Teaching and mentoring

   Teaching and mentoring are two of the main reasons why I entered the academic world. I love these for the possibility of having a positive impact on students (and society through them). I also love preparing classes and lecture notes because that's the best way to challenge my physics knowledge and fill any gaps I find.

   I am currently teaching a course on Quantum Optics at Shanghai Jiao Tong University (previously taught at the Friedrich-Alexander Universität in Erlangen on the Winter Semester of 2017/2018). I have also produced a fair amount of lecture notes and books.

   Officially, I have successfully supervised 2 PhD, 2 MSc, and 2 BSc students (and several more unofficially), and I currently supervise 2 students (one PhD, one MSc).

Teaching philosophy. My approach to teaching is simple: no matter the subject, I create a consistent, appealing story line that captures the attention of the student. I develop courses which are self-contained, except for a well-defined list of preliminary topics that the student should know from prior courses. However, as much as time permits, I offer a review of such preliminary topics, including written and/or blackboard lectures with enough references, so that students know exactly what they might be missing and can refresh their memory.

Teaching profile. My ideal position is one in which I could teach any (or many) of the subjects that form the backbone of physics, especially analytical mechanics, electrodynamics, optics, general relativity, quantum mechanics, statistical physics, or quantum field theory.

   Together with these fundamental topics, I would like to teach a more specific course on quantum optics and open systems. I've devoted a lot of time designing a course on such topic, focusing on three premises: first, using a modern approach that naturally prepares the student for research right after the course (or even while taking it); second, eliminating spurious technical details which potentially make the students move their attention away from the relevant physics; and third, making sure that students see the course as a natural extension of their basic quantum mechanics one. Overall, the idea is to offer a course that will get students excited about this timely topic and ready for it, while developing the quantum intuition and skills of students who want to pursue other topics.

Experience. On the winter semester of 2017/2018 I had the first opportunity to teach a full official course, which I called Open Quantum Optical Systems. Prior to that, I have taught a few short courses on summer schools and graduate programs, plus many informal seminars to students and colleagues of the groups where I've developed my career.

  I have graduated 2 PhD, 2 MSc, and 2 BSc students:

  • Joaquín Ruiz-Rivas (PhD), University of Valencia (Spain); maximum distinction (Suma Cum Laude).

  • Naeimeh Mohseni (PhD), Institute of Advanced Studies in Basic Sciences (Iran); maximum distinction (excellent).

  • Sebastian Pina-Otey (BSc), Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona, maximum distinction and extraordinary prize.

  • Emmanouil Grigoriou (MSc), Free University of Brussels, maximum distinction (La plus haute distinction).

  • Akash nag Oruganti (MSc), Erlangen-Nuremberg University; satisfactory (2.7).

  • Benjamin Löckler (BSc), Erlangen-Nuremberg University; highest honour (1.0 - Sehr gut).

   

  I was part of the International Mentor Program from 2016 to 2018.

Joaquín's PhD defense, 2015