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Teaching Prize

The Physics Student Council’s Teaching Prize: Laureate 2016

Prof. Dr. Nikos Doltsinis
Prof. Dr. Nikos Doltsinis (2nd f. l.) with Student Council members René Henke, Miriam Neumann and Lukas Eschmann (f. l.)
© Uni MS/Fachschaft Physik

The Student Council’s award went to Prof. Dr. Nikos Doltsinis this year, who managed to give the fourth-semester students an understanding of the Introduction to Quantum Mechanics, a conceptionally very difficult topic, in the past year.

Since there are many great lecturers at the department, the decision was once again not easily made. The Teaching Prize committee had to weigh many criteria and has chosen a large introductory lecture this year. The lecture performed absolutely convincingly in all criteria, but it especially stood out because it was rated – by a landslide – by the students as the most understandable theoretical lecture in the whole bachelor’s program. Due to this, and because it managed to evoke a particular passion for a heretofore conceptionally unknown subject, it was the lecture with the highest attendance in the fourth semester. It was especially important for the committee to learn that the results of the course evaluation as well as the constructive comments and feedback by the students were accepted and used for the lecture’s improvement while it was still taking place. This corresponds exactly to the purpose of the evaluation, which is understood not “only” as an assessment, but also as constructive feedback – especially for young, upcoming, but also for seasoned lecturers.

It was the first large lecture here in Münster for Prof. Dr. Nikos Doltsinis. He is employed at the Institute of Solid State Theory since 2011 and works on the area of the theory of functional nano-structures. To this end, he does research using computer simulations of the dynamics of molecules in the condensed phase, that is in liquids, clusters and solids. In this research, different methods with varying precisions are employed – from high-precision quantum-mechanical techniques to classical semi-empirical methods. This enables the simulation of physical processes across many orders of magnitude on the length and time scales.

On the background: The Teaching Price has been awarded for the fourth time already. As every year, the award relies on the results of the course evaluation at the department. The Student Council has set criteria which a good lecture must satisfy. Among these are the lecturer’s ability to evoke the students’ interest and to convey the subject matter in a manner that is as inspiring and understandable as possible. Thus, it is important that the lecturer is well-prepared and appropriately responds to questions.

The comparison of lectures according to these criteria is done by the Teaching Prize committee, which consists of the Student Council’s chairman and two additional members: Lukas Eschmann, René Henke and Miriam Neumann. However, only lectures with a minimum number of participants were considered in order to obtain a certain degree of comparability. With these criteria, almost all compulsory lectures and the introductory lectures for the specializations could be considered.

Further information on the Physics Student Council’s Teaching Prize