Professors on the Internet


Brown professors are, inarguably, some of the coolest people out there. Not only are they wicked smaht, but they also find creative ways to make the material fun and relevant (Andy van Dam, anyone?). My linguistics professor once talked about Brangelina and other “celebrity ships” and, needless to say, spurred some much needed laughter, and, you know, concern curiosity about how much time professors actually spend on Tumblr. Many professors even have social media platforms that they use to interact with students, or simply keep as personal accounts to document their extracurricular interests. This is great because, really, who doesn’t want to know more about these amazing people beyond the online CVs and LinkedIn pages we all stalk?

Richard Heck (Philosophy):


“Most of what I put on it at first was just technical stuff: how to do this or that on my computer, since I’d always look these things up, figure them out, and then forget. It was as much for my own use as anyone else’s, and I actually do look stuff up there from time to time. The most read post on my blog, in fact, is this . By a very, long way. It’s had five more hits than any other page. Lately, I’ve mostly been putting recipes on the blog. You probably know my daughter, Isobel, and when she was moving into her apartment for this year, she asked me about various recipes we used to make when she was living at home. So rather than print them out or something, I put them on the blog, or just links to them, if they were already online somewhere. Every once in a while I’ll post something more political. I was doing this a lot last fall, but got busy….”

Thing you don’t want to miss: adorable video of Lily the cat.

Casey Dunn (Ecology and Evolutionary Biology):


“I started my Twitter account because I find it to be a very useful way to stay in touch with colleagues about their research, projects in our lab, and developments in the field.

I started because I really enjoy the intersection of art and science.”

Thing you don’t want to miss: a very relevant tip for when you’re in a… tough spot.

 Joachim Krueger (Cognitive, Linguistic, and Psychological Studies):


“There are 300 posts since early 2009. PT asked me if I would do a blog on self-perception. I said no, but also said that I would do a blog if they gave me a free hand on the topics. So, I have blogged on topics such as free will, happiness, religion, statistics, game theory and social dilemmas among others. The blog is a personal archive of thoughts, ideas, and reviews. I try to keep the audience in mind, but ultimately, I write for myself. Occasionally, I use relevant posts to add to my teaching. In turn, some posts emerge from the teaching experience in class.”

Thing you don’t want to miss: happiness is what??

Sarah Besky (Anthropology and International and Public Affairs):


“I had a few reasons for incorporating twitter into my class: 1.  I wanted to change up the discussion format for my classes.  2.  I wanted to figure out a way that students could engage with each other while they read.  3.  I wanted to push beyond polished writing about whatever we read in class for that day.  I started this project a few years ago and I had just gotten on twitter myself.  I thought that it would be a great platform for achieving a kind of in-progress off-the-cuff, yet thoughtful and thought-provoking class discussion.  This semester, my Anthropology and Global Social Problems class is using #BrownAGSP for their tweets.”

Thing you don’t want to miss: all the amazing projects she’s involved in, like this one.

William Suggs (Chemistry):

w suggs

“I like the challenge of saying something worthwhile in 140 characters.”

Thing you don’t want to miss: laying it down like it is.

Thomas Doeppner (Computer Science):

thomas doep

“It’s what I like to do when I’m not doing CS or Brown-related things. I learned scuba diving from a course offered at Brown 30 years ago. Shortly thereafter, I took up photography. I’ve gotten a lot better at both over the years. I don’t like diving in local waters — it’s too cold and the visibility is poor. So this limits my underwater photography to one or two trips a year to tropical waters. I started taking photos of spiders and insects 10 or so years ago: I was working on my camera, a small spider walked across my desk. I took a closeup of it with the result that it looked like a tarantula. It then occurred to me that the skills required for photographing bugs aren’t all that different from those required for underwater photography and that, furthermore, I didn’t have to leave my yard. I also take photos of birds, but I haven’t put any of these on my web page yet.

I’ve been pretty good about posting photos to my underwater website; every time I return from a trip I’m motivated to upload some. I haven’t been so good about doing the same with my insect and spider photos — I’ve got hundreds of photos that are just sitting on my disk drive. I feel that if I put a photo on the web, I should identify what it’s a photo of. I’ve done a pretty good job of this with my underwater photos — there are a number of good books and online resources (and I’ve contributed to some of them). But I’ve been stymied trying to do the same with spiders and insects — they’re a lot tougher to ID than underwater creatures.”

Thing you don’t want to miss: this little grumpy McGrumpster.

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