J. Douglas Patterson
It is my belief being involved in current research makes for a more enlightened and enthusiastic teacher. As a way of developing synergy between my teaching and research efforts, I am actively working toward the following goals:
- Create a collection of classroom exercises suitable for middle school and high school classrooms using hands-on methods of exploring space science and how spacecraft take measurements.
- Create a collection of laboratory exercises suitable for an introductory-level college astronomy course using real data from a variety of missions and telescopic observations.
- Quantitatively describe the processes by which interplanetary oxygen transports to the inner magnetosphere and identify the plasma and magnetic field conditions that facilitate that transport.
- Continue a series of special topics courses in partnership with colleagues throughout the college investigating the intersection of astronomy and space science with other disciplines, both inside and outside of the Science Division.
- Involve students in the research of variable stars using the telescopes and CCD camera at JCCC.
A short list of my qualifications includes:
- Knowledgeable in physics and astronomy
- Current and well-read in the fields of physics and astronomy
- Significant teaching experience in the community college environment
- Demonstrated ability to work collaboratively with colleagues within and without my area of expertise
- Able to communicate science and technical information in an interesting and effective way
- Empathetic with students at all levels
- Strongly developed curiosity
- Hard-working and well-organized
- Strongly career motivated
- B.S. in Physics, Central Missouri State University, Warrensburg, MO, 1987-1991
- M.S. in Physics, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, 1991-1993
- Ph.D. in Physics, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 1997-2002
- American Geophysical Union (AGU)
- Independent Game Developers Association (IGDA)
Experience: I have taught physics and astronomy lecture classes in a variety of small colleges since the fall of 1993 and laboratory classes in both small colleges and large universities since the spring of 1989. The following is a list of the teaching and research positions that I have held in my career thus far:
- Professor of Astronomy, Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, KS, 2001-present
Teaching introductory astronomy, both on-campus and on-line, introductory physics, game physics, and physical science.
- Temporary Assistant Professor of Astronomy, Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, KS, 2000-2001
Teaching introductory astronomy both on-campus and on-line.
- Research Scientist, Fundamental Technologies, LLC, Lawrence, KS, 1998-present
Involved in a variety of research projects related to heliospheric and ionospheric space physics.
- Associate Adjunct Professor of Physics and Astronomy, Johnson County Community College, Overland Park , KS, 1993-2000
Taught the following classes: algebra-based and calculus-based introductory physics, technical physics, introductory astronomy, and physical science.
- Adjunct Instructor of Physics, St. Mary College, Leavenworth, KS, 2000
Taught physical science.
- Graduate Teaching Assistant, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS, 1997-1998
Taught the following laboratory classes: algebra-based and calculus-based introductory physics and introductory astronomy.
- Temporary Instructor of Physics and Chemistry, St. Mary College, KS, 1996-1997
Taught algebra-based introductory physics and chemistry.
- Adjunct Instructor of Physics, St. Mary College, Leavenworth, KS, 1995-1996
Taught algebra-based introductory physics.
- Graduate Teaching Assistant, Ball State University, Muncie, IN, 1991-1993
Taught the following laboratory classes: algebra-based and calculus-based introductory physics, and analog and digital electronics.
- Laboratory Assistant, Central Missouri State University, Warrensburg, MO, 1989-1990
Assisted in the instruction of algebra-based introductory physics.
The teaching style that should be used in a classroom varies greatly from course to course and even from class to class for the same course. The reason for this is that every class will have its own personality and character. Even for the same course, one section of students can be very different from another. Therefore, the style used to help each section of students learn will have to be different to be effective. The first step to knowing how best to instruct and educate a group of students is getting to know those students. What are their interests? What are their career plans? What are their hobbies? Answers to these questions allow the instructor to more efficiently communicate with and relate to the students. Difficult material is better understood when it is presented is a more familiar setting. For example, many of the students in an introductory algebra-based physics course have future intentions of entering some aspect of the health field. Therefore, classroom examples using Newton’s Laws of Motion as they relate to the inner workings of a construction crane are not as effective as examples using those same laws as they relate to the inner workings of muscles and bones. Knowing the class of students is paramount to effective teaching.
