Magnetic particles are nearly ubiquitous in geological and environmental materials, and can distinguish sediment sources, identify environmental conditions, and trace depositional processes. Rock magnetism allows the analysis of mineralogy, chemistry, and grain size of magnetic particles, even at the 1 micrometer to 1 nanometer sizes and parts-per-billion concentrations characteristic of soils, sediments, and airborne dust. Students and I use the tools of rock magnetism and standard mineralogical techniques to identify contaminant sources, investigate past climate change, trace magmatic processes, and explore the fundamental magnetic properties of minerals.
I teach mainly physics and geoscience courses. My teaching focuses on getting students to actively engage with scientific concepts in an authentic way, and to confront their own conceptions of scientific ideas. In the introductory physics sequence, this means getting students to solve problems using both theory and experiment. In geoscience courses, I use Google Earth to probe students' conceptions of how the Earth works. I am involved in running teacher training and professional development programs using Google Earth, and am planning research on student learning using virtual globes.
I do quite a bit of computer-related work, some of which ends up in the sandbox.
UW Tacoma Faculty Assembly Executive Council IAS Representatives' Blog