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What has been your favorite tutoring experience and why?

My favorite tutoring experience has been running intensive seminar courses in Chemistry and Physics. I was given free reign to develop all course content: including lectures, quizzes, homework assignments, and laboratory experiments. During this course, I taught Chemistry and Physics from a high-level perspective, introducing, comparing, and contrasting the Periodic Table of Elements and the basics of the Standard Model of Physics. I focused on the what Roger Penrose calls The Three Realms of Reality; the Gravitational interaction; the history of Physics, Chemistry and Astronomy; the formation of the nucleus through Nucleosynthesis; Quantum Chemistry and the Aufbau Principle; basic Electrodynamics; and Newton's Laws of Motion.

At the end of the course, students were to present a power point presentation on a topic of their interest, and turn in an accompanying thesis. One of my students, just entering high school, wrote about the creation of a Bose Einstein Condensate (a form of matter I only heard of as an undergraduate in Physics). Other students, whose work was equally impressive, wrote about the power of horses during equestrian events; the ubiquitous nature of examples of Newton’s Second Law of Motion; the possibility of life in the Solar System; the formation of fossils and the difficulty of finding them due to action by tectonic plates; the formation of rainbows in the atmosphere; and a planet made entirely of diamond.

This was my favorite work experience because I was able to transmit my passion about scientific inquiry and the importance of asking well-defined questions to a generation of future scientists.