color photo of George GreensteinGeorge Greenstein

Astrophysicist / Educator / Writer

Sidney Dillon Professor of Astronomy Emeritus at Amherst College




Inquiry Teaching of Science



Seminar teaching can be a useful alternative to the traditional lecture method. These two courses operate entirely using the inquiry method. Both are concerned with the Dark Matter mystery.


A course for non-science majors.

A first course for science majors.




Recent Writings on the Inquiry Teaching of Science



image of cover


“Understanding the Universe: An Inquiry Approach to Astronomy and the Nature of Scientific Research”


An introductory though challenging textbook aimed at non-science college students, emphasizing inquiry learning, critical analysis and the nature of science.


Click here


A review in Physics Today: here


Why I Wrote the Book That Way

“It is not at all true that scientists go after truth. It goes after them.”
-- Soren Kierkegaard

Our textbooks should treat the student as a mature thinker, capable of actively participating in the process of discovery as opposed to merely witnessing it. How many textbooks actually do this? In this article I survey texts from a wide variety of disciplines.


Read the article



“Writing is Thinking: Using Writing to Teach Science”

I discuss a pedagogical strategy in which we ask students to write about science. Such writing is to be done regularly and often, in class and out of class, in the format of brief “letters to a friend” and longer essays. The goal of this technique is not to teach students how to write; it is to use their writing to help them learn the science. Such exercises can be helpful even if the instructor never reads the students’ compositions.

Read the article





Collision with an asteroid?          asteroid vesta


You may be interested in a video of a talk I gave about the threat (6 parts).




                        Interesting Problems for Astro 101 & 102


Great astronomical images


Recent Books

I have written extensively on science, both for the general public and more technical works. Two recent books are

The Quantum Challenge: Modern Research on the Foundations of Quantum Mechanics

Portraits of Discovery


You may be interested in my Photography web site




Software has been developed to simulate various astronomical phenomena: click here