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Harvard Physicist to lead lecture, workshop on May 2

Release Date: April 14, 2016

Cora Zaletel

Executive Director, External Affairs

Colorado State University-Pueblo


Press Release

Eric MazurPUEBLO - Harvard scientist Eric Mazur, world-renowned physicist and leader in STEM education reform, will lead a workshop and present a public lecture at Colorado State University-Pueblo on Monday, May 2. A workshop for all educators, community and industry leaders, and friends/alumni of CSU-Pueblo will be held from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. in the General Classroom Building 111. Workshop space is limited, so participants should reserve a spot by calling 719.549.2290 by Thursday, April 28.

Later that day, he will present a lecture open to the public, "Assessment: The Silent Killer of Learning," at 7:30 p.m. in the Occhiato University Center Ballroom.

The events are made possible by the CSU-Pueblo Center for Teaching and Learning, which is funded by a Department of Education grant. According to the Director of the Center for Teaching and Learning, Dr. Donna Souder, "Mazur's visit is part of the Center's STEM Speaker Series, which gives faculty, staff, and students the opportunity to engage with academic and professional leaders in the fields of Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math."

Born in Amsterdam, Netherlands, the Harvard University physicist and educator serves as consultant to industry in the electronics and telecommunications industry and is an entrepreneur in technology start-ups for the educational and technology markets. He leads a vigorous research program in optical physics and supervises one of the largest research groups in the Physics Department at Harvard. Mazur's research is in experimental ultrafast optics and condensed matter physics. Mazur's laser endeavors span a multitude of fields, including physics, chemistry, material science and optics. Mazur uses femtosecond lasers (which operate at one millionth of one billionth of a second) to analyze and alter electron and atomic dynamics in various substances. His research has fascinating applications in data storage, optical communication and laser surgery.

A fervent advocate for science education reform, Mazur developed the "Peer Instruction" method for teaching science in large lecture courses. He is the author of Peer Instruction: A User's Manual (Prentice Hall, 1997), a book that explains how to teach large lecture classes interactively. In 2006, he helped produce the award-winning DVD Interactive Teaching. Mazur's teaching method has developed a large following, both nationally and internationally and has been adopted across many disciplines.

The workshop, "Peer Instruction," will encourage and make use of student interaction during lectures, while focusing students' attention on underlying concepts and techniques. The method has been assessed in many studies using standardized, diagnostic tests and shown to be considerably more effective than the conventional lecture approach to teaching. Peer Instruction now is used in a wide range of science and math courses at the college and secondary level. In this workshop, participants will serve as the "class" in which Peer Instruction is demonstrated, discuss several models for implementing the technique into the classroom, and learn about available teaching resources.

Mazur has authored or co-authored 307 scientific publications, 36 patents, and several books, including the Principles and Practice of Physics (Pearson, 2014), a book that presents a groundbreaking new approach to teaching introductory calculus-based physics.

In 2006, he founded SiOnyx, a company that is commercializing black silicon, a new form of silicon developed in Mazur's laboratory. Mazur is chairman of the Scientific Advisory Board for SiOnyx. In 2011, he founded Learning Catalytics, a company that uses data analytics to improve learning in the classroom. In 2013, the company was acquired by Pearson. Mazur is Chief Academic Advisor for Turning Technologies and serves on the Scientific Advisory Panel for Allied Minds, a pre-seed investment company creating partnerships with key universities to fund corporate spin-outs in early stage technology companies.

But despite all his accomplishments, if you were to sit next to Mazur on an airplane and ask him about his profession, "I don't say I'm an applied physicist investigating matter using light," he admits. Rather, "I say I work with lasers. There's a certain aura with lasers."

He earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from Leiden University.

Colorado State University - Pueblo is a regional, comprehensive university emphasizing professional, career-oriented, and applied programs. Displaying excellence in teaching, celebrating diversity, and engaging in service and outreach, CSU-Pueblo is distinguished by access, opportunity, and the overall quality of services provided to its students.

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