Berkeleyan Masthead

This Week's Stories

Distinguished Teaching Awards

Students and Faculty on the Phone To Boost Minority Enrollment at Berkeley

Background to the Tragedy in Kosovo

Campus Opens its Doors on Cal Day, April 17, for Day of Learning and Fun

Dr. Mamphela Aletta Ramphele Is Cal Day Featured Speaker

Dean of Social Welfare Buries Liberal Notions of the Welfare State

More About: A Life Devoted to Art

Cal Traditions 101

Tamara Keith: People's Park Is Melting in the Dark

Regular Features

Campus Calendar


News Briefs


Staff Enrichment


Distinguished Teaching Awards -- Richard Muller

By Steve Tollefson, Educational Development -- Student Life
Posted April 14, 1999

Photo: Richard Muller

Richard Muller.

Richard A. Muller, professor of physics, always arrives ten minutes before class begins to "answer student questions and discuss current events" related to the topic of the class.

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.

(return to main Distinguished Teaching Awards page)


April 14 - 20 (Volume 27, Number 30)
Copyright 1999, The Regents of the University of California.
Produced and maintained by the Office of Public Affairs at UC Berkeley.
Comments? E-mail