Submitted by Patricia M. Allen

September 17, 2007
Contact: Stacey Schmeidel
Director of Public Affairs

AMHERST, Mass.—Harvard physicist Eric Mazur will deliver Amherst College’s Phi Beta Kappa lecture, on “How the Mind Tricks Us: Visualizations and Visual Illusions,” at 8 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 4, in Lecture Hall 2 of the Merrill Science Center at Amherst College. The lecture and a reception that follows are open to the public at no charge.

Neurobiology and cognitive psychology have made great progress in understanding how the mind processes information—in particular, visual information. The knowledge we can gain from these fields has important implications for the presentation of visual information and student learning.

A member of the Harvard faculty since 1984, Eric Mazur holds appointments as Harvard College Professor, Gordon McKay Professor of Applied Physics and professor of physics. His research is in optical physics. He also devotes time to finding ways to improve science education. This research has led to the publication of Peer Instruction, a manual that offers methods for teaching large lecture classes interactively.

In 1988 Mazur received a National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award and, in 2001 he received the NSF Director’s Award for Distinguished Teaching Scholars. A fellow of the American Physical Society and its Centennial Lecturer in 1998-99, he has been a visiting professor or distinguished lecturer at the University of Leuven in Belgium, the National Taiwan University, Carnegie Mellon University, Hong Kong University and Vanderbilt University. He is the author of hundreds of scientific publications and serves on the editorial board of Journal of Science Education and Technology.