. When we complete team projects, Professor Toggerson plays an active role in assisting the class with anything that may come up. He is always prepared for class and his positive attitude makes the class more enjoyable overall. I appreciate how much he cares about his students both in and out of the classroom. He also sent out an email in which he provided academic resources and more importantly mental health resources on campus. These issues are often overlooked by many and Professor Toggerson cares for the well being of his students. Overall, I think Professor Toggerson is a tremendously hardworking person and I think that he should be recognized for the awesome job he does each day.

  • Fall 2017
    UMass-Amherst CNS Lecturer's PD Fund Grant
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    One of the inaugural winners of the UMass-Amherst College of Natural Sciences Lecturer's Professional Development Fund Award. Awarded $1550 to present our work on the development of P131 and P132 at the Summer 2018 AAPT Meeting.

  • Fall 2017
    MSP Research Support Fund Grant
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    A $1000 award from the Massachusetts Society of Professors to pay for Jake Shechter's travel to the AAPT Summer 2018 Meeting in Washington D.C. to present our work in developing a first-year graduate-student seminar on professional development and TA training.

  • Fall 2017
    MSP Flex Grant
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    A $500 award from the Massachusetts Society of Professors for equipment necessary to create the needed videos to flip P132.

  • 2017 - 2018
    Teaching for Inclusiveness, Diversity, and Equity (TIDE) Ambassadors
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    A $1500 grant from the UMass, Amherst Institute for Teaching Excellence and Faculty Development.

    TIDE Ambassadors explore how they can enhance students’ learning and academic success across cultural, social, and learning differences by adopting a strength-based, inclusive, and equitable approach to teaching and learning grounded in the value of diversity. The program acknowledges the potential of faculty functioning as catalysts for change through intensive professional development of faculty across disciplines and career stages.

    TIDE Ambassadors take what they learn from their experiences with the fellowship program and develop a project through which they share their growing expertise and contribute to the dialogue about and practice of teaching for inclusiveness, diversity, and equity at the departmental, school/college, or campus-wide levels.

    While white cis-gendered men are actually not a majority in my physics 131 and 132 courses, they do volunteer to contribute more to class discussions than other groups. Moreover, I have definitely observed, both as a practicing physicist and as a physics instructor in a team-based learning (TBL) environment, an undervaluing of the contributions of minority groups. As part of this fellowship, I wanted to explore ways to minimize and mitigate these effects.

    Another topic I wanted to explore is equity with regard to disability particularly in my TBL courses. Many of the suggestions and accommodation requests from our Disability Services offce are tailored to a typical lecture-style course and do not really apply to TBL. For example, a common accommodation is to provide notes before class. However, in a TBL environment, there is only a small amount of lecture and students are spending over half of the class-time working on problems in teams. What accommodations are needed for this environment? How can I structure the course in a way that uses the principles of universal design and minimizes the need for accommodations?

    Finally, the issue of diversity came up several times in the first iteration of physics 390T. As part of that course, we discuss issues such as stereotype threat and soloing with regards to team formation and dynamics within a TBL classroom. The format of these discussions stemmed from readings from the physics education literature. Some students reacted to these ideas with skepticism. Through this fellowship, I learned new ways of exploring these ideas and facilitating better discussions with my students.

    More information on this program can be found at http://www.umass.edu/tefd/tide-ambassadors-program

  • Spring 2017
    Cottrell Scholars Collaborative National Graduate Teaching Assistant Workshop
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    The workshop, “Mobilizing the Forgotten Army: Preparing TAs for Leadership in STEM Education” (sponsored by the National Science Foundation and the Research Corporation for Science Advancement) offers the opportunity for a small group of departmental teams to interact with colleagues who have expertise in supporting physics and chemistry GTAs. The workshop is designed for departmental teams consisting of one “mentor/master” TA and one faculty member.

  • Fall 2016
    Distinguished Teaching Award Nomination
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    Honoring individual excellence, the campus-wide Distinguished Teaching Award is highly competitive and prestigious. Only current students and alumni may nominate faculty for this award. Each year faculty, graduate, and undergraduate student committees review more than 100 nominations in a two-step process of data collection and analysis prior to selecting three faculty and two teaching assistant awardees.

  • Fall 2016
    Innovate @UMass Fellow
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    $500 Award

    Innovation Fellows are faculty who participate in the Innovate@ Symposia that are offered throughout the year. Launched in summer 2016, these symposia are unique workshops that allow faculty to explore different ways of using a wide spectrum of instructional tools and then plan a targeted implementation during the academic year. Faculty then become part of the Innovation Fellow think tank and are the front line for discussing new instructional innovations and for creating a roadmap for sustainable innovations at UMass Amherst. These faculty are also willing to be contacted by faculty throughout the year to talk about instructional technologies and to promote their use in teaching and research.

    My innovation is using social media tools such as twitter to provide an additional way for students to engage with large lecture classes.

    More on the symposium, and my engagement with it can be found at https://innovate.umass.edu/brokk-toggerson-lecturer-physics/

  • Summer 2016
    Open Education Initiative
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    A $2500 grant from the UMass, Amherst W.E.B du Bois Libraries to develop free-to-student materials for use in Physics 131. In order to reduce costs for students, I will be using the OpenStax College Physics textbook as our primary resource. This text is supplemented with my own instructional videos which are hosted on our course YouTube channel.

    These funds are being used to pay for part of an undergraduate student's summer salary to organize our resources a more user-friendly way for the students and future instructors.

  • Summer 2016
    Flex Grant
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    A $500 award from the Massachusetts Society of Professors to further contribute to the salary of a summer student to organize free-to-student resources and to help analyze data from the past semester of Physics 131.

  • Spring 2016
    Inaugural Open Classroom Days
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    One of 19 faculty at UMass who participated in an campus-wide "open house" during which others were invited to come and observe their colleagues teach. I opened up all four sections to observers. This provided a great opportunity for feedback from colleagues across campus.

