In recent years, U.S. undergraduates have shown an increasing interest in introductory meteorology, oceanography and climate classes. But many students find it difficult to grasp the non-intuitive nature of rotating fluids, which is critical to understanding how weather systems and climate work. Part of the problem, it turns out, is that instructors usually have to teach these abstract concepts using only equations or computer simulations because of the limited resources available for lab experiments.
That may be about to change, thanks to the work of two educators from the Department of Earth, Atmospheric and Planetary Sciences. For nearly a decade, Lodovica Illari, an EAPS senior lecturer, and John Marshall, professor of atmospheric and oceanic sciences, have been developing an undergraduate weather and climate curriculum that’s now being adopted by dozens of schools — and could have a wide impact on science education at many levels.