Contact Information

Office: 352 MWAH
Phone: (218) 726-8247
Email: ewest at d.umn.edu

More Info


Teaching

I believe that patience and compassion are key ingredients to good teaching. I try my best to embody those qualities. I am a proponent of student-centered, active learning approaches to teaching. In the past two years, I've had a growing interest in trying to find ways to incorporate elements of coding and computational methods into the physics curriculum. I am also a proponent of using free and open-source software to help minimize the financial burden on students. My recent passion has been utilizing the combination of Python and Jupyter notebooks for computational tasks. Read more about my teaching philosophy and courses that I have taught here.

Jupyter Notebooks

I have several Jupyter notebook tutorials hosted on github. I find them useful for my own teaching and research purposes. I hope others can get some use out of them as well. Here they are:

These are all works in progress; some more so than others. To view and use these notebooks, you need the Python packages numpy, scipy, matplotlib, and sympy installed on your machine. You also need to install Jupyter. You can either install each of these separately, or get them bundled together by installing Anaconda (this second option is recommended for new users). All of the above are free and open-source.

General Physics Links

Here is a page full of links to teaching resources, tutorials, and physics applets. I no longer maintain this page regularly, so some of the links may be broken. I leave it in case anyone finds the page useful.


Research

I am in the process of re-defining myself as a numerical relativist, and more generally as a compuational physicist. Numerical relativity is the study of Einstein's general theory of relativity using computers.

I have always been interested in gravity. My PhD work focused on theoretical cosmology (mainly inflation and braneworld cosmology). Toward the end of my PhD, and for a little while after that, I messed around with modified theories of gravity (scalar-tensor, f(R), torsion, and metric-affine theories). For a short time, I was interested in using the physics of stellar interiors to test our ideas about gravity, but the technology needed to do that is still a long ways away. As a result, I shifted my focus to gravitational waves, whose first detections seemed just a few years away (this turned out to be correct). After this wandering through the wilderness, I have finally discoverd a field of physics that I love: numerical relativity. My current focus is to improve numerical modeling of NS-NS mergers and their remnants.

For a list of current and past student projects, click here.

Active Research Interests

  • Improving simulations of NS-NS mergers
  • Improving initial data for BH-BH simulations
  • Simulating collapse of rotating neutron stars