  • 2015 - 2016
    Student Centered Teaching and Learning (SCTL) Fellow
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    A $1500 fellowship focusing on active, collaborative, and innovative pedagogies. Fellows engage in a variety of initiatives to assist with course design, technology familiarity, and assignment development. Upon completion, fellows receive a certificate of Team-Based Learning qualification.

  • 2014 - 2015
    University of Arizona Team Award for Excellence Nominee
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    Nominated as part of the AAU Collaborative Learning Spaces team for the University of Arizona 2015 Team Award for Excellence which recognizes a team of employees whose outstanding achievements benefit all or a large part of the University. Although ultimately our team was not selected as a recipient, we were publicly acknowledged for many contributions to the University community.

  • 2014-2015
    University of Arizona Physics Department Award for Exceptional Undergraduate Teaching
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    Selected by students and faculty for distinguished undergraduate teaching for the 2014-2015 academic year.

  • 2014
    Inaugural Recipient of University of Arizona AAU Undergraduate STEM Education Project Teaching Award
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    Campus-wide monetary award to acknowledge STEM faculty who have implemented active learning instructional strategies that are proven more effective than traditional lectures. One award given each semester in 2014-2015 academic year.

    Read more in the Arizona Daily Star

  • 2013-2014
    University of Arizona Physics Department Award for Exceptional Undergraduate Teaching
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    Selected by students and faculty for distinguished undergraduate teaching for the 2013-2014 academic year.

  • 2013
    University of Arizona Chi Omega Apple Polisher's Award
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    Selected by members of the University of Arizona chapter of the Chi Omega sorority in recognition of excellent teaching and mentoring.

Founded Collaborations

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    Integrated Introductory Life-Science Education Group (I2LSE)

    A collaboration of lecturers dedicated to promoting transdisciplinary thinking across the introductory life-sciences curriculum.

    A collection of Lecturers from Biology, Chemistry, Mathematics, and Physics responsible for teaching key courses in the introductory sequence for all life science majors initially supported by a Mutual Mentoring Grant. The current courses on which we are focusing are:

    • First-year courses
      • Bio 151 - First-semester Introductory Biology
      • Chem 111 - First-semester General Chemistry
      • Math 127 - Calculus for Life-Science and Business Majors
    • Second- or third-year courses
      • Chem 261 - Organic Chemistry I
      • Chem 262 - Organic Chemistry II
      • Phys 131 - Introductory Physics for Life-Sciences I
      • Phys 132 - Introductory Physics for Life-Sciences II

    The group aims to understand the connections and relationships between these courses and to facilitate interdisciplinary thinking through the construction of modules that explicitly connect content across courses.

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    5-College Physics Education Research Discussion Group

    Physics instructors from Amherst, Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges and the University of Massachusetts Amherst meet to discuss developments in physics education research and support each others' teaching.

    Each of the five colleges in our area has a unique character which results in a diversity of student populations and educational environments. Discussions of pedagogy and research inherently benefit from these diverse perspectives. The forum also serves as a resource for conducting our own research.

Courses Developed

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    Physics 131

    First-Semester Introductory Physics for Life-Science Students(IPLS): Forces, Energy Entropy

    Since Fall 2015, Physics 131 has been taught in an exclusively Team-Based Learning mode in a room especially designed for such pedagogies. In this model, students are responsible for learning the fundamentals of the material on-their-own using readings and formative homework before coming to class. Students are then summatively assessed on their preparation with a 10-question multiple choice quiz at the beginning of each of the five units. During class, students work in teams of five to to master more complex ideas, practice problem solving, and complete integrated laboratory activities. All summative assessments, including the beginning-of-unit quizzes and the three exams, are pyramid in structure: students first complete the exam individually and then with their team. The final grade is a combination of the two. At the end of the semester, the students evaluate their teammates' collaboration. This peer-evaluation figures into each student's grade.

    The content for Physics 131 covers the three fundamental concepts of physics: forces, energy, and entropy broken down into five units.

    1. Forces and Motion in 1-D
    2. Forces and Motion in 2-D
    3. Torque with an emphasis on biomechanics
    4. Conservation of energy across distance scales from the atomic to the macroscopic (includes topics typically considered as thermodynamics).
    5. Understanding a statistical interpretation of entropy

    More details, and access to course materials, can be found at https://physedgroup.umasscreate.net/course-materials/p131/.

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    Physics 132

    Second-Semester Introductory Physics for Life-Science Students: What is an Electron? What is Light?

    Since Spring 2018, I have been working to implement the same Team-Based-Learning pedagogy in a 300-person lecture hall: a space ill-suited to TBL. The solution has been an opt-in team system: students can elect to be part of an officially organized team or choose to be responsible for organizing their own groups. Another concession to the lecture hall environment is the move from beginning-of-unit quizzes to a single-question quiz at the beginning of each class session. Students are told in advance the content of the question in order that they may be prepared. Knowing that perfect attendance is an unrealistic expectation, a certain number of quizzes are dropped at the end of the semester. To facilitate team cohesion, students on organized teams have a lower number of dropped quizzes (4) than those who are going solo (12). In other regards, the course follows the same TBL pedagogy as 131: students spend class time working collaboratively to solve problems and conceptual questions. Assessment is, as with 131, using pyramid exams.

    The content of Physics 132 centers on the two guiding questions: What is an electron? What is light? These questions guide through the entire five units. In addition, each unit has a biologically or chemically authentic question that we address by the end of the unit:

    1. Quantum Mechanics - Why do electrons in atoms have discrete energy levels? What is meant by wave/particle duality? Can we predict the molecular orbitals seen in organic chemistry?
    2. Geometric Optics - How do different materials impact the propagation of light and electrons? How does the human eye work? What about the eyes of other organisms? How do we prescribe glasses?
    3. Electrostatics - How does the fact that the electron has charge impact its behavior? How does gel electrophoresis separate molecules of different sizes?
    4. Circuits - What are the practical implications of charges moving together? How can we model the neuron as an electrical circuit?
    5. Magnetism and Electrodynamics - What are magnetic fields? What is light?

