Faculty Speaker Series -- Spring 2016

Illuminating the Theory of Relativity

Dr. Robert Close, Physics

The movie "Interstellar" raised public awareness of Einstein's prediction that time slows down in a gravitational field. Dr. Close will discuss the history of relativity, then use simple models and demonstrations to explain its effects. You will see firsthand how the wave nature of matter affects our measurements and perceptions of space and time.

Dr. Robert CloseAbout Robert Close

Since 2009, Dr. Robert Close has taught courses at Clark College including Introductory Physics, Physical Science, and Medical Radiography. He received his bachelor’s degree in Physics at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and went on to earn a Master of Arts and a PhD in the same discipline at the University of California, Berkeley. After doing post-doctoral research at UCLA and Osaka University, Close became a researcher in the Department of Medical Physics and Imaging at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, California.    

After several years doing research in medical imaging, Close began to take a greater interest in theoretical physics and education. When his wife’s career took them to Beijing, he began developing his theory of spin angular momentum. “I have the equations. Now I just need the time to solve them,” says Close.  He created an educational website (www.ClassicalMatter.org) and YouTube channel by the same name. His book, The Wave Basis of Special Relativity, was published in 2014; and his many articles in the fields of medical imaging, plasma physics, and fundamental physics appear in numerous medical and scientific publications. He is an active member of the American Physical Society, American Association of Physics Teachers, and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, routinely making presentations at their meetings and conferences nationwide.

Last year Dr. Close also began teaching part-time in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Washington State University, Vancouver. He says he enjoys running into his former students from Clark who are continuing their educations. For Dr. Close it’s as much about his own learning as it is about teaching. “I appreciate the feedback I get from students when I’m teaching. I am always looking for better ways to communicate ideas and reinforce learning.”