About Me


Professor Emerita of Physics
Department of Physics
North Carolina State University
rwchabay (at) ncsu.edu


My interests focus on integrating 20th and 21st century physics into the physics curriculum, especially in the introductory course taken by science and engineering students. This includes engaging students in computational modeling, as well as in applying fundamental principles to a wide range of physical systems. I am particularly interested in designing curricula that bridge the gap between physics and other scientific disciplines.

I am the co-author of Matter & Interactions, a modern calculus-based introductory physics textbook published by John Wiley & Sons that integrates 20th century physics, including computational modeling, into the introductory physics curriculum. The fourth edition of Matter & Interactions, published in January 2015, includes significantly extended support for computational modeling. At http://matterandinteractions.org you can find more information about the curriculum, including journal articles and 3D lecture-demo programs.

My current research interests focus on the issues involved in integrating computational modeling into introductory courses, both in physics and in interdisciplinary topics. Computational tools allow students not only to model the simple systems typically treated in introductory courses, but to extend these models to include much more complex interactions. The challenges in this enterprise include designing an environment in which students with no background in computation can learn to write simple codes to model physical systems, and in creating activities that encourage students to invoke their physics knowledge to create, understand, and extend computational models.

Header image

The header image is from a very cool mural I saw in Bogotá.  I don’t think it has anything to do with physics or computational modeling (but if you figure out a connection, let me know).