Professor Debora M. Katz
Professor Debora M. Katz

Professor Debora M. Katz

Physics Department
United States Naval Academy
Annapolis MD, 21402



Teaching Portfolio (nomination for Benac Teaching Award)

Physics in Fiction: 

I started teaching Physics in Fiction in the fall of 2016. In this one-credit course we discussed the physics in the novels Three Body Problem by Liu Cixin and Split Second by Douglas E. Richards, the motion picture Interstellar and an unpublished novella . Here are student comments. Click on each photo to read complete student evaluation.

"After devoting a few classes to dark matter and energy I was amazed at the large amount of tangible evidence behind both." 

Future Students,
Let me just start off by saying that this class is hands down my favorite class I have ever taken here at the Academy. It’s very rare that you can take a class where you get to learn what you want to learn. If you are curious about black holes you can have a discussion about that. Or if you like blowing your mind and shattering everything you thought you knew about the Universe then you can talk about dark energy, dark matter, and the Great Attractor. The point being is that in this class you get to indulge in your physics curiosities, whatever they may be.
"Physics in fiction is but isn’t a book club. We didn’t really talk in depth about the story, but rather focused on the physics in within the book instead."
"This was one of the few classes I enjoyed attending and ..." "I
learned new material each week and discovered topics in science I had never
even heard of before let alone understood.


Motivating students with Case Studies

AAPT talk Portland, 2013


The Centennial Bulb has been illuminated for over 110 years. My students and I have run some tests on its sister bulbs.

External Links and References to Case Studies and Project-based Learning:

Debora M. Katz Physics for Scientists and Engineers: Foundations and Connections published by Cengage Learning

Roger Schank advocates completely rethinking education. He proposes entirely project-based curricula.

National Center for Case Study Teaching in Science has a collection of cases.

Colorado State University has a nice one-page introduction to using case studies in education. From the main page, click on the site index, and find “case studies (writing guide)”.

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