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Upcoming Colloquium

Dr. Christopher J. Fischer

Placing Calculus and Conservation Laws at the Center of Introductory Physics
Dr. Christopher J. Fischer, University of Kansas

February 24, 2020
11:15am in PH1-223
Refreshments in HSCI-224 from 10:45-11:05am

We have developed a new curriculum for introductory physics that shifts the initial focus of instruction away from forces and the associated vector mathematics, which are known to be problematic for students, to the scalar quantity energy, which is more closely aligned with their previously established intuition, and associated differential and integral calculus. I will present the results of a longitudinal study demonstrating that implementation of this calculus-enhanced "energy-first" curriculum improved performance in downstream engineering courses for students with lower ACT math scores. I will discuss separately how using a competency-based grading system can improve the performance of traditionally underrepresented groups in STEM, especially first generation students.

energy conservation equations
Beginning instruction in general physics with energy conservation, rather than forces, improves student outcomes.

The Colloquium is a unique opportunity for students to learn about new developments in physics and what physicists do after they graduate. Hosted by the Department of Physics and Astronomy at California State University Long Beach, the weekly meetings invite guests from universities, research laboratories, and industry to present and discuss current topics in physics. All students are encouraged to attend for a well-rounded experience and training in physics.


The Spring 2020 colloquia will start January 27.

Date Title Speaker and Affiliation
February 24, 2020 Placing calculus and conservation laws at the center of introductory physics Dr. Christopher Fischer, University of Kansas
March 2, 2020 TBA Dr. Jocelyn Read, CSU Fullerton
March 9, 2020 TBA Dr. Nathan Gabor, UC Riverside
March 16, 2020 TBA Dr. Huolin Xin, UC Irvine
April 6, 2020 TBA Dr. Hilke Schlichting, UCLA, MIT
April 13, 2020 TBA Dr. Vera Gluscevic, USC
April 20, 2020 TBA Dr. Sarah Marzen, Claremont Colleges
April 27, 2020 Student Presentations Students, CSU Long Beach
April 29, 2020 Student Presentations Students, CSU Long Beach
May 4, 2020 TBA Dr. Jonathan Feng, UC Irvine

Previous Colloquia

The Colloquium Archive has the Colloquia from previous semesters.

Date Title Speaker and Affiliation
February 17, 2020 Parasite Chainmail: a 2D polymer Dr. Alex Klotz, CSU Long Beach
February 10, 2020 Manipulating Light with Nanostructured Materials Dr. Michelle Povinelli, USC
February 3, 2020 Taming Turbulence in Magnetized Plasmas: From Plasmas for Fusion Energy to Black Hole Accretion Disks Dr. Troy Carter, UCLA
January 27, 2020 Mastering Quantum Mechanics Dr. Zoltan Papp, CSU Long Beach


We acknowledge with gratitude donations and support from the following present sponsors:

  • H.E. and H.B. Miller and Family Endowment
  • Benjamin Carter
  • American Physical Society
  • Anonymous

We also acknowledge with gratitude our past donors: The Forty-Niner Shops, Inc., The Northrop Grumman Foundation, Sandra Dana, Anonymous.

If you wish to support the Colloquium, please contact the colloquium coordinator or the department chair. Thank you!