Rand Worland

Rand Worland

Professor, Physics and Director, Dual-Degree Engineering


I enjoy teaching a wide variety of physics courses within the physics major, at both the introductory and upper levels, as well as courses for non-science majors. I particularly like integrating lab experiments and lecture demonstrations with lecture material and interactive problem solving sessions. Recent courses taught include General University Physics, College Physics, Modern Physics, Electromagnetic Theory, Experimental Physics, and Physics of Music.

Research in Musical Acoustics

My lab is devoted to experimental research in the field of musical acoustics. I specialize in the use of optical techniques to study the vibrations of musical instruments, with an emphasis on instruments of the percussion family. Recent research projects have involved the physics of drums, crotales, cymbals, vibraphone bars, and the musical saw.

Student Research

I frequently supervise undergraduate students engaged in research projects involving musical acoustics. Student research typically includes the use of optical interferometry in the lab, along with numerical modeling using finite element analysis software. Students present the results of their summer research projects on campus each fall, and often at regional and national conferences as well.

Physics Pedagogy

I am active in the physics education community, participating in American Association of Physics Teachers conferences as well as "education in acoustics" sessions of the ASA. I enjoy developing and presenting new ideas for lab experiments, demonstrations, and classroom teaching methods.


BA University of California, Los Angeles 1977
PhD University of California Santa Barbara 1982
MA University of California Santa Barbara 1984
General University Physics PHYS 122-A Spring 2024
Modern Physics II PHYS 222-A Spring 2024
General University Physics PHYS 121-A Fall 2024
Modern Physics I PHYS 221-A Fall 2024

Contact Information

Thompson 154