Personal website of Simon Birrer

Teaching and Mentoring

I consider teaching and mentoring students as an integral part of being a scientist. Since the beginning of my undergraduate studies, I actively taught and mentored students, ranging from senior high school to advanced PhD students.

Teaching

As a PhD student at ETH Zurich I had the opportunity to contribute to the teaching efforts at ETH Zurich. During my bachelor and masters degree, I got employed by the Department of Mathematics at ETH as a teaching assistant for undergraduate mathematics courses. Throughout my studies and my PhD at ETH, I coached high school students to prepare them for physics competitions, and, more importantly to me, enlighten the passion for STEM sciences to the younger generation. More recently as a PostDoc, I provide online interactive course material, as additional resources targeted for undergraduates and starting graduate students, to gain access to the field of gravitational lensing and the use of open-source software.

  • Interactive online gravitational lecture notes: Interactive open-source lectures in the form of Jupyter notebooks hosted online making use of the software lenstronomy.
  • Mexican AstroCosmo Statistics School 2021: Three-part summer school lecture on strong gravitational lensing with exercises.
  • Advanced Physics Lab: Advanced bachelor level lab course. I was responsible for the student telescope operations and mentored students. I got awarded the Physics Lab Award for experimental and teaching innovation.
  • Astrophysics I: 3rd year undergraduate course. Teaching assistant, taught weekly exercise classes, ETH Zurich
  • Physics I: first year undergraduate course (Physics & Maths students). Teaching assistant, taught weekly exercise classes.
  • Analysis II: first year undergraduate course (Physics & Maths students). Teaching assistant, taught weekly exercise classes.
  • Swiss Physics Olympiads: Swiss Physics Olympiads: Coaching high school students. Lectures and exercises to prepare students for the International Physics Olympiad.

Mentoring students

During my PhD at ETH Zurich I had the chance to mentor and work with Bachelor's and Master's students. At UCLA and currently at Stanford I am involved in the mentoring of PhD and undergraduate students. In addition, I collaborate with several PhD students around the globe on projects they are thriving.

  • Ethan Nadler, 2020 - 2021, PhD thesis, Stanford (joint publications)
  • Elise Darragh-Ford, 2020 - present, PhD thesis, Stanford
  • Madison Cate Ueland, 2020, 2021 undergraduate summer student, Stanford (joint publications)
  • Sebastian Wagner-Carena, 2019 - present, PhD thesis, Stanford (joint publications)
  • Ji Won Park, 2019 - present, PhD thesis, Stanford (joint publications)
  • Thomas Schmidt, 2019 - present, PhD thesis, UCLA (joint publications)
  • Lilan Yang, 2018 - 2021, PhD thesis, UCLA (joint publications)
  • Eden Molina, Fall 2018, Undergraduate project, UCLA (joint publications)
  • Daniel Gilman, 2017 - 2020, PhD thesis, UCLA (joint publications)
  • Anowar Shajib, 2017 - 2020, PhD thesis, UCLA (joint publications)
  • Felix A. Kuhn, Fall 2016, Semester and Master's thesis, ETHZ (joint publications)
  • Florian Lienhard, Spring 2016, Semester thesis, ETHZ
  • Felix Mayor, Spring 2016, Semester thesis, ETHZ
  • Cyril Welschen, Fall 2015 - Spring 2016, Master thesis, ETHZ
  • Kevin Fusshoeller, Spring 2015, Semester thesis, ETHZ
  • Janik Andrejkovic, Spring 2014, Semester thesis, ETHZ