I have been a teaching fellow in the Department of Physics since September 2009. During this time, I have been primarily engaged with the department’s undergraduate degrees where I have been involved in course design, teaching, assessment, and administration in almost every aspect of the programme. In addition, I do outreach work, with a focus on widening participation, and carry out educational research in collaboration with colleagues across the College.
Current undergraduate teaching
I have a reduced teaching load for the 2022-23 academic year as I have been granted Shared Parental Leave during a large part of terms 1 and 2 to support my young family. The main feature of my teaching will be on the year 2 Thermodynamics and Structure of Matter module - I will lead the module and lecture on the Structure of Matter and Statistical Physics components of the course.
Outreach and work with schools
I have worked with local schools for many years now, since before my time at Imperial. My main aim is in relation to widening participation i.e. to address discrepancies in higher education regarding the underrepresentation of disadvantaged groups. The main scheme I am currently involved with is the STEM Futures Programme.
Educational research work
Since starting at Imperial I have become ever more involved in educational research and completed my Master of Education in University Teaching and Learning with the EDU in 2015. The College’s 2018 Curriculum Review and implementation of the related Learning and Teaching Strategy permitted a flourishing of educational research projects and I am involved in several collaborative pieces of work. In particular I lead on a major departmental project investigating and improving active & blended learning in the undergraduate programme and am secondary lead on a cross faculty project on strengthening learning communities in the College.
More information on these endeavours can be found on the department's Physics Education Group page.
Other research work
My PhD is in geophysics and I still maintain an interest in the topic, particularly regarding plate tectonics. I have supervised several undergraduate projects in this area and welcome proposals from students.
I have also worked with colleagues and undergraduates on projects covering a diverse range of topics including mass extinctions, darts, the (mis)use of analogies in teaching, the broader use of English in teaching physics, paradoxes in relativity, parts of semiclassical physics, cricket ball swing, and the use of virtual reality in physics teaching. I’m always happy to talk and collaborate with people on any of these things and many more besides so do get in touch.
Current other major roles in the College
I a member of CHERSNet, a member of the department’s LGBT ally network, am the Faculty of Natural Sciences representative on Programmes Committee.
I am also involved with the trade unions at Imperial and am branch president of Imperial UCU.
I was born in Darlington and grew up in Durham City. I left to read physics at Bristol University, graduating with an MSci in 1998. My final year project was on semiclassical physics, looking at periodic orbits in a Baker’s transformation. After a year working on kibbutz Holit in south-west Israel I moved to Buenos Aires where I taught secondary school science for three years. In 2002 I moved to the University of Liverpool where I stayed for seven years, completing a PhD in geophysics then researching and teaching for a further three years. I joined Imperial in September 2009.
Tymms V, 2015, Newtonian Mechanics for Undergraduates, World Scientific Publishing Europe Limited, ISBN:9781786340085
Tymms, Numerical Modelling of Rifted Continental Margin Formation