site under construction!

Physics 493, Seminar I (On the Craft of Scientific Presentations)

Dr. Greg Severn

4:00pm - 4:55 pm M (sec01) 5:30pm - 6:25pm (sec02) Fall 2017

Dr. Greg Severn, ST285 x6845,
Office Hours
TW 2:30-4pm, R 2:30-4:30, and, by appointment. These may change during the semester so stay tuned.
A weekly (1hr) seminar devoted to instruction on scientific presentations in physics. Students will give short presentations on topics of interest, and will prepare to give a lengthy presentation on the subject of their research work. The course is repeatable up to a maximum of 4 units. Participating in the research process can be a stimulating part of the undergraduate experience, and it is a valuable one whether the student plans to go on to graduate school or to go into industry. But the student also needs to become effective at scientific communication, and the seminar is dedicated to inculcating necessary skills. And so, students will prepare, critique, and present short talks on topics of interest and will give a seminar on or related to the student's own research work.
Text---This is required----Buy this book hasty-posty!
The Craft of Scientific Presentations, Michael Alley, Springer-Verlag, 2013 (2nd ed.) ISBN-13: 978-1441982780, Paperback. This book is required! If the bookstore doesn't have it, Amazon does! Get a cheap one!
Learning Outcomes
By the course's end, the student will demonstrate a set of skills of fundamental importance for physicists, whether in academic research or industry, specifically associated with oral presentation, including the ability to
  1. Deliver a clearly organized, informative, and compelling oral presentation of research that is appropriate to the audience using verbal and nonverbal delivery techniques that imbue the speaker with confidence and create authentic credibility with the audience,
  2. Critique research talks for a) clarity of and adequacy of support for the main assertions of the talk, b) effectiveness of slide-craft toward that end, and the c) ability of the talk as delivered to engage intelligent non-practitioners in the work being discussed.
Student Talks
Each student is required to compose and give 1 short talk (t = 15 min, 12 min. talk + 3 min. for questions), and and one long talk (t = 30 min, 25 min. talk + 5 min. for questions) corresponding roughly to American Physical Society guidelines for contributed and invited talks. Students will also score the talks of their peers and those of nobel prize winners (or, other speakers) as part of their class participation. There is also a 'slide tech talk', very short, 8 minutes in which a mapping slide and a substance slide is presented (5 min. plus 3 for questions). Short readings are assigned for class meetings. Familiarity with the ideas found in them will be assessed through class discussions and pre-classes quizzes which will also be part of class participation. The other part of class participation is the submission of scores for talks. More on this later!
Your final grade will be determined as follows: class participation: (reading quizzes, submitted scoring rubrics, slide tech stuff) 30 %, short talk: 30%, long talk 40 %. Roughly speaking, I assign letter grades to one's cumulative score according to the scale 85/75/65/50, for the lowest A, B, C, D. Students performing at a lower level will be transferred against their will. Maybe Loyola Marymount. According the our academic calendars for this semester, the final exam for our course is scheduled for Monday, 18 Dec. 2017, 5:00 - 7:00 PM ( for all classes which meet M only at 4 or 5:30pm, (we'll need to discuss this point for students in section 002!). About this there are two things to point out: 1) we usually need the two hour block to get in the remainder of the long talks, and 2) there is no final exam.

Table 1: Tentative plan for sequence of topics (not all links are live yet)
I4Sep. No class first week!:)Intro.
II11Sep. Intro class, why give talks?Ch. 1
III18Sep. Giving the wrong talk (CE #1)Ch. 2
IV25Sep. How to make your talk more boring (CE #2)Ch. 2
V2Oct. Structure of scientific presentations; death by breadth and depth (CE#3) Ch. 3
VI9Oct. leaving audience at the dock; (CE#4)Ch. 3
VII16Oct. Losing the audience at sea; (CE#5)Ch. 3
VIII23Oct. Not accounting for audience bias; (CE#6); APS class meeting Ch. 4
IX30Oct. Slide TECH talks (5min+3min4Qs) Ch.4
X6Nov. Preparing enough (CE#10) – First Short talks (12m+3min4Qs)Ch.5
XI13Nov. 3 Short talks, reading quiz Power point not really being your friend (CE#7&8) Ch.5
XII20Nov. 4 last short talks Ch.5
XIII27Nov. 1 Long talk (25 min. talk + 5 min. for questions) (1-KR) Ch.5,6
XIV4Dec. 2 Long talks (RF, SR)
XV11Dec. 2 Long talks (FC, MP)
XVI18Dec. 4 Long talks (EW, RD, ST ) (5-7pm! Maybe!)

Table 2: Sequence for the final 3 talks, beginning at 5pm, the posted time for the beginning our our class's final exam
IEW5:00pm-5:30 pm

some resources

File translated from TEX by TTH, version 3.81.