2012 BFY Abstract Detail Page
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||Amplifying Practical Knowledge in Physics
||Physics curriculum, including laboratory courses, emphasizes conceptual learning. This is the essential foundation for things that physicists do, but often progress towards discovery and achievement hinges on practical knowledge. This is true for individuals doing their research projects and of the discipline as a whole, with several Nobel prizes stemming from experimental advances using clever practical methods. While many physics departments teach electronics and perhaps optics, it would seem worthwhile to consider a more systematic and broader development of practical knowledge as an essential part of the curriculum. What is needed, perhaps, is a modular structure for teaching practical knowledge in parallel with the mainstream curriculum. Topics range from materials technology and machining techniques to such specialized methods as charged particle optics and low temperature probes. This talk is a call to develop a national repository of such a curriculum, available "on demand" to students who need to know a practical topic "right now" in order to move forward with their research...as well as for success in gaining employment.
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University of Colorado Denver