    Unlike 131, the lab for 132 is more traditional in that it operates semi-independently from the lecture portion. I have worked with our Director for Undergraduate Laboratories to develop a sequence of labs that focus on data analysis skills with physics simply being the context. The goal is to provide students skills that they can use in their major courses of study.

    More details, and access to course materials, can be found at https://physedgroup.umasscreate.net/course-materials/p132-second-semester-ipls/.

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    Physics 691G

    First-semester graduate student identity construction and professional development through the lens of TA training.

    Physics 691G is a 1-credit seminar developed in conjunction with some experienced graduate students and with support from the Cottrell Scholars Collaborative National TA Workshop during June 2017. The course was first offered the fall of that year and has been evolving since. The primary goals for this seminar are:

    1. Most of what UMass TAs do is facilitation of groups working in teams (Team-Based Courses, Labs, Office Hours). Thus, we want our TAs to be effective in facilitating students working in teams to solve problems.
    2. We want a “professionalization” of our GTA program which includes (but is not limited to) an improvement of GTA self identity and a development of an explicit awareness of the transferrable skills that being a GTA provides.
    3. We feel that the GTA seminar would provide an excellent context for the exposure to issues of diversity.
    4. Improve faculty support for a robust GTA program (as opposed to disparate TAs assigned to faculty) for stability of the program over time.

    We have shared this course within the UMass community and extensive details are available at https://physedgroup.umasscreate.net/course-materials/graduate-ta-training-seminar/

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    Physics 361

    Introduction to Principles of Active Learning in Physics Education.

    The goal of this course is to provide an introduction to some of the modern researched-based pedagogies used in physics educational research in a theoretical way as well as providing students an opportunity to both observe and practice these techniques in a real classroom as a member of the PHYS 131 instructional team. Students be attending a P131 section, which is taught in a Team-Based Learning (TBL) format, and answering questions of students during the class-time activities. Moreover, students will watch and reflect upon the P131 instructor’s use of modern teaching techniques. There will also be a weekly meeting for students to explore the principles underlying modern pedagogical best-practices. The course is divided into four units, each of which culminates in a project which provide students unique skills or products that they can use in future job applications:

    1. Basics of Teaching: Students will begin a teaching journal reflecting on their practice throughout the semester. This journal will ultimately be turned in at the end of the semester.
    2. Backward Design: Students ultimately practice backward design by writing the goals for a course, objectives for a unit within that course, and an associated exam question, which they could add to a future teaching portfolio.
    3. Evaluating Teaching and Issues of Identity: This unit ends with an assignment where students develop instructional models for 3-D printing using the principles of Universal Design for Learning.
    4. Teaching Philosophy and Reflection: Students write a teaching philosophy for their final assignment.

    More details on this course are available at https://physedgroup.umasscreate.net/course-materials/phys-390t/ (390T was the name of the experimental version of the course before it earned formal approval.)

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    Summer Pre-College Particle Physics

    A two-week summer program for high-school arranged through the UMass Amherst Commonwealth Honors College

    During this two-week particle physics program, motivated high-school students have the opportunity to explore the exciting world of electrons, particles of light, the famous Higgs boson, and more. They learn about the fundamental forces and conservation laws that govern this world of particles, and, by extension, our world. In addition to the underlying physics concepts, participants have a hands-on opportunity to learn about how modern science is done by actually doing it. Participants work in teams analyzing real data from modern particle experiments such as the CMS experiment at CERN as part of a two-week project. In this project, participants will decide what particle to focus on and, as part of a team, figure out how to separate collisions in which your particle is produced from background "look-alike" events. The skills you will develop, such as statistical analysis, are used not only by particle physics, but also by professionals in astronomy, genetics, epidemiology, and the new field of data science.

    There are two materials available for this class, please feel free to use either of them with attribution:

Students Advised

Chasya Church

Physics Undergraduate, Class of 2017

Summer 2016: First forays into researching equity, self-efficacy, and attitude in Physics 131.

David Nguyen

Physics Undergraduate, Class of 2017

Summer 2017: Co-editor of the open-access free textbook Physics 131: Forces, Energy, and Entropy.

Jake Shechter

Physics Ph.D. Student, Graduated Summer 2020

Summer 2017 - Fall 2018: Co-developer of the Physics 691G Graduate Student TA-Training course.

Emily Hansen

Physics Undergraduate, Class of 2020

Summer 2018 - Spring 2020: Demographic analysis on Physics 131 and co-editor of Physics 132: What is an Electron? What is Light?, including the transfer of homework from MasteringPhysics to Edfinity.

Sam Krishnamurthy

Physics Ph.D. Student, 2017 Entering Cohort

Spring 2019 - Fall 2019: Independent study project using logarithmic regression to understand self-efficacy in Physics 131.

Cooper Wagner

Physics Ph.D. Student, 2018 Entering Cohort

Spring 2020: Independent study project using natural language processing to understand student responses on transdisciplinary thinking.

I advise both graduate and undergraduate students with an interest in education. Students work both on developing instructional content such as open-educational textbooks and conducting physics education research. While I will post specific positions on my group's website, if you are in the 5-College system and interested in some physics education experience, please do not hesitate to reach out!

Teaching - UMass, Amherst

More detailed information on these courses, including sample materials can be found on
the UMass P131 Group webpage

  • Spring 2020

    PHYS 132 - Algebra-based Introduction to Electricity, Magnetism, Optics, and Modern Physics

    Significant Reforms: Addition of biologically and chemically authentic guiding questions for each unit. First use of the Pressbooks version of the textbook Physics 132: What is an Electron? What is Light? and Edfinity for the homework.

    Of course, the transition to remote mid-semester was also significant.