Just knowing what students in a class are interested in and what career goals they have is still not enough. Different people learn in different ways. Some learn best by seeing, others by hearing, still others benefit most by doing. An ideal lecture addresses these modes of learning. Just writing prepared notes on a blackboard is not enough; good oral skills by the instructor are a must as well. In addition, there must be something to engage the students and make them active participants in the lecture, not just passive organic tape recorders, blindly writing down everything said or written by the instructor. The last item is the most difficult to do well. In most classrooms, very few if any of the students will know any of the other students, and it is the instructor’s task to ‘break the ice’. There are many schemes for doing this. In most physical science courses, this task is simplified somewhat by the laboratory component of the course where students are required to work in small groups on an experiment. One method that I have for getting students involved and talking not only with me, but also their fellow students, is to assign a problem or exercise to be done immediately, right there in lecture. After explaining a process or concept, I will ask the students to try a problem on their own as I make my way around the room to help. I also use what I call ‘open-book-open-note-ask-your-neighbor quizzes’. These are challenging questions that I will pose to the class and expect them to discuss in small groups to try to answer. This gets the students involved and does not allow them to be passive organic tape recorders. Many students have told me that they learn more through these types of quizzes since they have to explain what they think they just learned to someone else. This makes them think about the material in much more detail than they would ordinarily.
In a nutshell, I believe that the good teacher is a flexible teacher. Sticking strictly to a series of pre-developed notes and not being willing to ever deviate from those is the best way to leave some students behind. Such a method will never be able to reach the maximum number of students in a class. Having a set of pre-developed notes is not necessarily a bad idea; it’s just that one should be willing to deviate from time-to-time to take advantage of current events or the interests, abilities, and learning styles of the students in the classroom. Each class of students is different, and therefore the style of teaching for each class needs to be different.
As part of my graduate work at Ball State University, I was involved in the research of a class of binary stars known as cataclysmic variables. This work included not only data acquired at the Ball State University Observatory, but also data that was acquired by myself at the Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ. For the past five years, I’ve been involved in space science research at Fundamental Technologies that, in large part, incorporates undergraduate students from astronomy, physics, computer science, and engineering. This recent experience includes work done on a variety of projects and data acquired from a variety of spacecraft. Detailed below are the research projects in which I have been involved previously and my current project.
- Cataclysmic variable star photometry
Conducted at Ball State University in 1993. Performed standard and differential photometry on three different suspected cataclysmic variables at a variety of wavelengths and determined the temperatures of the various components of the star systems. Data for this work were collected at the Ball State University Observatory and at Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, AZ.
- Proton-ionosphere interactions
Conducted at Fundamental Technologies, in 1998 and 1999. Proton fluxes measured by an Earth-orbiting satellite, IMP-8, were correlated to the absorption of cosmic radio noise as measured by the South Pole Station riometer.
- Heliospheric energetic particle populations
Conducted at Fundamental Technologies since 1999. Ongoing investigation into the energies and abundances of various energetic particles in both the low and high latitude heliosphere using the HISCALE instrument on the Ulysses spacecraft, the EPAM instrument on the ACE spacecraft, and the CPME instrument on the IMP-8 spacecraft.
- Fluency with the following computer operating systems: Windows, MacOS, various UNIX variants including Linux, OpenVMS.
- Able to use most of the current office productivity software such as MS Word, Excel, Access, Powerpoint, and WordPerfect.
- Extensive experience with various image manipulation packages such as Adobe PhotoShop and the GNU Image Manipulation Program (GIMP).
- Fluent in the following computer programming and scripting languages: HTML, FORTRAN, C++, C#, and LaTeX.
- Extensive experience in the use and application of mathematical packages such as Mathematica and IDL.
- Extensive experience and success in using software designed for on-line education such as Respondus, Blackboard, ANGEL, and Desire2Learn.
