Department of Physics
BRIEF AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF DAVID M. COOK
(Information updated 31 October 2007)
My entire professional career, the chronology of which is laid out briefly in the accompanying full curriculum vitae and brief curriculum vitae has been spent as a member of the faculty of the Department of Physics at Lawrence University (Appleton, WI). During that time, I have
My major activity throughout my career at Lawrence embraces both my teaching and my scholarly work and is the logical outgrowth of a sabbatical spent in 1971-72 becoming familiar with the way in which the Dartmouth Department of Physics was aggressively incorporating time-shared computing---then a new idea---into its curriculum. Since that sabbatical, I have helped guide the evolution of computer use and the computer curriculum at Lawrence, both within and without my own department. In 1978--81, I directed a faculty development project (with support from the NSF CAUSE program) designed to guide and support science and social science faculty in their self-development of uses of computers for scholarship and teaching. Since 1988 (with support from two NSF ILI grants, one NSF CCLI grant, three grants from the W. M. Keck Foundation, and substantial support from Lawrence University), I have directed an extensive curricular development project designed to create a departmental environment in which physics majors become expert at using state-of-the-art computing resources intelligently and independently. In support of this endeavor, we have built the Lawrence Computational Physics Laboratory, equipped currently with eleven Hewlett Packard Linux-based workstations and making available numerous software packages for graphical visualization, numerical analysis, and symbolic algebra. With these resources on campus, we have been able to embed computer-based classroom demonstrations and homework exercises in most of our upper-division offerings; we have successfully encouraged students to explore these resources on their own; and we have supported numerous senior-level independent studies that have made substantial use of these resources. This project has attracted national attention and has been described in several publications, and I have delivered invited talks about the project at several national meetings and at half a dozen colleges and universities. In 1990, I obtained support from the Sloan Foundation for a conference on computing in advanced undergraduate physics, a conference that brought 20 active teacher/scholars to Lawrence, and I edited and published the proceedings of that conference; I served a three-year term as a member of the American Association of Physics Teacher's Committee on Computers in Physics Education and a five-year term as Associate Editor of the journal Computers in Physics. Further, the availability of these resources at Lawrence permits my students and me to conduct serious studies in computational physics, which has been the arena of my scholarly endeavors during the past decade. More specifically, my current emphasis is in musical acoustics and the physics of musical instruments.
Outside of the computational laboratory and the classroom, I enjoy gardening, maintaining my 20-acre homestead north of Appleton, and playing the organ, which I have done since 1954. Since my arrival in Appleton, I have been assistant organist at a local church and, from January through August of 2007, I served that church as interim organist while the church conducted a search for a permanent successor to the long-serving organist who retired in December, 2006.