‘Making Waves’ in Wave Motion: Professor’s New Book Explains Physics of Wave Motion

Espinoza's book cover

To meet the need for teaching science using an exploratory or inquiry-based approach, Dr. Fernando Espinoza wrote his latest textbook, “Wave Motion as Inquiry: The Physics and Applications of Light and Sound.” Developed to cover wave physics for students predominantly without a science background, the 12-chapter text published by Springer avoids presenting the topic abstractly in order to emphasize real-world examples. Espinoza, who holds a joint appointment as a professor in the School of Education and the Chemistry and Physics Department, provides the needed scientific context through exercises and labs, while also relying on students’ own experiences to guide their learning.

“'Wave Motion as Inquiry' demystifies key components of life around us – in music, technology, and everything we perceive,” according to the publisher’s notes. Espinoza, who also serves as the College’s Director of Graduate Education Programs, said “in writing this text, I wanted readers from various backgrounds ranging from the arts and humanities to science and education majors, to understand the relevance of the physics of wave motion in both optics and acoustics to many other areas using important experiments to explain the concepts.”

This unique undergraduate textbook utilizes a teaching approach based on qualitative understanding, in accordance with mandates from national organizations attempting to reform science education. To be used in Espinoza’s physics courses on the subject, “Wave Motion as Inquiry” engages students and weaves that interest into a coherent picture of wave physics – even for those without a strong math background.

A resident of Northport, New York, Espinoza earned his Ed.D. from Columbia University and his M.A. and a B.A. from Queens College. In addition to having a research agenda that includes numerous peer-reviewed publications, grants, and conference presentations, he has served as a reviewer for several journals including “Scientific Journals International,” “Science Education Review,” and “Research in Science Education.” Most recently he served as a member of the New York State Education Department’s Science Content Advisory Committee, charged with providing feedback on the adoption of the common core science curriculum as part of the Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS). Espinoza has over 30 years of teaching experience at the pre-college and college levels. His first book, “The Nature of Science: Integrating Historical, Philosophical, and Sociological Perspectives,” gave readers a deeper understanding of science and its effect and influence upon society.