Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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Science in Focus: EnergySupport MaterialsChannel-TalkEnergy
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Energy Experts



Charles A. Whitney, Ph.D.


Charles A. Whitney, Ph.D. is Professor emeritus of astronomy at Harvard University and a retired Senior Scientist at the Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory. He received an S.B. in physics from MIT in 1951 and a Ph.D. in astrophysics from Harvard in 1956. During the early Sputnik days, he served as chief of computations of the Satellite Tracking Program, Center for Astrophysics. His research during the next two decades focused on the theory and observation of stellar variations and the structure of stellar atmospheres. One of his books, Discovery of Our Galaxy, was nominated for the National Book Award in 1962. In 1971, he received a Solomon R. Guggenheim Fellowship for study in the history of astronomy.

Professor Whitney has written on the astronomy of Vincent van Gogh's skyscapes, and has been active in developing and evaluating software for instruction in physics and astronomy. He served on the National Scientific Advisory Board of Children's Television Workshop Public Television series, 3-2-1 Contact, and on the Science Advisory Committee of Project STAR. He is editor of the Journal of the American Association of Variable Star Observers.

 Sallie Baliunas, Ph.D.

Sallie Baliunas, Ph.D. is an astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics. She is Deputy Director and Director of Science Programs at Mount Wilson Observatory; she also serves as Senior Scientist at the George C. Marshall Institute in Washington, D.C., and chairs the Institute's Science Advisory Board. She is also Adjunct Professor at Tennessee State University.

Dr. Baliunas's research interests include solar variability and other factors in climate change, magnetohydrodynamics of the sun and sunlike stars, exoplanets, and the use of laser electro-optics to correct turbulence in the earth's atmosphere that blurs astronomical images. She has written over 200 scientific research articles, and is a contributing editor to the World Climate Report and an editor for New Astronomy. Her awards include the Newton-Lacy-Pierce Prize of the American Astronomical Society, the Petr Beckmann Award for Scientific Freedom, and the Bok Prize from Harvard University.

Dr. Baliunas received her Ph.D. degree in Astrophysics from Harvard University. In 1991 she was profiled by Discover magazine as one of America's outstanding women scientists. In addition to appearing in "Science in Focus: Force and Motion," Dr. Baliunas is the science advisor for "Gene Roddenberry's Earth: Final Conflict," the sci-fi television series launched in 1997.

William G. Gardner, Ph.D.

William G. Gardner, Ph.D. is an expert in acoustics and sound engineering. He received a B.S. degree in Computer Science and Engineering from MIT in 1982, and M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Media Arts and Sciences from MIT in 1992 and 1997. From 1984 to 1990 he worked at Kurzweil Music Systems developing software and signal processing algorithms for electronic musical instruments. As a graduate student at the MIT Media Lab, he researched spatial audio, reverberation, sound synthesis, real-time signal processing, and psychoacoustics, and completed a dissertation on the topic of 3-D audio using loudspeakers. He was awarded a Motorola Fellowship at the Media Lab, and was recipient of the 1997 Audio Engineering Society Publications Award.

In 1997, Dr. Gardner founded Wave Arts, Inc. (Arlington, Massachusetts) a company whose objective is to develop and sell audio processing software and related technology. He is a member of the Audio Engineering Society and the Acoustical Society of America.

Jaci VanHeest

Les Kaufman, Ph.D. is an evolutionary ecologist at Boston University, where he is Associate Professor and undergraduate coordinator for the B.U. Marine Program. In his own research, Dr. Kaufman studies how biological diversity evolves, the ecology of how species coexist, and the ways in which people's activities harm or eliminate living species. He likes to do basic research that has direct applications to environmental conservation.

Dr. Kaufman is particularly fascinated with fish species in the wild, calling for an odd combination of skills in ecology, mathematics, physics, scuba diving, and wilderness survival. His current projects deal with fish communities and fisheries restoration in East African great lakes, the Gulf of Maine, Caribbean coral reefs, and California kelp reefs. In 1990 he was named Pew Scholar in Conservation and the Environment for this work. Dr. Kaufman is also an amateur astronomer and teaches astronomy as a hobby.

He has been active in public television and informal science education for more than 20 years, including an 11-year stint at The New England Aquarium in Boston, first as Curator of Education and later as Director of Research. He continues with the Aquarium as a Research Scholar.

              Morrison, Ph.D.

Philip Morrison, Ph.D. is a theoretical astrophysicist who has served on the physics faculties of Cornell University (1946-64) and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (1964-present) where he is now Institute Professor, Emeritus. He received his Ph.D. in theoretical physics in 1940 from the University of California, Berkeley, as a student of J. Robert Oppenheimer, and during World War II he worked on the Manhattan Project. He has numerous research publications in physics and astronomy.

