Distinguished Teaching Awards -- Richard Muller
By Steve Tollefson, Educational Development -- Student Life
Time and again, students point to these few minutes as an invaluable part of the course. "He will answer any questions students have. This type of intellectual discussion is very conducive to learning," says one student.
Muller "is interested in students understanding the physics of the world, not just knowing how to do the problems," says another.
Underscoring his students' comments, Muller believes "learning is one of the greatest joys in life . . . if I can trigger that joy in the students, then they will master the material with much less effort."
Part of Muller's philosophy is to focus on students as individuals. "Treat each student as if the next two minutes might have a profound effect on his or her life, and as if this may be one of the great moments in your teaching experience," he tells his new graduate student instructors.
In addition to his teaching expertise, Muller holds several patents, is a former Berkeley restaurateur, an author of a well-regarded book on the education of a physicist (Nemesis, 1988), and according to one student, possessor of "some cool hair."
Muller is a specialist in experimental physics and astrophysics. He received his BA from Columbia University and his PhD from Berkeley. He joined the faculty of the Department of Physics in 1978.