Professor and Acting Chair, Department of Physics and Astronomy
San Jose State University
I am serving as Acting Chair of Physics and Astronomy while Dr. Michael Kaufman serves as Interim Dean of the College of Science.
Click here for more information for undeclared majors and other students who plan to apply for a major within the College of Engineering.
Advising for Undergraduate Physics Majors
We have mandatory advising in physics, which means that you need to meet with the undergrad adviser, Dr. Ranko Heindl for advising before you can register for your classes. Click here for more Physics major advising info.
- Innovation in teaching calculus-based mechanics for engineering and physical science majors: flipping the classroom, assessment of student success using the Force Concept Inventory.
- Physics and chemistry of planet formation (Here is a talk I gave at the SETI Institute on 2 June 2010)
- Dynamical evolution of exoplanetary systems containing Earth-sized planets in the habitable zone
- Assessment of student preparation and correlation with graduation rates in engineering and physical sciences
- Here is a talk I gave at Google about collecting meteorites in Antarctica.
Physics 49, 50, 51 and 52 at SJSU
These courses are very fast-paced and they fill up quickly, so if you plan to take any of them, you should register during your advance-registration period. If you try to add a couple of days before classes begin, chances are you won't get in. Physics 50, 51 and 52 are restricted to engineering and science majors only, and mysjsu will screen for pre-requisites. If you are being blocked from registering, follow these instructions.
Here are some tips on getting into these high-demand classes.
Please note that the Physics Department does not offer "credit by exam" for any courses.
Physics is about the laws that govern all matter and energy. Success in physics (and calculus and chemistry) strongly correlates with success in your science or engineering major and in the workforce. We have designed our courses with your future success in mind!
Please note: the workshop (50W) is optional, and it is different from the lab (which you enroll in when you choose which lecture section you want). Add codes for 50W are available from the Physics Department website on the first day of class, if you were unable to register during the normal registration period.
Undergrad advising for Physics Majors
Dr. Heindl is the undergrad adviser for physics. Each semester, all physics majors (undergrads) will have to meet with him so that he can lift the advising hold on your account, and also you can talk about what your plans are and how things are going. Click here for information about advising, etc.
I conduct research in computational astrophysics. My research team is investigating the stability of planetary systems around low-mass main sequence stars. I am a co-investigator of the Virtual Planetary Laboratory, one of the NASA Astrobiology Institute lead teams.
Before I became ACting Chair in 2017, my teaching focused on Physics 50. This is the first course in calculus-based physics taken by students majoring in engineering, physics, chemistry, meteorology, math and computer science. I have previously taught the other courses in the 50 series, as well as upper division physics, astrophysics and astrobiology. I have focused on Physics 50 the last few years because it is the foundation upon which engineering and physical science degree programs are built.
Entomology Laboratory Syllabus