About Paul Doherty

I am a physicist, teacher, author, and rock climber.

After graduating summa cum laude from from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT class of 1970, physics) I earned my Ph.D. in solid-state physics from MIT in 1974.

As a tenured professor of physics at Oakland University, 1974 through 1986, I taught a wide range of science courses, including physics, astronomy, geology, electronics, computer programming, and meteorology.

In 1986, I came to the Exploratorium Teacher Institute and began my exhibit-based explorations in science. I became the co-director of the Teacher Institute in 1990 and the founding director of the Center for Teaching and Learning in 1992. Since 1997 I have been a senior staff scientist at the Exploratorium. I am also a visiting scientist at Tom Tits Experiment in Sweden and an adjunct professor of physics at San Francisco State University. In 1999 I received the "Administrator of the Year" award from the California Science Education Advisory Council for my work directing teaching programs at the Exploratorium. In 2002 I was awarded the Distinguished Teacher Award by the American Association of Physics teachers, Northern California Section. In 2003 I was given the NSTA's Faraday Award for excellence as a science communicator.

As an author, I have written over three dozen articles for Exploring magazine. For the Exploratorium Press I have have co-authored the Exploratorium Science Snackbook, and the book Square Wheels with Don Rathjen. For Klutz Press I have co-written the Explorabook which has sold over a million copies, and also the Book of Magnetic Magic, the Zap book, and Glove Compartment Science. For Chronicle Press with Pat Murphy I have written: The Color of Nature and Traces of Time. I am a regular science columnist for the Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction. Recently I wrote three articles for Muse magazine: one on Color with Pat Murphy, one on singing corrugated pipes, and one on great adventure books.

For musical entertainment, I play the whirly--a corrugated plastic tube. In pursuit of whirly excellence, I have won several competitions, including an award as "Best Science Demonstrator" at the World Congress of Museums in Helsinki in 1996. I recently had fun performing physics activities on Late Night with David Letterman.

I am about to finish my second decade as a rock climber, and have just completed my second vertical marathon - 26 miles of rock climbing. In 1994, I led a successful ascent of my personal best climb: the East Buttress of El Capitan. In December of 2000 I was part of a 4 man team that made the first ascent of 20,100 foot high Sierra Nevada de Lagunas Bravas on the Chile-Argentina border.

In 2001/2002 I was part of a team of artists and writers from the Exploratorium that did two months of live webcasts from Antarctica. I did webcasts from the summit of Mt. Erebus and from the Dry Valleys, and submitted over two dozen webpages from the field.

I am proud to have created this web site with over 600 pages describing science explorations and outdoor adventures.

Paul's Homepage

Paul Doherty in Black and White

Paul Doherty 2005 by Modesto Tamez
Click on image for a much larger version.
Image by Modesto Tamez.

More images of Paul Doherty teaching

Paul Doherty teaches about eclipses at the Tongabezi School in Zambia.