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UTEP Faculty Profile: Jorge López

Last Updated on April 19, 2019 at 12:00 AM

Originally published April 19, 2019

By UC Staff

UTEP Communications

The recipient of two major national awards for mentoring in science, Physics Professor Jorge López, Ph.D., loves bicycling to campus and dancing to the music of El Paso band Frontera Bugalú.

Jorge Alberto López, Ph.D.
Jorge Alberto López, Ph.D.

Name: Jorge Alberto López

Department/College: Department of Physics, College of Science

What do you teach? Physics. I have taught almost all physics courses in the catalog. At present, I am teaching Astronomy (ASTR 1308, Stars and Galaxies), and Introductory Electromagnetism (PHYS 2421).

How long have you been a teacher? All of my life (it seems that way!). I began teaching when I was in grad school and have been a professor at UTEP since 1990.

What’s your favorite classroom activity or teaching technique? I have used many different techniques: constructivism, peer-led team learning, hands-on learning, student response systems, and many more, and they all serve different purposes depending on the level of the students, whether the class is elective or mandatory, etc. 

What background and experience do you have in your field of study that benefits your students? Lots! I have done research at the Niels Bohr Institute in Copenhagen, the Lawrence Berkeley Lab, the Texas A&M Cyclotron Institute and many other places. I have published articles about many of the subjects I teach. For instance, in my astronomy class I talk about my studies of the structure of the crust of neutron stars, gravity waves, the radio telescope we built here at UTEP, and many more projects.

What do your students like best about your classes? Probably the welcoming atmosphere and – I think — the fact that I make them work to earn their grade. I am a very friendly and accessible professor, but I never trade reachability for lower standards.

What do you love most about being a teacher? Many things. To be an effective teacher one has to be an active learner. Being surrounded by youth keeps me young in spirit. But above all, teaching allows us to touch lives forever; I am still a good friend of most of my former advisees.

When you’re not teaching, grading or preparing for classes, what are you doing? Not much; we physicists are famous for having fun while working. Please don’t laugh, but I like dancing (El Paso’s Frontera Bugalú is one of my favorite local bands). I also enjoy bicycling (I park near downtown and ride my bike to campus), traveling (Africa and Australia are the only two major land masses I haven’t visited) and reading (especially history and politics).

What advice would you give to an incoming UTEP student? Don’t study physics unless you have to; physics is only for those who cannot avoid it. But if you must study physics, then come, let’s talk.