Aatish Bhatia

Associate Director, Engineering Education
Email Address: 
Office Location: 
Peter B. Lewis Library, Room 233

Ph.D., Department of Physics and Astronomy, Rutgers University, 2013
B.A. with Honors, Physics Major and Mathematics Minor, Swarthmore College, 2007

Dr. Bhatia supports science and engineering education initiatives at the Council. He has disciplinary expertise in the fields of physics, bioinformatics, physics and engineering education, and science communication.

His Ph.D. research focused on numerical methods to detect signatures of natural selection using genetic data. At Rutgers University, he transformed and co-taught a large-enrollment introductory physics course for non-science majors, incorporating active learning pedagogies and focusing on the relevance of physics to society. He also created an Arduino and robotics course in the New Jersey Governor’s School of Engineering and Technology, taught four years of recitations, workshops and labs with a focus on active learning, and was a recipient of the Richard J. Plano Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award.

Aatish is actively engaged in science communication, and writes Empirical Zeal, an award-winning science blog. His popular science writing has been published online by WIRED and Nautilus Magazine, in print in The Best Online Science Writing 2012 (Scientific American Books), and was awarded first prize in the 3 Quarks Daily Online Science Writing Prize in 2012. He has co-developed online educational videos with Minute Physics and TED-ED that have been viewed millions of times. His most recent science communication project is Noticing (noticing.co), a science blogging collaboration with Robert Krulwich (WNYC/Radiolab).

At the Council on Science and Technology, his current projects include:

Science and Engineering Education Initiative (SEEI):
Working with faculty, Aatish has developed course material and provided feedback and assistance to help students develop a deeper appreciation and broader understanding of STEM. He has worked closely with faculty on Structures in the Urban Environment (CEE 262), Foundations of Engineering (EGR/STC 150), Writing about Science (STC/ENV 349), and Emerging Micro and Nano-Engineered Technologies (FRS 129), and has consulted with other STEM courses. In Fall 2015, he is working with Professor Katerina Visnjic on PHY 101, on developing engaging assignments and interactive exercises. He is also helping to design and implement a new Engineering and the Arts course organized and co-taught by Professor Naomi Leonard.

Education Research:
Aatish is currently collaborating on a multi-year study of students and faculty in the Freshman Scholars Institute, exploring how this program impacts students' college experiences.

He is a senior personnel on a multi-institutional NSF Improving Undergraduate STEM Education research grant on the 'Creative Art of Structural and Civil Engineering', a collaboration between Princeton University, UMass Amherst, and Virginia Tech. This project ties into a continuing collaboration with Professor Maria Garlock's course Structures in the Urban Environment (CEE 262), where Aatish has worked on designing and incorporating active learning exercises, developing and conducting project evaluations, and sharing and disseminating course material and research findings.