transcripts and/or recordings of presentations

Accelerated Beats

Listening to this audio file you will hear the left and right hands beat together at 4 beats/measure for one measure.

Then at the start of the 2nd measure the right hand accelerates its beat rate speeding up by 3/2 beats per measure in each measure.  This acceleration goes on for two measures until the rate of the right hand is 7 beats/measure.  It takes 11 beats of the right hand to reach this new rate.

After reaching the new rate, the right hand stops accelerating and the two hands beat steadily, the left hand at 4 beats/measure; the right hand at 7 beats/measure.

Teaching Physics with Astronomy

From 2010 to 2012  Better Physics supported efforts to use the research results of modern astronomy and astrophysics to enrich undergraduate physics instruction. This site reports several efforts to this end.



Detectors for the CMB



Dr. John Kovac, Assistant Professor of Astronomy and Physics at Harvard University, presented a two-part talk. First, he gave a gripping account of detector development, installation, and use at the South Pole Telescope; then he described his course in which undergraduates build a microwave horn, assemble the necessary electronics, and detect the cosmic microwave background.

To see his slides, click on the following link.  (Use the back button to return to this web page.)

Design, build, & test a CCD camera



Dr. Zoran Ninkov, Professor in the Center for Imaging Science at Rochester Institute of Technology, described his year-long course in which his students learn and use basic physics and engineering to design and build a working CCD camera.  See, for example,

To see the slides of his APS talk, click on the link below.  (Use the back button to return to the main website.)

Gamma-ray bursts, black holes, exoplanets



Dr. George Ricker, Senior Research Scientist in MIT's Kavli Institute for Astrophysics and Space Research, described the work of four of his graduate students. Detector development was central to the Ph. D. education of each, opened new frontiers, and led to a career and leadership in astronomy or space science.

To see his slides, click on the link. (Use back button to return to this website.)


Advanced CCD and CMOS image sensor technology at MIT Lincoln Laboratory


Dr. Vyshnavi Suntharalingam, Group Leader, Advanced Imaging Technology at MIT Lincoln Laboratory, took us through the refinements of design and fabrication that have made silicon and CCDs so important for astronomy. She reviewed the achievements of CCDs, the capabilities of CMOS devices, and some future prospects.  

To see her slides, click on the following link. (Use your back button to return to the main website.)

Basic physics of astronomy's detectors



The lead-off speaker, Dr. James Beletic, Director of Astronomy & Civil Space at Teledyne Imaging Sensors (TIS) also chaired the session. He gave a fine overview of optical and infrared detectors and their physics. 

To see his slides, load the following .pdf file.  (Use the back button to return to the main website.)

Larry Marschall


Click on the title of Larry Marschall's presentation to see a .pdf version of his slides

  Astronomical Research in an Undergraduate Setting



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