More Teaching Moments Selected Memories of PSU Faculty

To the Rescue

October 24th, 2012 by Heather

Dennis Machnik Atmospheric Science and Chemistry

Far back in the depths of time, the then Dean of the Faculty (Theo Kalikow) came to observe me teach one of my classes, University Physics.

During the observation a student asked me to do one of the problems at the end of the chapter. It involved adding waves (interference). But while the chapter derived a formula that could be applied to adding waves of the same amplitude, this problem had two waves of different amplitude. It thus had to be done from scratch.

I got stuck (rare). In front of the Dean. At that moment a student (one of my best ever) simply said, “Take a derivative.” CLICK. We finished the problem.

This was much more impressive than if I had not been stuck in the first place.