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Dr Andrea Jiménez Dalmaroni

Dr Andrea Jiménez Dalmaroni

Lecturer
Deputy Head of Physics Education Research Group

School of Physics and Astronomy

Email
jimenezda@cardiff.ac.uk
Telephone
+44 (0)29 2251 0756
Campuses
N/2.25a, Queen's Buildings - North Building, 5 The Parade, Newport Road, Cardiff, CF24 3AA

Overview

After an extensive career in biophysics, my main interests are focused on the field of physics education research. I design and investigate novel teaching techniques to promote critical thinking, self-directed learning, and facilitate students a smooth transition to conduct their own projects. In addition, I coordinate the School’s Professional Placement Programme, working from a different perspective to support students to take diverse careers paths successfully and adapt to the demands of different workplaces effectively.
Research Areas
  • Increasing student engagement with student-staff partnership models for teaching and learning
  • Investigating alternative forms of assessment and feedback approaches
  • Developing creative thinking, self-efficacy and self-directed learning in STEM education
  • Embedding employability and enterprise explicitly in the physics curriculum
  • Professional development for effective innovation in STEM education

Biography

I obtained my first degree in Physics at the University of La Plata, Argentina. As a teaching assistant, I developed pioneering active learning techniques for early undergraduate instruction. In 2004 I obtained my D.Phil. at the University of Oxford, where I specialised in applying field theory techniques to non-equilibrium critical phenomena.
During my first postdoctoral position at the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems in Dresden, I applied statistical physics to solve concrete problems in cell biology. My theoretical work on the physics of cell division, published in Nature and ranked ‘exceptional’ by the Faculty of 1000 Biology, provides extremely precise and testable predictions of the orientation of the cell division plane for cells deposited on a large variety of adhesive substrates. I moved back to the UK in 2007 to take a postdoctoral appointment at the London Centre for Nanotechnology (LCN), University College London (UCL). In 2009 I was awarded a 3-year Junior Research Fellowship (JRF) at Imperial College.
In 2014 I was appointed a fixed-term University Professor in the Physics Department at LMU Munich. Since then, I focus on physics education research. I have been a short-term Visiting Scholar at Harvard University (2016) in the group of Eric Mazur, and a Visiting Scholar at Stanford University (2017) in the group of Carl Wieman. In 2018 and 2019, in my role of Visiting Professor at the  Massachusetts Institute of Technology, I collaborated in TEAL (studio format) instruction with John Belcher. Since 2016 I hold an honorary associate professorship at UCL, where I work in STEM education innovation.

Honours and awards

  • Provost Education Award, University College London, 2021.
  • Visiting Professorship, Physics Department, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, 2019.
  • Visiting Professorship, Physics Department, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, USA, 2018.

Professional memberships

  • Senior Fellow of the Higher Education Academy (SFHEA), Advance HE, UK.
  • Regular member of the Institute of Physics (IOP).
  • Regular member of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT).
  • Member of the International Society of the Learning Sciences (ISLS).

Speaking engagements

  • Teaching and Learning Conference, Higher Education Academy, UK, July 2021.
  • Employability Symposium 2021:3Es for Wicked Problems, Higher Education Academy, UK, April 2021.
  • Virtual Variety in Chemistry Education / Physics Higher Education Conference, August 2020.
  • American Association of Physics Teachers Virtual Summer Meeting, July 2020
  • 2nd Physics Education for the 21st Century, Institute of Physics, London, March 2019.
  • Embedding Employability in the Physics Curriculum Conference, University of Nottingham, July 2018.
  • Physics Education for the 21st Century Conference, Kohn Centre, Royal Society, London, September 2017

Organiser of conferences, meetings, workshops

Committees and reviewing

External

    • Ordinary member, Institute of Physics (IOP) Higher Education Group Committee, UK, 2017 - present.
    • External reviewer in the Period Programme Revalidation for the School of Physics, University of Bristol, 2019.

    Internal

    • Representative of the School of Physics and Astronomy on the University committee Task & Finish Steering Group, Innovation for All project, 2017-2018.
    • Member of the School of Physics and Astronomy JUNO Committee, 2018.

    Publications

    Teaching

    At Cardiff University:

    • PX2232 - Optics
    • PX2141 - Pathways to Success in the Physics Workplace
    • PX3153 - Environmental Physics
    • PX3315 - Physics Project (supervision of 3rd student projects)
    • PX9001 - Professional Placement Programme
    • Academic tutor for Year 1, and personal tutor for Years 1 to 4.

    At University College London:

    I'm leading an active learning project in collaboration with Prof. Ian Ford, in the module Advanced Topics in Statistical Mechanics (PHASM/G228) .

    I also run the “Active Futures in STEM Education” Workshop at the UCL Arena Centre, to provide academic staff across the STEM subjects with an introduction to the latest research on how students learn science. The sessions aims to support effective innovation in teaching practices. Therefore, the sessions take a hands-on approach, applying evidence-based ideas to the instructional activities created by the participants, and giving help and feedback on practical implementation. The workshop is based on a training programme developed in the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative (CWSEI) at the University of British Columbia, with an integrated vision of science education for the 21st century.

    My interests span from biophysics to physics education research (PER). I merge techniques of statistical and soft matter physics to provide a theoretical understanding of biological problems at the scale of the living cell. My work is highly interdisciplinary, and specifically relies on close collaborations with biologists and bio-engineers. My PER projects are centred in the idea that physics instruction should encourage and measure the practice of critical thinking, and foster self-regulated, reflective learners from early undergraduate courses. My main hypothesis is that the optimum framework to learn physics is by doing as expert physicists do. Therefore, I design and investigate methodologies in which students learn physical concepts by performing activities that closely resemble the work of a physicist. The activities are doable, adapted to the student level, but crucially challenging and subject to timely targeted feedback. I am particularly interested in determining the effectiveness of these techniques by quantifying their impact on learning gains, self-efficacy, metacognition and students’ attitudes to learning physics.