  • Spring 2019

    PHYS 132 - Algebra-based Introduction to Electricity, Magnetism, Optics, and Modern Physics

    Significant Reforms: Continuing to increase the TBL-nature of the course through different techniques. First use of the custom textbook Physics 131: What is an Electron? What is Light? Lab effort is also ongoing.

  • Fall 2018

    PHYS 131 - Algebra-based Introduction to Mechanics and Thermodynamics

    Three sections of 100 students. Restructured the first two units of the course to integrate impulse with the other topics on Newton's Laws and graphical analysis. Investigation of the effectiveness of this change is ongoing.

  • Spring 2018

    PHYS 132 - Algebra-based Introduction to Electricity, Magnetism, Optics, and Modern Physics

    Significant Reforms: Began the effort to convert this course from a lecture-based course to a team-based learning course - a transition made more difficult by the 250 students in each of two sections and the lecture hall which is not conducive to this paradigm. Also, begain an effort with the lab instructors in my department to reform the labs for this course in line with the recommendations in Introductory Physics Labs: We can do Better. (Physics Today, vol. 71, issue 1). The goal of making these labs more focused on acquiring data-analysis skills. Also developed a set of 3-D printed models for the more inclusive teaching of magnetism.

  • Spring 2018

    PHYS 390T - Undergraduate Introduction to Physics Education

    Significant Reforms to a Mature Course: Overhauled the course to have a fully flipped structure with four units. Each unit focused on an aspect of teaching: fundamentals, backward design, universal design for learning, and reflecting/assessing teaching. Capstone project for each course involved a result that students could add to their teaching portfolios. For example, the UDL unit ended with 3-D printed models and reflections ended with a teaching philosophy. Submitted the course for permanent approval with this structure. 12 students.

  • Spring 2018

    PHYS 131 - Algebra-based Introduction to Mechanics and Thermodynamics

    One section of 100 students. Redesigned syllabus to be in-line with best inclusive practices based upon my experience with the Teaching for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity Fellowship.

  • Fall 2017

    PHYS 691G - Graduate Student Development Seminar

    New Course: One section of the fourteen first-semester graduate students.
    A once-a-week one-credit seminar providing TA training, presentation skills, and other professional development tools to first-semester graduate students.

  • Fall 2017

    PHYS 131 - Algebra-based Introduction to Mechanics and Thermodynamics

    Three sections of 100 students each. My first semester using the new textbook Physics 131: Forces, Energy, Entropy which combines the readings used in previous semesters into a single volume. Also, did a significant revision to the unit on Energy to have a greater focus on thinking about energy across disciplines and distance scales.

  • Spring 2017

    PHYS 132 - Algebra-based Introduction to Electricity, Magnetism, Optics, and Modern Physics

    Two sections of 250 students each. My first attempt at this course.

  • Spring 2017

    PHYS 131 - Algebra-based Introduction to Mechanics and Thermodynamics

    One section of 100 students. No significant modifications this semester

  • Fall 2016

    PHYS 131- Algebra-based Introduction to Mechanics and Thermodynamics

    Three sections of 100 students. This semesterwill be an iterative refinement on Spring 2016.

  • Fall 2016

    PHYS 390T - Undergraduate Introduction to Physics Education

    One of 10 students. Based upon the independent study from the previous semester. Added the writing of a teaching philosophy as the final project.

  • Spring 2016

    PHYS 131- Algebra-based Introduction to Mechanics and Thermodynamics

    Three sections of 100 students, and one section of 50 students. During this semester, I did a substantial overhaul of the previous semesters efforts to incorporate all that was learned.

  • Spring 2016

    PHYS 296 and 496 - Independent Study of Teaching Methods in P131

    New course: Eight physics majors interested in physics education. This course provided both a theoretical introduction to principles of physics education as well as practical experience in the P131 classroom.

  • Fall 2015

    PHYS 131- Algebra-based Introduction to Mechanics and Thermodynamics

    New course: Three sections of 99 students. First attempt at Team-Based Learning.

Teaching - University of Arizona

  • Spring 2015

    PHYS 331 - Electrodynamics I

    New course: The first part ofa two semester course in electrodynamics for 23 physics majors out of Griffiths 4th Ed. taught based upon a course developed through research done at University of Colorado, Boulder.

  • Spring 2015

    PHYS 241 - Calculus-Based Introduction to Electricity and Magnetism

    A survey of Maxwell's Equations and DC circuits taught to 262 students, primarily engineering majors.

  • Fall 2014

    PHYS 102 - Algebra-Based Introduction to Mechanics, Fluids, Wave Motion, and Thermodynamics

    New course: Coordinating course with three sections of 150 students. Produce lecture materials, YouTube videos, homework assignments and exams for partially flipped classroom which involves weekly in-class problem solving sessions using a problem solving framework based upon the work of Heller & Heller. Also, responsible for overseeing three teams of one graduate student, one grader, and two undergraduate preceptors each which provide the day-to-day face time with students. Maintain uniform evidence-based teaching philosophy across all three sections. To see a more complete description of my reforms click here.

  • Fall 2014

    PHYS 162H - Calculus-Based Introduction to Thermodynamics, Wave Motion, and Optics

    25 physics majors. Significant overhauls to the second half of the course to follow a mathematical theme (i.e. wave properties, wave speed, interference) as opposed to a theme based upon type of wave (i.e. waves on a string, sound, light).

  • Summer 2014

    PHYS 241 - Calculus-Based Introduction Electricity and Magnetism

    50 students predominatelyengineering majors. A survey of Maxwell's Equations and DC circuits.

  • Spring 2014

    PHYS 103 - Algebra-Based Introduction to Electromagnetism, Optics, and Modern Physics

    New course: Approximately 300 predominately life-science majors. Increased emphasis on nuclear physics after soliciting feedback from life-science departments. Used as a test-bed for evidence-based teaching techniques developed in American Association of Universities STEM Faculty Learning Community.

