As a Professor, Dean of Undergraduate Education, and Vice Provost for Teaching and Learning, Michael Dennin wears many hats at the University of California, Irvine. An active member of major professional industry associations like the American Physics Society, American Association of Teachers, and the American Association for Advancement of Science, Dennin demonstrates a commitment to the community and a genuine love for the study of science.
Off campus, Dennin is an active public speaker, where he brings his fun mix of pop culture and scientific facts to a broad range of local audiences. These speaking engagements have included everything from a talk at a local bar after the release of the latest Star Wars movie, to presentations for interested religious audiences about his book on science and faith, to a variety of K-12 school presentations on his research into the physics of bubbles and foam.
Additionally, Dennin’s passion for making the world of physical science accessible to general audiences is unmatched in his field. Having previously been involved in a wide range of outreach projects in support of public general science education Michael Dennin’s appearances span television audiences nationwide, public lectures, massive open online courses, and a new book. Through his creative and innovative use of media outlets, Dennin tries to make science interesting and approachable by discussing trending pop culture topics.
Dennin has appeared on popular TV shows such as Ancient Aliens, to use the public fascination with alien speculations and conspiracy theories as a hook to share basic scientific principles and foster public interest in the cutting-edge research currently being practiced. Dennin has also appeared on a variety of TV specials such as The Science of Superman, Spiderman Tech, Star Wars Tech, Batman Tech, and a new show Man at Arms. Through each of these appearances, he uses the public fascination with extraordinary superpowers to discuss what real world physics and technology actually allows for and what sorts of conditions would be necessary to achieve the exceptional powers depicted in superhero comics and films. You can count on Michael Dennin to deliver solid science in these fun and fanciful scenarios.
One of his proudest accomplishments, Michael Dennin has created four Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCs) on topics ranging from Superheroes to the Walking Dead. Dennin actually refers to these courses as MOOCs, for Massive Open Online Outreach, since his chief mission with these courses is to provide high-quality scientific content to a wide range of audiences, in a fun and engaging manner.
In Dennin’s Emergent Phenomena course, he explores five topics in modern scientific research that demonstrate the basic idea of emergence. These topics include bubbles and foams, chaos theory, consciousness, biological pattern formation, and quantum computing. Throughout the course, there are embedded videos of Dennin at a local science center showing the abstract physical principles in action on the fun, public scientific demonstration equipment. He does a phenomenal job connecting cutting edge research with understandable, accessible ideas that even those with little to no scientific background can appreciate and learn from.
Michael Dennin;s passion for promoting general science engagement through a variety of television, YouTube, MOOC, book and public lectures, shows that he is much more than an innovative educational leader and an exemplary scientist, but a true pillar of the Irvine community.