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Faculty Profile

David Jackson

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

2019-2020 Academic Year

Fall 2019

PHYS 131 Introductory Physics
An introduction to basic physics topics using the workshop method. This method combines inquiry-based cooperative learning with the comprehensive use of computer tools for data acquisition, data analysis and mathematical modeling. Kinematics, Newton's Laws of motion, conservation laws, rotational motion, and oscillations are studied during the first semester. Additional topics in chaos or nuclear radiation are introduced. Basic calculus concepts are used throughout the course. Recommended for physical science, mathematics, and pre-engineering students and for biology majors preparing for graduate study. Three two-hour sessions per week. Because of the similarity in course content, students will not receive graduation credit for both 131 and 141. Prerequisite: Completion of, or concurrent enrollment in, MATH 151 or 170.

PHYS 311 Dynamics & Chaos
An advanced treatment of classical mechanics using vector calculus and the calculus of variations, as well as an introduction to the analysis of chaotic systems. Topics will include: the dynamics of systems of particles and conservation laws; linear and nonlinear oscillators; iterative maps and the route to chaos; central force motion; rigid body motion; non-inertial reference frames and fictitious forces; Lagrangian and Hamiltonian formulations of dynamics. The course will also focus heavily on analytical and problem-solving techniques. Prerequisite: 211 and 282 or permission of the instructor.

PHYS 550 Independent Research