Awards and Honors:
- Radiation Belt Storm Probes Education and Public Outreach Award — NASA 2012
- 2012 Burlington Northern Santa Fe Distinguished Teachers Award
- Ulysses Achievement Award — European Space Agency & NASA, 2006
Publications and Presentations:
- Flow of Energy through the Inner Magnetosphere during the March 17, 2015 solar storm as observed by the Van Allen Probes Radiation Belt Storm Probes Ion Composition Experiment (RBSPICE), American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2017
- Analysis of Van Allen Probes lapping data using Radiation Belt Storm Probes Ion Composition Experiment (RBSPICE), American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2017
- Time-lag and Correlation between ACE and RBSPICE Injection Event Observations during Storm Times, American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2017
- Solar Energetic Particle Composition over Two Solar Cycles as Observed by the Ulysses/HISCALE and ACE/EPAM Pulse Height Analyzers, American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2017
- TEAM Science Advances STEM through Experiential Learning about Karst Geology at the Ozark Underground Laboratory, American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2017
- RBSPICE in the Classroom: Building a ballistic galvanometer using common household products, American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2016
- Observation of the March 17, 2016 Solar Storm in the Inner Magnetosphere by the Van Allen Probes RBSPICE Instrument, American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2016
- Leveraging the Polar Cap: Ground-Based Measurements of the Solar Wind, American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2016
- The Martian Goes To College: Open Inquiry with Science Fiction in the Classroom., American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2015
- ACE EPAM and Van Allen Probes RBSPICE measurements of interplanetary oxygen injection to the inner magnetosphere, American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2015
- The low energy magnetic spectrometer on Ulysses and ACE response to near relativistic protons, Astronomy & Astrophysics, Volume 577, id.A61, May 2015
- Climatology of the Earth’s inner magnetosphere as observed by the Radiation Belt Storm Probes Ion Composition Experiment (RBSPICE) instrument on the Van Allen Probes spacecraft, American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2014
- Overview of Radiation Belt Storm Probes Ion Composition Experiment (RBSPICE): Data Access and Science Results, American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2014
- Solar Energetic Particle spectral and compositional invariance in the 3-D Heliosphere: Ulysses and ACE/WIND comparisons in late 2001, EGU General Assembly 2013
- Using ACE Observations of Interplanetary Particles and Magnetic Fields as Possible Contributors to Variations Observed at Van Allen Probes during Major events in 2013, American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2013
- Comparison of species-resolved energy spectra from ACE EPAM and Van Allen Probes RBSPICE, American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2013
- Math and Physics for Games: Bringing STEM to the gaming masses, League for Innovation STEMtech Conference, October 2012
- Energy spectra of helium, carbon, nitrogen, oxygen and iron from 1990 through 2010 at daily averaged time resolution: A new product and implications derived there from, American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2011
- Space Weather Research at IAA/NOA: Solar Energetic Particle Investigations, 10th Hellenic Astronomical Conference, Proceedings of the conference held at Ioannina, Greece, 5-8 September 2011
- Experience in Preparing and Using Virtual Observatory Data, American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2009, December 2009
- Science Studies from Archived Observations, American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2008
- Virtual Energetic Particle Observatory (VEPO), American Geophysical Union, Fall Meeting 2008
- Statistical Study of Low Energy Heliosphere Particle Fluxes from 1.4 to 5 AU Over a Solar Cycle, a poster presentation at Solar and Space Physics and the Vision for Space Exploration Conference, October 2005, Wintergreen Resort, VA.
- Spreadsheet Toolkit for Ulysses Hi-Scale Measurements of Interplanetary Ions and Electrons, a poster presentation at the 204th AAS Meeting, June 2004.
- Steady-State Event-Excluded Proton Spectra at Solar Minimum at All Heliolatitudes, a presentation at the Space Plasma and Radiation Environments: A Scientific Retrospective in Honor of Thomas P. Armstrong Sept. 13, 2003 at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, KS.
- Steady-State Event-Excluded Proton Spectra at Solar Minimum at All Heliolatitudes, Geophysical Research Letters, September 2003.
- Steady-State Event-Excluded Proton Spectra at Solar Minimum at All Heliolatitudes, a presentation at the Mid-America Regional Astrophysics Conference on April 11, 2003 at Linda Hall Library in Kansas City, MO.
- Relativistic Electron and Ion Modulation Measured on Ulysses:HISCALE Instrument Background, a poster presentation at the AGU 2002 Spring Meeting in Washington, DC.
- Large-Scale Anisotropies of 50-500 keV Electrons and 50-5000 keV Ions at Ulysses, a poster presentation at the Fall 2001 Ulysses/ACE/Voyager Heliospheric Workshop in Oxnard, CA.
- A 10-Year Survey of Electron and Ion Energy Spectra from 50 keV to 5 MeV from the HISCALE Instrument on board Ulysses, a poster presentation at the AGU Spring 2001 Meeting in Boston, MA.
- Correlation between solar energetic particles and polar cap absorption, published in the Journal of Geophysical Research, January 2001.
- Origins of anisotropic 40-300 keV electron events observed at low and high latitudes, a poster presentation at the 34th ESLAB Conference in Noordwijk, The Netherlands in October 2000.
- Separation of proton and electron fluxes in the MFSA data from the HISCALE instrument, a paper presented at the HISCALE Team Meeting at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory in April of 2000.
- Background MFSA rates for the HISCALE instrument, a paper submitted to the minutes of the HISCALE Team Meeting at Johns Hopkins University’s Applied Physics Laboratory in April of 2000.
- Introductory physics laboratory manual, Johnson County Community College, Overland Park, KS, 1999.