Research and other interests
primary area of
research is experimental surface science, focusing on the
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:
For more details, see list of publications.
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
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 Post, Boston Globe, Science Daily, Physics World, Athletic Business, and numerous other publications.
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 Education
The Fulcrum Institute
is 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 work closely with each
other and with the teacher/learners to make sure that the science,
educational methods, and coursework are at the highest possible level.
Click here to see a short video used in the course
to help show the existence of "light" beyond the spectrum that we can
I am also involved in the Inquiry Project, an NSF-supported curriculum
development and educational research project focused 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
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 of
the Peer Instruction technique pioneered by Eric Mazur, and interactive lecture demonstrations developed at the Tufts Center for Science and Math Teaching.
Click here to read some letters to the editor relating to science education.
Energy and Climate Change
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 regularly offer a seminar for my freshman advisees, focusing on
issues of energy and climate change, mainly from a scientific and
Click here to read some letters to the editor relating to energy and climate change.