Meet Physics’ New Lecturer in Discipline Eric Raymer!

A Profile by Shimon Sarkar

Columbia University Department Physics is excited to introduce our new Lecturer in Discipline Eric Raymer! Eric’s role will focus on various aspects of introductory physics teaching and will contribute to the culture and continuous evolution of the Undergraduate Physics Program.



January 28, 2023

Tell me a little about your science background and what drew you to physics as a career.

“I chose to major in physics in college because I'd always been curious about astronomy and realized that physics would also let me put my interests in computer programming and math to use. After graduating and working as a high school teacher for a while, I decided to enroll in graduate school where I earned my Ph.D. doing computational astronomy in the context of binary stars. Since then, I have held a number of different roles that have intersected with science education, astronomy, and educational technology in different ways.”

What is it about physics that you find fun and exciting?

“I really enjoy problem-solving, whether it's thinking through an interesting application of a concept, figuring out the best way to write code to perform a certain task, or trying to understand how to best make an idea make sense to someone else. There are so many different variations on that last task that teaching never gets old for me – it's always enjoyable to hear how someone imagines a particular aspect of the world and to help them understand how we'd model it as physicists.”

What was your last position and what did you do there?

“Before joining the physics department at Columbia, I was an Assistant Professor at St. John's University with their Institute for Core Studies. I taught the introductory science course that is taken by non-STEM majors (Scientific Inquiry) and worked as part of several inter-departmental collaborations on science pedagogy, student retention, inclusive teaching, and innovative use of technology in the classroom.”

What are you looking forward to in this new role at Columbia?

"Most of my work in recent years has been with students who aren't pursuing STEM-related majors. I am looking forward to having a chance to work with physics and engineering majors and to deeply study some topics with them in a way that's not always possible with non-majors." 

What do you want our community to know about to get to know you better?

"I'm always interested in meeting new people within the department, even if it seems like our professional interests differ. Some of the most interesting collaborations I've taken part in have come from conversations with folks who work on things outside of my expertise. Say hi if you see me around Pupin!"