Wednesday, March 22, 2023

My first TV appearance!

I'm excited to announce that I will be interviewed by Mutsumi Takahashi on CTV's Montreal noon newscast this coming Tuesday, March 28.  We will discuss my book, Getting Physics, and how I use it to help make physics relatable for students.

I have done radio interviews before, but TV is a new thing for me.  Looking forward to it!

Saturday, March 4, 2023

A Thought About Teaching

If we are born a seed, then when I meet students in college, they are plants with deep roots.  On my best day, I can be a star that shines light on the garden before me, inspiring a direction in which to sprout.  If that is not a good reason to get dressed in the morning and go to work, then I don't know what is.

Thursday, March 2, 2023

My first book launch

Next Thursday, March 3, 5:00 pm, I will be having my first book launch event at Vanier College (in the STEM Centre, D-301) for Getting Physics: Nature's Laws as a Guide to Life.  I would love to see science enthusiasts there, particularly current and former students of mine. 

I am thinking about how the event should run.  I have been to book signings before and they always include some readings from the newly published book.  My hope is that some of my current and former students could share some of the reading duties with me.  After all, this book was written with them in mind.  The schedule I envision is:

5:00 - 5:30 pm: hors d'ouevres and schmooze

5:30 - 6:00 pm: speeches and short readings from book

6:00 - 6:30 pm: book purchase and signing

My college issued a press release yesterday, so I am also hoping to make the rounds with local Montreal media.

It will be my pleasure to share this moment with readers of this blog who happen to live in my city.  There will be no book tour, so I am contemplating ways to reach a wider audience.  For now, I am starting with my stomping grounds, and seeing where it goes from there.

Friday, January 20, 2023

"Getting Physics" NOW AVAILABLE!

 After years of work, my first book, Getting Physics: Nature's Laws as a Guide to Life, is finally available.  I will almost certainly never devote more time to any single project than I did this one.  It is a labour of love, and I am so happy to share it with readers all around the world.

The link to purchase it through Amazon is here: GETTING PHYSICS.

I am not sure what else to write in this post.  This blog is the place where I learned how to write about physics.  Some of the contents of this book include paragraphs I wrote in 2010, the year The Engineer's Pulse was launched.  I am feeling incredibly nostalgic right about now.  The only thing that makes sense to me is to simply copy/paste the acknowledgement section of Getting Physics here:


Momentum for the manuscript began when eleven Vanier College students volunteered to read through a chapter or two and provide detailed comments.  I want to thank Bastienne D.C., Peter D., Kamil C., Maria-Sara F., Quassandra D., Daniel M., Carolynn B., Will E., Alin B., Aashiha B., and Myriam L., because their feedback improved the book immensely. 

There are two more experienced authors that helped point me in the right direction early on as I navigated the journey that is ‘publishing a book’.  Thank you, Alex Rosenblatt and Brahm Canzer.

I must also thank Kristie Stuckey, whose keen eye and countless iterations led to the lovely figures contained herein.

Pearl Levine provided a round of editing that was much appreciated (she also bakes amazing brownies).  Stef Caron used a fine comb and did a final, skillful pass through.

I have more colleagues at Vanier College to thank for their feedback and moral support along the way than I can fit here.  I want to give a shout out to the Vanier College Physics Department, whose combined wisdom helped refine the lens through which I see physics.  I also wish to thank Nicholas Park, Jean-François Brière, and Sameer Bhatnagar for reviewing portions of the book.  Similarly, I have been encouraged to write about physics by many friends, like Jon, Corey, Lorne, Peter, Tom, Rob, Jer, Christian, and Jeff to name a few.

I have had the honor of teaching more than 1,500 students.  My interactions with them helped shape me as an educator.  Their curiosity and resilience through adversity inspired me to keep pushing forward in my career.

I would have little connection to academic content, nor any practical skills without the teacher interactions I had as a student.  My fundamentals in math were solidified in college thanks to Denis Sevee and Frank Lovasco. Professor Andrew Higgins served as a model for how to communicate physics with gusto.  Gerard Carrier and Alpha Ross showed me the ropes in the space industry, upping my technical engineering game.  Finally, my mentor, Professor Arun Misra, taught me most of what I know about physics and engineering.  He introduced me to orbital mechanics, space elevators, space conferences, and how to write technical papers; most importantly, he personified how to approach one’s career and human interactions with integrity.  He has been my Mr. Miyagi.

Before any of this could happen, Mom, Dad, Jamie, you gave me a foundation upon which to build a life.  I was brought up in this nurturing family, even though my mother is not exactly sure where her science author son emerged from.

Val.  We were kids and then we grew into ourselves side by side.  You are my anchor in this life.  At this point, I suppose you get physics whether you like it or not.