About Me


I have held the position of a full-time astronomy professor at Johnson County Community College (JCCC) since 2002. While initially teaching both astronomy and physics courses when I first joined, I have since focused exclusively on teaching both face-to-face and online astronomy classes. Additionally, I occasionally take on the responsibility of teaching online physics and astronomy courses at other colleges across the United States.

My role at JCCC encompasses typical faculty responsibilities. These include teaching, active participation in various committees, textbook review, maintaining membership in professional organizations within my field, and actively engaging in professional development sessions to stay abreast of emerging technologies and pedagogical trends, whether in the online or traditional classroom setting. This commitment ensures that I remain at the forefront of effective teaching methodologies and continue to provide high-quality education to my students.

I also help organize and participate in astronomy outreach activities ranging from Scout Nights to public talks and open houses at the Paul Tebbe Observatory. Once per semester, Professor Patterson and I host Evening with the Stars, which is a nighttime astronomy event that is free and open to the public.

Academic Interests

I love all science, but my main interests are in cosmology and the foundations of physics. I spend lots of time keeping up on the latest problems and research that addresses the essential nature and origin of everything we know. Perhaps most of all, I enjoy spontaneous “hallway” talks with just about anyone on just about any scientific topic.

Teaching Philosophy

My teaching philosophy centers on emphasizing conceptual understanding and causal relationships through interactive discussions and hands-on experiences whenever feasible. While acknowledging the value of memorizing certain vocabulary and fundamental facts, particularly for engaging in informed discussions, I firmly believe that true learning goes beyond mere rote memorization.

My foremost objective is to equip students with a solid conceptual grasp of the fundamental physical mechanisms and laws governing the physical universe’s diverse features. I want students to recognize the potency and universality of those mechanisms and laws. By focusing on these key principles, students can uncover the interconnectedness of diverse phenomena, leading to a deeper and more holistic understanding of the subject matter.


Though born in Lawrence, KS, I spent much of my youth in the Los Angeles area, living a great deal of it on its beaches. I attended grade school and high school there. After working in the L.A. area for a few years after high school graduation, I went south to study physics at the University of California, San Diego. When family circumstances brought me back to the Midwest, I went to graduate school to study physics at the University of Missouri, Kansas City.


A big part of my life is my family. Allison (my wife) and I currently reside in Olathe, Kansas. Together, we formed a blended family of all boys! From oldest to youngest, they are Ben, Cole, Daniel, and Corey. Though their ages and personalities vary, they share many common interests and get along very well.

Taken in 2015 at the Cosmosphere in Hutchinson, Kansas. From left-to-right: Corey, Daniel, Ben, Cole.

Hobbies & Entertainment

I do some amateur photography. I have some of my photos at https://www.flickr.com/photos/billforreal/.

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I enjoy an evening or early morning walk alone or with my dog, Kylo. Walks give me exercise and get me away from the computer and any chaos at the house. This gives me an opportunity to relax and think. I tend to like movies and TV shows that require imagination and thinking. My book reading consists almost exclusively of science books. I grew up a typical hard rocker in the ’70s, but I like all kinds of music. Much to the surprise of many of my students, I never cared for the Beatles, and I don’t like the TV show Big Bang Theory.