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Simon S.

Physics Ph.D. Student and Purveyor of Analytical Toys

Minneapolis, MN (55455)

Travel radius
5 miles
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Many students feel that math, physics, and computer science have nothing in common with the languages they speak in their daily lives. They often seem like remote systems of rules to learn by rote and apply methodically. But the fact of the matter is that, like all languages, these formal ones grew out of our interaction with the world, and students tend to understand them better than they think they do. Often, all that a student needs to succeed is help translating between the funny symbols of the subject matter and the reality his or her concrete experience. As your tutor, my job is to get you started along this path.

I'm an avid student and a passionate teacher. I completed my undergraduate work at Knox College, where I graduated with a double major in math and physics and several accolades for academic excellence. Knox is a small school, and I was delighted with the tiny class sizes and the individualized attention I could expect from my professors. Many of my courses had just a few students, and these classes in particular afforded ample opportunities for independent study, rich conversation, and deep understanding of the subject matter.

I took my first computer science course during my senior year of college, and I enjoyed it immensely. I found the process of designing and implementing projects to be a delightful extension of the Math I had learned, and I reveled in the challenge of writing elegant code which was easy both to explain and to understand. By the time I graduated, I was proficient in Java and Scheme, and I've been working intently to hone my programming skills ever since. I've picked up Python, C#, and Haskell, and I've coded numerous projects with applications to agent-based simulation, numerical modelling, and machine learning.

While I was in college, I started working for the math and physics departments to help students master the content of their introductory courses, and I volunteered with the local Literacy Coalition to help adult learners prepare for the math GED. I've occupied a variety of educational roles since then, including teaching at a college preparatory school and offering remote tutoring over the internet. My favorite way to teach, however, is to emulate my classes from college: I like to sit down face to face with a student, solve some interesting problems together, and have a conversation about their ramifications.

I recently started the next phase of my studenthood when I entered the Ph.D. program in physics at the University of Minnesota. My time at the university has been very satisfying. My first research experience was in a biophysics lab where I worked on a technique to control microscope drift using image cross-correlation analysis, I enjoy my classes and work as a teaching assistant, and I'm looking forward to doing my doctoral research in theoretical cosmology, particle physics, or nonlinear systems.

While my time is limited these days, I encourage you to contact me to determine whether I'm a good fit for your needs or those of your student. I find that I work especially well with students who are curious and passionate, either about the subject matter or about something else entirely. I get intrigued both by the subject matter at hand and by its historical and social context, which often lends the material a delightful sense of relevance. I work to tailor my explanations to each student's manner of understanding, and I make a point of helping my students recognize their strengths and weaknesses so that they can learn most effectively.

Some students master a subject through natural ability, and others master it through hard work; but a lucky few students master a subject by virtue of their love for it. In Math, Physics, and Computer Science, I find profound beauty and experience deep existential satisfaction, and I strive to bring the sense of wonder and playfulness I feel about them to each of my sessions. To the degree to which I can enable you to see your subject in this way, I will have succeeded in my role as your tutor.

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Simon’s subjects

Corporate Training:
Test Preparation:
ACT Math, ACT Science, GED, GRE, SAT Math
Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Calculus, Geometry, Physics, Prealgebra, Precalculus, SAT Math
ACT Science, Physical Science, Physics
C#, Computer Programming, Computer Science, Java, Mathematica, MATLAB, Python
ACT Math, Algebra 1, Algebra 2, Calculus, Differential Equations, Discrete Math, Finite Math, Geometry, Linear Algebra, Logic, Prealgebra, Precalculus, Probability, SAT Math, Trigonometry

Algebra 1

Algebra is one of the foundational branches of math. In Algebra, students learn about the properties of number systems, develop problem-solving and communication skills, and gain proficiency using variables to analyze situations.

Keywords: expressions, equations, linear equations, systems of equations, inequalities, polynomials, factoring, rational expressions, irrational numbers, the quadratic formula.


Calculus studies the relationship between the value of a quantity and how the quantity changes. An understanding of calculus enables the use of an entirely new language for describing phenomena, and it has applications to every piece of mathematics taught in high school.

Keywords: limits, derivatives, antiderivatives, integration, fundamental theorem of calculus, sequences and series, and applications.

Discrete Math

I majored in Mathematics, and my course work included Discrete Math, Number Theory, and Abstract Algebra. I am well versed in many relevant topics, such as proof by induction, game theory, combinatorics, and probability.


Geometry is the study of space. To study it, we delineate the space with lines, polygons, and angles. By describing the properties of the shapes we create, we come to understand the space they occupy.

Geometry is a marvelously fascinating subject, and it is of pivotal importance in the high school math curriculum. Let me help your student to see its beauty and power and give them the tools to succeed in the rest of their math curriculum.


I can help students develop proficiency not only with the practical logistics of programming, but also with the use of Visibility Modifiers, Abstract Classes, Interfaces, Inheritance, Overriding, and Overloading for optimal project design.

Linear Algebra

I took a Linear Algebra course my first year of college, and I used the knowledge I gained in many courses thereafter. I have a thorough understanding of Gauss-Jordan elimination, diagonalization of matrices, and the properties of inner product spaces. Over the past few months, I have been constructing a curriculum to give clever high-school students an introduction to the beauty and power of Linear Algebra.


Physics is the study of the universe in the language of Mathematics. As you've no doubt noticed, the universe can be a confusing place to live, and the Mathematics often further obfuscates the matter. Let me help.

I have experience tutoring and teaching introductory Algebra- and Calculus-based Physics, including Electricity and Magnetism and the content of the AP Physics exams.

I am also well-versed in more advanced topics, including Classical Dynamics, Electrodynamics, Special and General Relativity, Quantum Mechanics, and Particle Physics.

Read all subject qualifications »

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Knox College (Physics, Mathematics)

University of Minnesota (Graduate Coursework)

Wonderful! I've worked with a lot of tutors before but Simon is by far one of the best! He's easy to work with and he's good at recognizing your strengths and weaknesses and helping you recognize problems without discouraging you! He really has a deep understanding of physics but he's also a really good teacher! He knows how to guide you so that you really learn how to solve problems. I really can't say enou ...

— Lauren from Minneapolis, MN on 4/30/14);

Hourly fee

Standard Hourly Fee: $50.00

Cancellation: 12 hours notice required

Please note: my base rate of $50/hr is flexible. I offer discounts based on factors such as session type, geographic convenience, time of day, and financial need. Please inquire for details.

Travel policy

Simon will travel within 5 miles of Minneapolis, MN 55455.

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