Lee E. Larson
While I have taught the full spectrum of Physics and Astronomy courses, most recently I have taught a course in Environmental Physics for non-science students, Classical Mechanics, and upper level Experimental Physics. I have a strong interest in environmental problems, laboratories at all levels, and lecture demonstrations, especially as used in calculus-based General Physics.
In partnership with Mike Mickelson, I study the spectra of molecules of interest to planetary atmospheric modelers. Our present project, which is sponsored by NASA, is to measure the spectra of methane bands in the visible and infrared regions of the spectrum. We do this a with the methane gas at a range of low temperatures reflective of those in the atmospheres of the outer planets Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus. We use a very nice tunable dye laser system coupled with extensive home built apparatus. We report our results at the meeting of the Division of Planetary Sciences of the American Astronomical Society which often has its meetings in exotic places. There are some interesting views of the planets as recorded by the Hubble Space Telescope.
I also work on developing course laboratories, especially the interfacing of computers to laboratory equipment for acquiring data and automating experiments.
Extracurricular activities and interests: Outdoors activities top the list; hiking (in the West and New England), biking, canoeing, gardening, farming, etc. We have raised sheep, chickens, steers and pigs, kept bees, and made maple syrup. I like to repair antique clocks, and have a modest collection. Traveling is also great fun, and in the recent past we have been to Alaska (including a week in the Brooks Range with travel by bush plane), Greece, Great Britian, Israel, and the Canadian and U.S. Rockies.
I am also a "weather enthusiast", and a great web site for weather forecasts is The Weather Underground.