Home page of

Joel Shapiro

Directory information

  Position: Faculty
  Research groups: High Energy Theory
Instructional Support and Development
    Home Page of the Watchung Tutor Group
      (Liew, Shapiro, and Smith)
  Email address: shapiro@physics.rutgers.edu    For Students of 507 Please go here.
  Telephone: (848) 445-8972      My text on Classical Mechanics.
  Dept. Fax: (732) 445-4343    For Students of 504 E&M 2011 web page.
  Office: Serin W325    For Students of 615 Intro QFT web page (2013).
  Mailing address: Joel Shapiro
Department of Physics and Astronomy
Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey
136 Frelinghuysen Road
Piscataway, NJ 08854-8019 USA
   For Students of 464/511 Math Physics (2015).
   For Students of 613 Particles (2014).
   General Relativity (617) Lecture Notes.
   For Students of 618 Group Theory (2015).

Research Activities

Particle Theory

My research in elementary particle physics has been dominated by my work on string theory, with my first paper on that subject written in 1968. More recent research has addressed two major topics. First is the understanding of closed string states (including gravitons) as they appear in an open string theory, emphasizing the off-shell and gauge properties. The second topic is the Green-Schwarz string in a curved superspace background. We showed that symmetries required for the consistency of the superstring impose conditions on the background super-space-time which are equivalent to the supergravity equations of motion. It also gives a new picture of the “conventional supergravity constraints”, showing that the essential physics of supergravity is just what the string can feel.

The Computer Environment

From 1983 until going on leave in 2000, I played a major role in guiding the development of our computer environment, both within and outside the department. From 1987-2000, I led the departmental computer effort, creating the Sun system which forms the basis of the department's computing infrastructure. From 1984-2000, I was Director of the Physics Supercomputer Remote Access Center.

Technology in Physics Teaching

In the early '90's my focus has turned to physics education, in particular to the uses of technology in large introductory physics courses. In 1993 I got funding for, designed, and built a home-made student response system (SRS) which placed a keypad and feedback lights at each seat of the 330 seat Physics Lecture Hall. In 1994 I initiated a course introducing computing into the Physics Major programming. In 1979 I incorporated a multiple-choice grading program into a record keeping environment for departmental courses, and I have created a latex environment for multiple choice and numerical answer exams. I have written a paper on adjusting recitation grades to compensate for differing standards among the instructors.

Since 1997 I have been working on intelligent tutoring systems (ITS's) for introductory physics courses. During my sabbatical year (2000-2001) at the University of Pittsburgh, I worked on Andes, an intelligent tutoring system for physics now used at the US Naval Academy. I gave a talk on Andes at my Department's instructional seminar, which can be viewed HERE . I have also founded, with two computer scientists, the Watchung Tutor Group, whose home page has links to all our publications on ITS. A talk I gave on my role on the Andes project at the Jan, 2002 AAPT meeting is here ,

Although it does not seem to be a popular opinion, I believe that eventually computer-based tutorials for problem solving in elementary physics courses will become a crucial pedagogical tool, especially in large institutions. I gave colloqua in early 2008 entitled "Can technology really improve teaching introductory physics?" in which I discuss both what is currently available and what I think would be needed to develop more adequate systems.

Other Interests

For many years I have been writing an introductory graduate text on Classical Mechanics. I also have an interest in incorporating some multimedia approaches to instruction. As an experiment I have generated a display of the Poinsot construction, in the free motion of a rigid body, of the the polhode rolling on the herpolhode.

Here is a talk on relativity and gauge theories that I am to give on April 11, 2006, to the undergraduate Society of Physics Students.

Please send any comments on this page to shapiro@physics.rutgers.edu.

Last modified: Thu Nov 19 11:34:25 2015