Specialized Topics in Physics

About every other week, Greg Kestin held a special optional session for Physics 16, which focused on specialized topics that students wanted to learn.  Physics 16 had weekly quizzes where, at the bottom, students could indicate what other topics or skills they would like to learn.  

For example, in one session, Greg taught the students how to use Mathematica.  In this lesson, Greg first asked the students what they would do to simplify a complicated expression.  He then guided them as they simplified a complicated expression with Mathematica.  He next gave them an expression on the board and, in pairs, one person used Mathematica and the other did it on paper.  He continued doing this, making the problems harder until it was faster to do it on the computer than on paper.  This demonstrated the utility and power of Mathematica for problem solving.

These sessions were popular and well-attended, even though they were optional.