Dr. Morrison has a special interest in the understanding, both formal and informal, of science. He is the author of physics textbooks for high school, college, and graduate students, and, with his wife Phylis, has written book reviews and columns for Scientific American since 1964. He has appeared frequently on the BBC (beginning with the 1961 show, "Fabric of the Atom"), "Nova," and the acclaimed PBS miniseries, "The Ring of Truth," as well as on commercial television. Dr. Morrison has also co-authored books on United States military policy and on world problems of the 21st century, and has written and spoken widely in favor of nuclear disarmament. He has taught overseas in the United Kingdom, West and South Africa, and India.

Jaci VanHeest, 

Jaci VanHeest, Ph.D. has contributed a wide variety of research to sports science, including studies of elite child athletes; training and over-training in female athletes; the cellular mechanisms of obesity, nutrition, and body weight regulation; and exercise physiology. Dr. VanHeest is Assistant Professor in the department of Kinesiology at the University of Connecticut and has taught and researched at the University of Colorado Health Sciences Center, the University of Cincinnati, and the University of Toronto. Other primary areas of her research include hormonal and metabolic factors increasing children's risk for obesity, the role of pregnancy as a risk factor for obesity, and the metabolic impact of exercise during pregnancy.

Dr. VanHeest received her M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Michigan State University in Exercise Physiology/Exercise Endocrinology. She was director of Exercise Physiology at the International Center for Aquatics Research, where she saw her role as "using science to help athletes win medals." She also served as the Director of Physiology for USA Swimming at the Olympic Training Center in Colorado Springs.

              Weyand, Ph.D.

Peter Weyand, Ph.D. is a physiologist and biomechanist who specializes in animal locomotion, particularly in relating muscle function to metabolic energy expenditure and performance. An expert in the science of running, his interests involve muscles and movement, making energy a central theme throughout his research career. Dr. Weyand is the Research Director at Harvard University's Concord Field Station, a large animal facility specializing in animal locomotion, and a Senior Research Fellow at the US Army's Research Institute for Environmental Medicine. He teaches an undergraduate biology class at Harvard on "Muscles, Metabolism and Movement" (reluctantly changed from its former title, "See Spot Run.") He is the recipient of Harvard's Joseph E. Levenson Award for excellence in undergraduate teaching.

Dr. Weyand received his Ph.D. in Exercise Physiology from the University of Georgia in 1992. He began running competitively at age 16, and has run about 60,000 lifetime miles, expending about 6,000,000 kilocalories of chemical energy. When he's not running animals on treadmills, he spends a lot of time encouraging people to exercise, usually vigorously.

Content Advisors

Paul Hickman worked as an engineer and taught high school physics in Cold Spring Harbor, New York and Belmont, Massachusetts. He is the Director of Northeastern University’s Center for the Enhancement of Science and Mathematics Education (CESAME), and helps teachers to advance K-12 educational reform. He received the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching, the Tandy Technology Scholars Award, and the American Association of Physics Teachers’ Award for Excellence in Pre-College Physics Education. Hickman has been involved with several national programs to improve science teaching and learning, has written for numerous professional journals, and has given talks and workshops for teachers nationwide. He received his B.S. in physics from Manhattan College and his M.S. from Long Island University.

Jennifer Bond Hickman, Ed.D., taught physics and astronomy at the Pomfret School in Connecticut, at Phillips Academy in Andover, Massachusetts, and most recently at Boston University Academy, where she also served as head of school. Dr. Hickman has served on the boards of several physics and astronomy organizations and is currently on the board of Boston’s Hayden Planetarium. She has worked on numerous national curriculum development projects in science and has given talks and workshops around the country. Dr. Hickman is a recipient of the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science Teaching and the Tandy Technology Scholars Award, and is the author of Problem-Solving Exercises in Physics. She received her B.A. in physics and astronomy from Wellesley College, her M.S. from Worcester Polytechnic Institute, and her Ed.D. and MBA from Boston University.

Ari W. Epstein, Ph.D. is a scientist and educator who has broad experience communicating science to the public in a variety of media. From 1999 to 2001 he was Editor of Scientific American Explorations, a new science magazine for families. He has also worked as a Visiting Assistant Professor in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Bowdoin College (1996-99), as a Postdoctoral Associate at MIT (1995-96), and as a member of the Board of Editors of Scientific American magazine (1984-1988). Since 1995 Epstein has been a Visiting Scholar at the New England Aquarium, where he has led the development teams for several special interactive exhibits, assisted in the development of a variety of other programs and exhibits, and served as a content consultant and on-camera guest for the "High Seas" and "World of Water" television series, broadcast live to elementary schools across the U.S. Epstein holds a Ph.D. in Physical Oceanography awarded jointly by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution (WHOI), and an A.B. in History and Science (with an emphasis on the history and philosophy of modern physics) from Harvard College. He is also an alumnus of Sea Semester, a three-month, intensive program in oceanography and seamanship.



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