As part of his teaching duties, Prof. Stenzel has for many years taught Physics 180E, the Plasma Physics Laboratory, an upper division course designed to follow M122, Introduction to Plasma Physics. Physics 180E exposes the student to the fundamental principles of plasma physics from an experimental viewpoint.

Course topics include, but are not limited to, the following topics:

  • Charged single particle motion under the influence of electric and magnetic fields.
  • Plasma generation techniques: hot filaments, indirectly heated cathodes, rf-induced ionization, etc.
  • Plasma diagnostics: Langmuir probes, velocity analyzers,
  • Waves and instabilities: ion acoustic, Bernstein, whistlers.

The laboratory is currently undergoing an ambitious renovation which will permit the student to reproduce fundamental discoveries in plasma physics. It is expected that this new capability will increase student interest in a career in plasma physics.

Prof. Stenzel recently undertook a complete overhaul of Physics 4BL, one of the two major lower division laboratories. This class' objective is "to teach electricity and magnetism by observations from experiments." To accomplish this, a variety of experiments were designed to show the validity of the fundamental four equations that were derived by James Clerk Maxwell to explain the many observations made by experimental physicists such as Hans Oersted, André Ampère, Michael Faraday, and others. As part of the overhaul, the complete laboratory manual is now available on-line. This allows for easy updates and expansion.