  • Spring 2014

    PHYS 142 - Calculus-Based Introduction to Thermodynamics, Wave Motion and Optics

    100 engineering majors. A three-credit version of the four-credit 162H.

  • Fall 2013

    PHYS 162H - Calculus-Based Introduction to Thermodynamics, Wave Motion and Optics

    New course: 27 physics majors.

  • Fall 2013

    PHYS 241 - Calculus-Based Introduction to Electricity and Magnetism

    A survey of Maxwell's Equations and DC circuits taught to 250 students, primarily engineering majors.

  • Summer 2013

    PHYS 241 - Calculus-Based Introduction to Electricity and Magnetism

    40 engineering students. A condensed course taught in four weeks. Made significant changes to previous version of 261H course to reflect results of physics education research and increase student engagement.

  • Spring 2013

    PHYS 261H - Calculus-Based Introduction to Electricity and Magnetism

    New Course: A survey of Maxwell's Equations and DC circuits taught to 29 students, primarily physics majors and students from the UA Honors College.

  • Spring 2013

    PHYS 141 - Calculus-Based Introduction to Mechanics

    New Course: 250 predominately engineering students.

Open Education Resources (OER)

Since the 1970s, costs to attend college, accounting for inflation, have increased about 200%. Moreover, the cost of textbooks has increased by more than 1000%, which, especially in the age of the internet, I find to be absurd. As an instructor, there is not much I can directly do about the cost of tuition. I can, however, work to control textbook costs.

Beyond the simple cost reasons, I like OER philosophically and pedagogically. As a starter, I am a public employee, and my work should benefit the public. Moreover, as an educator, I have benefitted so much from the work of others, and I want to give back. From a pedagogical standpoint, using OER provides a way to craft materials specifically tailored for my course.


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    Physics 132: What is an Electron? What is Light?

    A multi-modal interactive textbook hosted in Pressbooks specifically designed for Physics 132.

    This textbook, initially used in the 2020 semester and developed in conjunction with physics undergraduate Emily Hansen (Class of 2020), is specifically designed to help students prepare for my Physics 132 class sessions. The material is, therefore, focused at a fairly introductory level. Some of the special features of this textbook include:

    Multi-modal presentation of material
    Some sections are presented both in video form and as text so students can choose how to interact with the content
    Explicit description of the content for which the students will be held responsible
    This book is designed to operate in a flipped classroom, where students are using it to master fundamentals before coming to class. They are then held responsible for mastering that material through summative quizzes. To be transparent, the text explicitly states the material on which they will be quizzed.
    PhET Simulations embedded directly within the text
    Help students develop a conceptual understanding of the fundamentals
    Explicit connections to material from courses that most students have already taken
    There are sections taken from open biology and chemistry texts to ensure the "feel" of these disciplines. There are also examples in video form reviewing content from other courses. These review videos are from other UMass courses so the instructor's voice is even the same. These connections are based upon the discussions of the Integrated Introductory Life Science Education group.
    Embedded homework problems in Edfinity
    Edfinity is an textbook-agnostic, low-cost, NSF funded online homework system. The problems are embedded directly within the text, right below the relevant content. This placement ensures that students go through the text and know exactly where to look for the relevant information
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    Physics 131: Forces, Energy, and Entropy

    A pdf textbook explicitly designed for Physics 131.

    This textbook, initially used in the Fall 2017 semester and developed in conjunction with physics undergraduate David Nguyen (Class of 2017), is specifically designed to help students prepare for the flipped nature of Physics 131. Given that students use this book to develop an understanding of the fundamentals, the content is of a rather introductory level. We do not want to overwhelm the student with irrelevant details. Some of the special features of this textbook include:

    Multi-modal presentation of material
    Some sections are presented both in video form and as text so students can choose how to interact with the content
    Explicit description of the content for which the students will be held responsible
    This book is designed to operate in a flipped classroom, where students are using it to master fundamentals before coming to class. They are then held responsible for mastering that material through summative quizzes. To be transparent, the text explicitly states the material on which they will be quizzed.
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    3-D Printable Models for Teaching Physics

    Shared via https://physedgroup.umasscreate.net and TINKERCAD.

    I have produced a series of 3-D models to help students visualize some of the concepts in physics. These models can either be viewed online or printed. For several models, I have printed a classroom set for use at University of Massachusetts Amherst. These models are designed with Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles in mind. For example, the arrow tips are unique: cones are forces, square pyramids are magnetic fields, and hemispheres are currents. These unique arrow tips allow for students with visual impairments to quickly and easily identify different quantities tactilely.

    Two models are specifically designed for students with visual impairment. A series of pegs on a board, in conjunction with some string, allows students with visual impairment to draw ray diagrams.

  • I am the primary blogger at the University of Massachusetts Amherst Physics Education Group blog. I post at least once a month. A few of my common themes are:

    • Reflections on my teaching.
    • News stories about education.
    • Equity in physics.
    • References for others, for example technology for teaching remotely that may be of use to other faculty.

All Publications

Publications from the ATLAS experiment include only those to which I provided a significant contribution. For a full list see here.

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NerdNite: How to Not-Explain Things Well

B. Toggerson
Presentation December 2018 NerdNite, The Duce, Northampton MA

Abstract

How can we apply lessons about how people actually learn from educational psychology and neurology to teaching physics effectively? The standard lecture is definitely the most familiar technique, but is it the most effective? Are there other things that we as instructors can do that would work better? How do we define "better?"

In this talk for the public, I explore some of the principles of effective teaching. While I am a physics teacher, and therefore speak within that context, most of these techniques can be applied to other disciplines as well. I then go on to explore the impacts of these techniques on the self-efficacy, or belief in one's ability to learn, for introductory physics for life-science students.

