Ronald K. Thornton, Ph.D., Director
Ronald K. Thornton (AB, Hamilton College; Ph.D., Brown
University) is a former high energy physicist who now develops
effective methods and materials for teaching science to students
from the middle school through college, teaches teachers and
professors, and investigates student conceptual learning. As well as
being the Director of the Center for Science and Mathematics
Teaching at Tufts University, he is also a Research Professor in the
Physics and the Education Departments, and a former visiting
professor in the Physics Departments of the Universities of Rome,
Naples, and Pavia. He has been the chair of the National Committee
on Research in Science Education of the American Association of
Physics Teachers (AAPT). He directs a number of national and
international projects which study student conceptual learning in
science (with a strong emphasis on physics) and which design and
introduce constructivist science curricula into schools and
universities (e.g. the NSF funded Student-Oriented Science:
Curricula, Techniques and Computer Tools for Interactive Learning,
Foundations for Computer-Based Physics Instruction). He is a major
author of the Tools for Scientific Thinking and RealTime Physics
curricula and of the microcomputer-based laboratory (MBL) software.
These hands-on, award-winning materials are designed to serve
underprepared and underserved students as well as more traditional
science majors. Prof. Thornton won the 1992 Smithsonian/Computerworld Leadership Award in Science Education and the 1993 Charles A.
Dana Foundation Award for Pioneering Achievements in Education (with
Stephen J. Beardslee, Programmer
Stephen Beardslee is the Senior Programmer at the Center for
Science and Math Teaching. He has been programming MBL applications
since he graduated from Hampshire College in 1986. During that time
he has helped to develop MBL software for the Commodore 64, Apple
II, Macintosh, and x86 personal compuers. Before moving to Tufts he
worked at Technical Education Research Center in Cambridge, MA.
Mary Dygert, Programmer
Mary Dygert: B.S. Indiana University (Chemistry) M.S. and Ph.D.
Cornell University (Biophysical Chemistry)
Formerly a teacher of chemistry and biochemistry at Smith College, a
researcher at Brigham and Women's Hospital and Harvard Medical
School, and a software developer in computational chemistry at
Molecular Simulations, Inc.
She has been involved in development of software tools for use both
in teaching chemistry and in computer-aided drug design. At CSMT she
has been a member of the development team that produced LoggerPro
and has done work on Dynamic Analyzer as well. She is currently
working on a Java-based ActiveX component tool for Vector
Visualization which can be embedded in both LoggerPro and Dynamic
Davette Abkowitz and Edmund Traverso, Staff Associates
Davette Abkowitz and Edmund Traverso, staff associates, have been
with the Center since 1986. Their principal responsibility has been
to work with secondary teacher s of physics who are learning to
become effective users of Microcomputer-Based Laboratory (MBL)
technologies. Davette and Ed help to develop and implement workshops
and teacher education programs at the Center and are completely
responsible for the follo w-up activities at the schools for the
teachers who have participated in the workshops.
Both Davette and Ed are experienced secondary school teachers. For
this reason, they know school environments and are able to relate
well to teachers who are attempting to introduce new approaches into
their courses. They invite inquiries from teachers who currently use
MBL equipment or who wish to know more about the use of MBL
equipment to improve the teaching of science.
Allan Risley, Staff Associate
Allan S. Risley, Ph.D., graduated with a degree in physics from
Denver University in 1954. For many years he worked as an
experimental physicist. Much of this work focused on research upon
atomic clocks and their use as national and international time
standards. This work was done during his 20 years as a physicist at
the National Bureau of Standards in Boulder, Colorado. He then moved
into the private sector and the field of telecommunications, working
first as a policy analyst and then doing design and marketing on
products for time synchronization of large telecommunication
networks. He published over 20 papers in scientific and technical
journals on his research in physics and his work in
In the last several years, Dr. Risley obtained the Ph.D. in Human
Development from the Department of Human and Organization
Development of the Fielding Institute. His interest is primarily in
the fields of human learning and systems analysis. He presently
works as a consultant splitting his time between research upon how
students learn physics (at Tufts University in Medford, MA) and
doing systems- modeling/facilitation in organizations.
Janet Marino, Office Administrator
Janet M. Marino is the first person that one encounters on a trip
to the Center. Her duties are rather simply described: "Everything."
Whether it's scheduling travel for staff members of the Center,
organizing luncheons, sending and receiving correspondence, or
simply helping the rest of us find where we misplaced our heads,
Janet does it all.
She is a graduate of Fisher College, in Boston, MA and has had over
twenty years of experience in the business and academic worlds.
Contact our office for more