Materials Science Pedagogy

Formation of dislocations in an indentation experiment using Lennard-Jones molecular dynamics
Snapshot of an indentation experiment simulation of hexagonally-packed particles interacting via the Lennard-Jones interatomic potential. Lines of higher energy concentration signal the onset of dislocations forming.

I spend a great deal of my time thinking about pedagogy and the role visualization and computation can play in education. Currently, I am co-authoring an open-source materials science textbook with long-time friend and mentor Prof. W. Craig Carter. The idea is to curate some of the content we’ve developed teaching through the years, into a cohesive collection of computational notebooks which would guide undergraduate and first-year graduate students in materials science and engineering programs.

An example such computational essay on the Lennard-Jones interatomic potential using open-source, client-based, interactive simulations can be found here.

In the spring of 2022 I was the lead instructor for an MIT-course called 3.029 – Mathematics and Computational Thinking for Materials Scientists and Engineers I where we piloted some of this content to sophomores learning thermodynamics and polymer synthesis. The resulting notebooks are freely-available on the class website.

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