Exposing Physics Majors to Education while Supporting Studio-Style Courses

B. Toggerson
Presentation AAPT Summer 2018 Meeting, Washington DC

Abstract

Many departments have few formalized opportunities for physics majors to explore education principles within physics departments. Moreover, teaching a 100-student course in a team-based format as in Michaelsen et al often requires significant in-classroom assistants. At UMass-Amherst, we have been developing a course to meet both of these needs. In our course, students engage with modern PER literature and get hands-on practical experience in a studio-style classroom under the mentorship of one of our department’s lecturers. Simultaneously, the students in this course provide the in-classroom support needed for the first semester of our introductory physics for life sciences course. We will present some of the key features of our course, in particular how course assignments both help the department achieve its teaching goals as well as allow students develop real-world products they can use in future job searches.

Application of Team-Based Learning to a First Semester IPLS Course, Physics 131: Forces, Energy Entropy

B. Toggerson, H. Hatch, C. Ertl, P. Bourgeois, C. Church
Poster AAPT Summer 2018 Meeting, Washington DC

Abstract

We present the current status of an effort at UMass, Amherst to transition the first semester of our large IPLS course to a team-based learning format following Michaelsen et al while simultaneously adjusting the topics and skills covered to apply to our population. We will present our motivations for the transition, key features of our course’s structure, and an overview of the largest departures in content from a typical algebra-based introductory course. We will also discuss new developments towards a dedicated free and open-source textbook for our course based upon the OpenStax College Physics text.

Transitioning a 300-person IPLS Course to Team-Based Learning, Physics 132: What is Light? What is an Electron?

B. Toggerson
Poster AAPT Summer 2018 Meeting, Washington DC

Abstract

Over the past years, we at UMass-Amherst have been transitioning six 100-student sections of a first-semester introductory physics for life science (IPLS) course into a team-based (TBL) model following Michaelsen et al. Here we present an overview of our first efforts to teach the second semester of the sequence in the same style. Due to institutional constraints, the second semester of the sequence has 300 students per section and is taught in a traditional lecture hall. A discussion of how we handled some of the logistical challenges of teaching in a TBL mode in this space will be touched upon along with a discussion of the particular IPLS features and some notes on future plans.

Innovate@ Symposium Invited Talk: Technologies used in P13X at UMass Amherst

B. Toggerson
Presentation May 2018 Innovate@UMass Symposium, University of Massachusetts - Amherst, Amherst MA

Abstract

An overview of some of the various tools and technologies used in Physics 131 and 132. Improved and expanded from the January edition.

Innovate@ Symposium Invited Talk: Technologies used in P13X at UMass Amherst

B. Toggerson
Presentation January 2018 Innovate@UMass Symposium, University of Massachusetts - Amherst, Amherst MA

Abstract

An overview of some of the various tools and technologies used in Physics 131 and 132.

Innovate@ Symposium Invited Talk: Technologies used in P13X at UMass Amherst

B. Toggerson
Presentation January 2018 Innovate@UMass Symposium, University of Massachusetts - Amherst, Amherst MA

Abstract

An overview of some of the various tools and technologies used in Physics 131 and 132.

NerdNite: The Black Holes of Scientific Knowledge

B. Toggerson
Presentation October 2017 NerdNite, Academy of Music, Northampton MA

Abstract

An overview of some of the unanswered questions in physics today.

Application of Team-Based Learning to a First-Semester IPLS Course

B. Toggerson
Presentation AAPT Summer Meeting, July 2017

Abstract

An overview of the effort to convert P131 to TBL.

Physics 131 - Use of Open Resources

B. Toggerson
Presentation MASSPRING Affordable Textbook Panel, Spring 2017

Abstract

Asked by MASSPRING (A student advocacy group) to participate in a panel to answer questions from students and faculty on my experiences with open resources.

Twitter in Large Lecture Classes

B. Toggerson
Presentation @Innovate Symposium, Spring 2017

Abstract

An overview of efforts to use Twitter as a student response system in a large lecture-hall course. Presented to the Spring 2017 @Innovate Symposium.

A collection of materials for Particle-Physics Summer Pre-College at UMass Amherst, 2016

B. Toggerson
Unpublished

Purpose and Usage

As documented under my current projects, the Summer Pre-College program is a two-week intensive program for high-school students by which students are in residence at UMass and participate in 6 hours of intensive study per day.

These materials and the slides also provided on this page form a set

Please contact me if you plan to use these slides. I am happy to share them with attribution. I would also appreciate any feedback you may have.

Lecture Slides for Particle-Physics Summer Pre-College at UMass Amherst, 2016

B. Toggerson
Unpublished

Purpose and Usage

As documented under my current projects, the Summer Pre-College program is a two-week intensive program for high-school students by which students are in residence at UMass and participate in 6 hours of intensive study per day.

These materials and the slides also provided on this page form a set.

Please contact me if you plan to use these slides. I am happy to share them with attribution. I would also appreciate any feedback you may have.

Problem solving in Physics and its Application to Collaborative Problem Solving: A Guide for PHYS 102.

B. Toggerson
Unpublished

Purpose

Written as a guide for PHYS 102 students at University of Arizona. A summary of work done at University of Minnesota on learning physics by problem solving. Provided the framework for collaborative problem solving activities to be conducted as part of and algebra-based introduction to mechanics at University of Arizona.

Search for direct slepton and gaugino production in final states with two leptons and missing transverse momentum with the ATLAS detector in pp collisions at sqrt(s) = 7TeV

The ATLAS Collaboration
Journal Papers Phys. Lett., B718:879-901, 2013.

Abstract

A search for the electroweak pair production of charged sleptons and weak gauginos decaying into final states with two leptons is performed using 4.7 fb-1 of proton-proton collision data at sqrt(s)=7 TeV recorded with the ATLAS experiment at the Large Hadron Collider. No significant excesses are observed with respect to the prediction from Standard Model processes. In the scenario of direct slepton production, if the sleptons decay directly into the lightest neutralino, left-handed slepton masses between 85 and 195 GeV are excluded at 95% confidence level for a 20 GeV neutralino. Chargino masses between 110 and 340 GeV are excluded in the scenario of direct production of wino-like chargino pairs decaying into the lightest neutralino via an intermediate on-shell charged slepton for a 10 GeV neutralino. The results are also interpreted in the framework of the phenomenological minimal supersymmetric Standard Model.

