70-Year-Old Physics Professor Goes Really Above and Beyond to Engage His Students

Image Credit: Twitter

Learning new things can be challenging, but no matter whether it’s science, history, or literature, a great teacher can make a big difference in how students learn.

We’ve all sat in a class where the teacher or professor simply reads from their notes or their presentation, leaving us to a) struggle to stay awake and b) wonder why we dragged ourselves to listen to a lecture when we could have just read the material from our own comfortable couches.

Having a great teacher can inspire us, change our outlook, and get us excited about something we never thought would engage us – and that’s just what Dr. Wright of Tidewater Community College in Virginia has been doing for 45 years running.

The job at Tidewater was his first out of graduate school, and the now-70-year-old is still having fun and inspiring his students with engaging experiments that bring difficult physics concepts to life.

Since Dr. Wright teaches at a community college, he knows that many of his students aren’t looking to make science a career. Many of them aren’t even planning to take additional science classes as they continue their educations. So he does his best to make the material relatable, enjoyable, and even applicable.

Some of his demonstrations include lying down on a bed of nails, using liquid nitrogen to make ice cream, rolling down the hallway on a skateboard, and many more.

The world recently became aware of his adorable, heartfelt, and educational antics when one of his students, Erica Church, posted a compilation of his demonstrations on Twitter. The post quickly garnered over 1 million views (it’s over 21 million now), so she emailed her professor to thank him for great semester – and to let him know he’d gone viral.

He replied, “Thank you very much for sharing that with me. It was an amazing semester because I had amazing students.”

Later, he told Buzzfeed News that he was “just amazed.”

“It’s incredible. I’m blown away. I’ve often hoped I could reach people. I see my mission in life as to get people excited about science, so it really remains relevant, exciting, and fun. I’ve always tried to do that in my class, but I never expected to do that on this scale.

Maybe someone will see the video and think, oh, I should really take physics and learn more about this remarkable stuff that’s going on out there.”

Dr. Wright credits a 6th grade teacher with inspiring not only his love of science, but his desire to teach.

May each and every one of you encounter a teacher like him at least once in your life, because it really does make all the difference.

It can even make you like physics.