About Eric Mazur


Eric Mazur is the Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Harvard University and Area Dean of Applied Physics. An internationally recognized scientist and researcher, he leads a vigorous research program in optical physics and supervises one of the largest research groups in the Physics Department at Harvard University. Mazur founded several companies and plays an active role in industry. He is the Vice President of the Optical Society.

Dr. Mazur came to Harvard University in 1982 after obtaining his Ph.D. at the University of Leiden in the Netherlands. In 1984 he joined the faculty and obtained tenure six years later. Dr. Mazur has made important contributions to spectroscopy, light scattering, the interaction of ultrashort laser pulses with materials, and nanophotonics. Dr. Mazur received an Honorary Doctorate from the Ecole Polytechnique and the University of Montreal (2008) and holds Honorary Professorships from Beijing University of Technology, Beijing Normal University, and the Institute of Semiconductor Physics of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

In addition to his work in optical physics, Mazur has been very active in education. In 1990 he began developing Peer Instruction, a method for teaching large lecture classes interactively. He is the author of Peer Instruction: A User's Manual (Prentice Hall, 1997), a book that explains how to teach large lecture classes interactively. In 2006 he helped produce the award-winning DVD Interactive Teaching. Dr. Mazur's teaching method has developed a large following, both nationally and internationally, and has been adopted across many disciplines.

Dr. Mazur is author or co-author of 312 scientific publications, 36 patents, and several books, including the Principles and Practice of Physics (Pearson, 2014), a book that presents a groundbreaking new approach to teaching introductory calculus-based physics. Mazur is a sought-after speaker on optics and on education.

Photograph by Turning Technologies, 2012