Search for Direct Gaugino Production Decaying to Two Leptons and Missing Transverse Momentum at ATLAS with sqrt(s) = 7 TeV

B. Toggerson
DissertationUniversity of California, Irvine 2012

Abstract

A search for the electroweak production of gauginos decaying into two leptons and missing transverse momentum (MET) is presented using pp collisions at sqrt(s) = 7 TeV produced by the LHC and recorded by the ATLAS detector corresponding to an integrated luminosity of 4.7 fb^-1. Standard Model backgrounds are estimated using a combination of semi-data-driven techniques where possible, and Monte Carlo simulation. No significant excess in data with respect to the Standard Model prediction is observed in any of the four signal regions: opposite-sign dileptons with a jet veto and missing transverse energy, same-sign dileptons with a jet veto and MET, opposite-sign dileptons in association with jets, or a signal region requiring opposite sign dileptons and using kinematic properties of the event to remove top anti-top and WW backgrounds. In addition to model-independent limits, limits are set in both simplified models and in the context of the phenomenological Minimally Supersymmetric Standard Model. Using the simplified model paradigm, wino-based charginos, decaying through an intermediate on-shell slepton or sneutrino to a stable 10 GeV neutralino, are excluded for chargino masses between 110 and 340 GeV. For the case of associatively produced mass-degenerate charginos and neutralinos both decaying via on-shell sleptons or sneutrinos to stable 10 GeV neutralinos, the chargino and neutralino masses of 80-260 GeV are excluded.

Search for Direct Gaugino Production Decaying to Two Leptons and Missing Transverse Momentum at ATLAS with sqrt(s) = 7 TeV.

B. Toggerson
Presentation 2012 pNut Lunch Seminar

Abstract

An overview of searches for direct gaugino production in dilepton channels at sqrt(s) = 7 TeV using the ATLAS detector.

Searches for direct gaugino production and RPV SUSY with leptons at sqrt(s) = 7 TeV

B. Toggerson for the ATLAS Collaboration
Presentation CIPANP 2012, St. Petersburg

Abstract

An overview of searches for direct gaugino production and RPV SUSY in events with 2, 3 and 4+ leptons at sqrt(s) = 7 TeV using the ATLAS detector.

Leptons+X (direct gaugino) - ATLAS

B. Toggerson for the ATLAS Collaboration
Presentation 2012 BNL Workshop on SUSY with 5fb-1 at the LHC

Abstract

An overview of searches for direct gaugino production in events with 2, 3 and 4+ leptons at sqrt(s) = 7 TeV using the ATLAS detector.

Searches for supersymmetry with the ATLAS detector using final states with two leptons and missing transverse momentum in sqrt(s) = 7 TeV proton-proton collisions

The ATLAS Collaboration
Journal ArticlesPhys. Lett. B709 (2012) 137-157

Abstract

Results of three searches are presented for the production of supersymmetric particles decaying into final states with missing transverse momentum and exactly two isolated leptons, e or mu. The analysis uses a data sample collected during the first half of 2011 that corresponds to a total integrated luminosity of 1 fb^-1 of sqrt{s} = 7 TeV proton-proton collisions recorded with the ATLAS detector at the Large Hadron Collider. Opposite-sign and same-sign dilepton events are separately studied, with no deviations from the Standard Model expectation observed. Additionally, in opposite- sign events, a search is made for an excess of same-flavour over different-flavour lepton pairs. Effective production cross sections in excess of 9.9 fb for opposite-sign events containing supersymmetric particles with missing transverse momentum greater than 250 GeV are excluded at 95% CL. For same-sign events containing supersymmetric particles with missing transverse momentum greater than 100 GeV, effective production cross sections in excess of 14.8 fb are excluded at 95% CL. The latter limit is interpreted in a simplified weak gaugino production model excluding chargino masses up to 200 GeV.

Search for supersymmetric particles in events with lepton pairs and large missing transverse momentum in sqrt(s) = 7 TeV proton-proton collisions with the ATLAS experiment

The ATLAS Collaboration
Journal Articles EPJC, 71:1682, 2011.

Abstract

Results are presented of searches for the production of supersymmetric particles decaying into final states with missing transverse momentum and exactly two isolated leptons in sqrt(s)=7 TeV proton-proton collisions at the Large Hadron Collider. Search strategies requiring lepton pairs with identical sign or opposite sign electric charges are described. In a data sample corresponding to an integrated luminosity of 35 pb-1 collected with the ATLAS detector, no significant excesses are observed. Based on specific benchmark models, limits are placed on the squark mass between 450 and 690 GeV for squarks approximately degenerate in mass with gluinos, depending on the supersymmetric mass hierarchy considered.

Measurement of the top quark-pair production cross section with ATLAS in pp collisions at sqrt(s) = 7 TeV

The ATLAS Collaboration
Journal ArticlesEPJC, 71:1577, 2011.

Abstract

A measurement of the production cross-section for top quark pairs (ttbar) in pp collisions at sqrt(s}=7 TeV is presented using data recorded with the ATLAS detector at the Large Hadron Collider. Events are selected in two different topologies: single lepton (electron or muon) with large missing transverse energy and at least four jets, and dilepton (e e, mu mu or e mu) with large missing transverse energy and at least two jets. In a data sample of 2.9 pb-1, 37 candidate events are observed in the single-lepton topology and 9 events in the dilepton topology. The corresponding expected backgrounds from non-ttbar Standard Model processes are estimated using data-driven methods and determined to be 12.2 +/- 3.9 events and 2.5 +/- 0.6 events, respectively. The kinematic properties of the selected events are consistent with SM ttbar production. The inclusive top quark pair production cross-section is measured to be $\sigma_ttbar=145 \pm 31 ^{+42}_{-27}$ pb where the first uncertainty is statistical and the second systematic. The measurement agrees with perturbative QCD calculations.

