Faculty Profile

David Jackson

Professor of Physics and Astronomy (2001)

Contact Information


Tome Scientific Building Room 210


Dr. Jackson did his graduate work in pattern formation and non-linear dynamics, focusing mainly on interfacial instabilities of magnetic fluids in applied magnetic fields. In addition to continuing this work, he has an avid interest in physics education, and co-authored a textbook for non-science students titled, "Explorations in Physics." As part of a recent curricular reform effort, Dr. Jackson co-developed a series of single-photon quantum mechanics experiments for use at Dickinson, and is now working to incorporate computation as a core part of the physics program. He is also collaborating with Cengage Learning to develop a series of Interactive Video Vignettes for use in introductory physics classes. Dr. Jackson has received numerous external grants to support his work. Additionally, along with colleagues Priscilla W. Laws and Scott V. Franklin, he received the first Science Prize for Inquiry-Based Instruction in 2012 from Science magazine. He was editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Physics from 2011-2017 and currently acts as the journal's video abstracts editor. Dr. Jackson is a 2018 recipient of the Homer L. Dodge Citation for Distinguished Service to the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), and was awarded the Association's 2019 David Halliday and Robert Resnick Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Physics Teaching.


  • B.S., University of Washington, 1989
  • M.A., Princeton University, 1991
  • Ph.D., 1994

2024-2025 Academic Year

Fall 2024

FYSM 100 First-Year Seminar
The First-Year Seminar (FYS) introduces students to Dickinson as a "community of inquiry" by developing habits of mind essential to liberal learning. Through the study of a compelling issue or broad topic chosen by their faculty member, students will: - Critically analyze information and ideas - Examine issues from multiple perspectives - Discuss, debate and defend ideas, including one's own views, with clarity and reason - Develop discernment, facility and ethical responsibility in using information, and - Create clear academic writing The small group seminar format of this course promotes discussion and interaction among students and their professor. In addition, the professor serves as students' initial academic advisor. This course does not duplicate in content any other course in the curriculum and may not be used to fulfill any other graduation requirement.

PHYS 131 Workshop Physics
An introduction to classical mechanics using an inquiry-based, hands-on approach that combines cooperative learning with the use of computer tools for data acquisition, analysis, and mathematical modeling. Both analytic and numerical calculations are introduced for characterizing motion. A selection of kinesthetic experiments is included to enhance student learning. Topics include kinematics, Newton's laws of motion, gravitation, conservation laws, and rotational motion. Recommended for physical science, mathematics, and pre-engineering students and for biology majors preparing for graduate study.