10 August 2015
Kim Splittorff new Deputy Head
Kim Splittorff, associate professor of theoretical particle physics, is the new Deputy Head of Institute for Teaching at the Niels Bohr Institute.
“I am really looking forward to working on our teaching with the entire institute. The important thing is that our academic freedom also extends to our teaching so that is personal and alive. It is a quality that there are a variety of teaching methods in the different courses, but we should of course coordinate between the courses and be inspired by each other so that we develop the teaching jointly.
As a researcher, he works with the unsolved mysteries of the universe. What did the universe look like 13.7 billion years ago? – and which physical state were prevalent? His focus has been on how nuclear matter behaves when there is an imbalance between quarks and anti-quarks.
As a teacher he manages to convey difficult material in a way that is relevant and meaningful for the students and in 2010 he was rewarded for his engaging and enterprising teaching with the faculty’s Teacher of the Year award. So teaching has been a major focus for him.
Challenges in teaching
“Our primary challenge in teaching is that the students have very different academic qualifications and ambitions. Some have very specific dreams and are working towards, for example, drilling ice cores on Greenland, developing a quantum computer or teaching high school, while others are less decided and just started the program because they think physics is really cool. The trick is to integrate a natural differentiation in the courses so that everyone is appropriately challenged,” explains Kim Splittorff, who believes that the good students are the ones who make progress academically.
The field of science – and especially physics, is particular in that way, that knowledge is hierarchical, it builds upon itself – it is necessary to understand the first thing, before you can understand the next.
“It is, for example, a great idea to have a good grip on mechanics and electromagnetism before moving on to quantum mechanics. We therefore do everything in our power to design the program so that the knowledge is built up naturally and then there is a world that opens up to the students,” he explains.
Kim Splittorff replaces Aksel Walløe Hansen, who has held the position since January 2010. Walløe Hansen will continue to research and teach meteorology as an associate professor. Kim Splittorff will take over the position on 1 September. He will also continue to teach and will research as time allows.