Cathode Strip Chambers in ATLAS: Installation, Commissioning and in Situ Performance.

T. Argyropoulos et al.
Conference Papers Nuclear Science Symposium Conference Record, 2008. NSS '08. IEEE

Abstract

The Muon Spectrometer of the ATLAS detector at the LHC is designed to provide high quality stand-alone muon identification, momentum measurement and trigger capabilities with high pseudorapidity coverage. Precision tracking at the inner-most station in the high pseudorapidity regions, 2.0 < |eta| < 2:7, is performed by 16 four-layered Cathode Strip Chambers on each end-cap. These are multi-wire proportional chambers with segmented cathodes providing excellent spatial resolution and high counting rate capability. The second cathode of each layer is coarsely segmented, providing the transverse coordinate. The detector level performance of the system is presented. The installation and commissioning effort for the Cathode Strip Chambers is described. Finally, the in situ performance is briefly discussed.

Onset of space charge effects in liquid argon ionization chambers

B. Toggerson et al.
Journal ArticlesNuclear Inst. and Methods A, 608(2), September 2009.

Abstract

Using a thin-gap liquid argon ionization chamber and Strontium-90 beta sources we have measured ionization currents over a wide range of gap potentials. These precision "HV plateau curves" advance the understanding of liquid argon sampling calorimeter signals, particularly at high ionization rates. The order of magnitude differences in the activities of the beta sources allow us to estimate where the ionization chamber is driven into the space-charge dominated regime.

Materials

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    Letters of reference

    What you need to know before you ask for a letter of reference from me.

    1. First think to yourself, "Will Dr. Toggerson be able to recall my face when he sees my name?" Remember, I have over 300 students a semester. While, I can write a letter without this criterion being met, it will not be a very good letter, and probably will not help your case.
    2. You should have earned a high B in my class in order to get a letter. Exceptions to this rule will be made if you have demonstrated exceptional improvement over the course of the semester.
    3. Provide a CV or resume. This should describe the relevant courses you took, the research projects you have worked on, any honors, and relevant work experience.
    4. If you have a personal statement, please send me that as well. Such statements can be helpful in making the letter more personal. However, don't write a personal statement just for me.
    5. If more than one reference is needed, please provide me a list of all recipients and due dates
    6. Be aware of deadlines. Don't annoy me (the person you are asking for comments on your work ethic!) by handing me requests due the following day unless you can convince me that there is a really good reason for the late notice!
    7. Please follow up with me. I get many emails, and sometimes, I may put your request on the back burner in order to deal with more urgent matters. Silence doesn't mean no, silence means I forgot. It is up to you to follow up.
    8. Speaking of following up, if you give me a request months out, you may want to follow up as the deadline gets closer.
    9. I will let you know when the letter has been sent.
    10. This item is not specific to me, but good advice in general; if someone of whom you have asked for a letter says, "you must have someone who could write you a better letter." Take the hint! You don't want someone writing you a bad letter.
    11. I will ask you to meet one-on-one. We will chat so that I can get to know you better.
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    Physics Study Techniques

    A collection of physics study techniques from current physicists and engineers.

    I asked some friends and colleagues of mine who are all now physicists or engineers, "How do you study physics?" Here are their responses:

    Me

    I would go to lecture and take detailed notes. After lecture I would begin working on the homework and do as much as possible on my own. Afterwards, I would contact a friend or two of mine and set up a homework session where we would go through our solutions. Sometimes in the course of trying our solutions to each other we would find a mistake in our work. If no one understood the problem, then we would work on it together. These were the problems where we probably learned the most; we would explain ideas to each other and explore the concepts involved. If we got stuck, we would go ask the instructor for help.

    In preparing for exams, I would go through the text and combine my class notes and the text into an outline or map of the concepts. These outlines definitely found use later in making studying for the final exam much more efficient. After outlining, I would work practice problems. Usually these problems were done in a group, as I find explaining what I did to others to be very beneficial.

    MW (physicist in industry)

    I did my best when I did lots of practice problems that provided different examples of using the same concepts. Using the same concepts in different ways to solve different problems helps to abolish the idea that you can just plug and chug without thinking about the real problem at hand.

    JS (engineer)

    Focus on concept based questions. I've found a lot of engineers get by on their math skills alone and couldn't answer the simplest of conceptual questions. I've also found drop outs who could have made great engineers, but they got tripped up trying to understand and didn't get the emphasis on understanding the material they needed since it was all about solving the problem.

    Also, make sure your algebra skills are like second nature. That way you are not thinking about algebra, you are focused on the concepts and any new mathematics. I thought I understood algebra, I got a good grade in it, but I had trouble doing it at the level needed at first.

    RPM (astronomy Ph.D.)

    Lots and lots of practice problems, even ones I've done before. Not just doing them, either, but making sure I understand why I'm doing what I'm doing. Also, I usually go through my notes/the text book and summarize key points, relationships, and equations. For the equations, I make sure that I know what they do and how to use them (practice problems help with this step). It's a long process that requires at least two days, sometimes more depending on what I'm studying for and how much material there is.

    CBL (physicist in industry)

    Understand the difference between the mathematical framework and the physical model. What are the physical concepts and how is it written down mathematically? Physics and mathematics is so intertwined that it can be hard to see what is what. Learn how to read formulas; what does each symbol stand for and what is it purpose? Learn how to write formulas: "If I want to express this physical concept mathematically, how would I do it?" Always read the units in an equation, so that you know what the core quantity is flowing between all the separate components of the equation. To know what is flowing between everything is essential for the understanding of an equation. To know what is flowing is also to know what is conserved. In the end we are all plumbers.