Faculty Profile

David Jackson

Associate Professor of Physics and Astronomy (2001)

Contact Information


Tome Scientific Building Room 210


Dr. Jackson's main research interests are in pattern formation and non-linear dynamics, focusing mainly on interfacial instabilities of magnetic fluids in applied magnetic fields. He also has an avid interest in physics education, and has co-authored a textbook for non-science students titled, "Explorations in Physics." He also co-developed a series of single-photon quantum mechanics experiments for use in the physics curriculum, and is now working to incorporate computation as a standard part of the physics program. Currently, Dr. Jackson is helping to develop a series of Interactive Video Vignettes with Cengage Learning for use in introductory physics classes. Dr. Jackson will be receiving the 2019 David Halliday and Robert Resnick Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Physics Teaching from the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT), and is a 2018 recipient of the Homer L. Dodge Citation for Distinguished Service to AAPT. He was editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Physics from 2011-2017 and currently acts as the journal's video abstracts editor. 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.


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

2018-2019 Academic Year

Fall 2018

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 361 Computational Physics
This course is designed to give students an introduction to computational techniques and simulations in physics using the Open Source Physics Library. A significant fraction of the students' time will be spent actually programming specific physics problems rather than learning abstract techniques. Students should therefore be prepared to learn by doing.

Spring 2019

PHYS 212 Intro Relativistic/Quant Phys
Completion of both PHYS 211 and PHYS 212 fulfills the WID Requirement.

PHYS 431 Quantum Mechanics
Basic postulates are used to develop the theoretical framework for quantum mechanics. The course deals with measurements on quantum systems, the uncertainty principle, the Schrödinger wave equation and the probability interpretation, Heisenberg's matrix mechanics, eigenfunctions and eigenvalues, finite and infinite dimensional vector spaces, operator methods, and enables students to use the Dirac formalism for quantum mechanical manipulations for a variety of situations and systems. Prerequisites: 212 and 282 and at least one 300-level physics course, or permission of instructor. Normally offered every other year