Roberto Salgado profile photo

Roberto Salgado

Specialty area(s)

Theoretical Relativity [relativistic physics, spacetime structure, relativistic pedagogy],
Applied Mathematics, Physics Pedagogy, Computational Physics and Scienfific Visualization

Current courses at UWL

PHY 103 lab - Fundamental Physics I lab [section 14,15]
PHY 125 lecture - Physics for Life Sciences
PHY 125 lab - Physics for Life Sciences lab [4 sections: 10,11,12,13]
PHY 498 - Independent Study [with first-year student doing relativity research]


Ph.D., Physics, Syracuse University, Syracuse, NY

M.S., Physics, University of Chicago, Chicago IL

B.S. cum laude, Mathematics and Physics, SUNY Stony Brook, Stony Brook, NY

[I started as an engineering major at The Cooper Union, New York, NY before switching to Math and Physics at Stony Brook.]

Teaching history

At UW-La Crosse:
PHY 103, PHY 103lab, PHY 104lab, PHY125, PHY 125lab - Fundamental Physics, Physics for Life Sciences
PHY 374lab, 474lab - Computational Physics
PHY 376, PHY376lab - Introduction to Nuclear Science
PHY 453 - Topics in Physics and Astronomy: Special and General Relativity
PHY 498 - Research [with student] "Relativistic Electrodynamics", "Spacetime Diagrams for Special Relativity","Differential Forms in Relativistic Electrodynamics"

[intro] Algebra-based introductory physics, Physical Science, Twentieth-Century Physics, Astronomy lab, Relativity (for nonmajors)
Calculus-based introductory physics, Optics and Modern Physics

[pre-engineering] Engineering Mechanics, Mechanics of Materials, Electric Circuits, Engineering Graphics

[intermediate] Mechanics, Electrodynamics, Quantum Mechanics, Statistical Mechanics, Mathematical Methods, and Computational Physics/Numerical Methods (C++, Python, VPython)

[special topics] Computational Physics (Python), Relativity

[independent study courses for students]: Relativity, Robotics

--details in my past syllabi

Professional history

(2013 – Present) Lecturer
University of Wisconsin-La Crosse (Physics), La Crosse, WI

(2012-2013) Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics
Lawrence University (Physics), Appleton, WI

(2010-2012) Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics
Bowdoin College (Physics), Brunswick ME

(2008–2010) