Physics professor’s passion for subject matter lands him coveted honor
Fred Gray’s passion for science and teaching are infectious, even to those for whom physics is a foreign language.
Gray, associate professor of physics, can count among his achievements reviving the physics major and attracting national attention for his groundbreaking work with subatomic particles called muons. Also on the list: being named Regis College Faculty Lecturer of the Year for 2012-13.
Regis.edu used the opportunity to gather some insights into his teaching philosophy.
Q: What inspires you to be a science educator?
A: I thought I was on the research institute track when I came out of grad school. However, one of the projects I had was working with an undergrad – supervising his thesis. I realized I really enjoyed mentoring young people, even more than doing the science. I enjoy doing the basic science, but the human element is the best part.
Q: What do you love most about interacting with students?
A: I like seeing light bulbs go off. Those times when you see a student struggling with something hard and important and then finally figuring it out, that’s really gratifying.
Q: How do you incorporate Jesuit values into a physics class?
A: Many of our students want to go into the health professions or life sciences. For them, they are going to be taking what they learn about science and using it in the service of others.
Then there’s the fact that physics truly is a pure science, where you are studying the fundamental building blocks of the universe. One of the Jesuit values is “Finding God in all things.” I think that you can draw that connection when you are studying how the universe ticks.
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