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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

2019-2020 Academic Year

Spring 2020

PHYS 132 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. Topics in thermodynamics, electricity, electronics and magnetism are covered. 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. (Students enrolled in Physics 132 who have completed Mathematics 170 are encouraged to continue their mathematics preparation while taking physics by enrolling in Mathematics 171.) Because of the similarity in course content, students will not receive graduation credit for both 132 and 142. Prerequisite: 131 and completion of, or concurrent enrollment in MATH 170.

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.

PHYS 550 Independent Research