FRIB's Jaideep Singh receives Donald F. Koch Quality in Undergraduate Teaching Award

10 August 2023

Jaideep Taggart Singh, associate professor of physics at FRIB and in the MSU Department of Physics and Astronomy, has received the 2023 Donald F. Koch Quality in Undergraduate Teaching Award. The award recognizes teachers “who take pride in and are committed to quality undergraduate teaching and who demonstrate substantial continuing involvement in undergraduate education.”

Singh received his award at the 2023 Awards Convocation, where the Office of Faculty and Academic Staff Development honored its slate of 2022-2023 All-University Award Recipients. The awards recognize the work of MSU’s faculty, academic specialists, graduate students, and executive leaders.

Singh earned his bachelor’s degree in physics from the California Institute of Technology and earned his PhD in physics from the University of Virginia. He was a postdoctoral fellow at Argonne National Laboratory and a postdoctoral research scientist at Technische Universitaet Muenchen in Germany. In 2014, he joined MSU as an assistant professor in experimental nuclear science and began his research at the National Superconducting Cyclotron Laboratory. He currently manages the Spinlab at FRIB.

In the early days of his career at MSU, Singh sought out best practices in teaching. His methods leverage both evidence-based teaching approaches and well-established educational technologies to support students. His practices, he said, “fall under the category of active learning, with research-based techniques and instruction that is aligned with how students learn and engage with physics ideas.”

For example, Singh has implemented a lecture format featuring “clicker questions” that keep students engaged and help gauge class understanding as they move through complex material. He also stresses the use of writing in his classes. The writing component then becomes a central thread connecting all course activities and increasing overall class comprehension. “Reading and writing problems are important,” he said, “because if students can clearly explain concepts and solutions in words, then I know they get it.”

In his research, Singh examines how certain rare atoms with a pear-shaped core (nucleus) have unmatched sensitivity to new kinds of forces between subatomic particles that are not the same when the arrow of time is reversed. Such forces are believed to be responsible for the near absence of antimatter in the observable universe.

“For some reason, there is a tiny difference between matter and antimatter that has resulted in the universe being mostly energy, plus a very tiny amount of matter, and essentially no antimatter,” he said. “And that minuscule amount of matter is us and everything we see around us.

“My experiments are designed around trying to see why there is a difference between matter and antimatter,” he continued. “And that difference explains why we are here.”

Singh said he was both surprised and honored to receive the award. “It gave me a great sense of validation,” said Singh. “I am so grateful to have the job I have. Everything I do in my work is something to benefit other people. And as a university instructor, those people are primarily my students.”

“Congratulations to Jaideep,” said FRIB Laboratory Thomas Glasmacher. “This award demonstrates his continued commitment and dedication to providing an outstanding learning environment for his students.”

The Donald F. Koch Quality in Undergraduate Teaching Award is supported by the MSU Alumni Club of Mid-Michigan and by Donald F. Koch and Barbara J. Sawyer-Koch.