A new lecture-tutorial for teaching about molecular excitations and synchrotron radiation

Colin S. Wallace, Edward E. Prather, Seth D. Hornstein, Jack O. Burns, Wayne M. Schlingman, Timothy G. Chambers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Light and spectroscopy are among the most important and frequently taught topics in introductory college-level general education astronomy courses (hereafter Astro 101). This is due to the fact that the vast majority of observational data studied by astronomers arrives at Earth in the form of light. While there are many processes by which matter can emit and absorb light, Astro 101 courses typically limit their instruction to the Bohr model of the atom and electron energy level transitions. In this paper, we report on the development of a new Lecture-Tutorial to help students learn about other processes that are responsible for the emission and absorption of light, namely molecular rotations, molecular vibrations, and the acceleration of charged particles by magnetic fields. Note that this paper primarily focuses on describing the variety of representations and reasoning tasks designed for this Lecture-Tutorial; while the end of this paper highlights some data that are suggestive of the Lecture-Tutorial's effectiveness, our more comprehensive analysis of its efficacy will be presented in a future publication.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)40-44
Number of pages5
JournalPhysics Teacher
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2016

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Education
  • General Physics and Astronomy


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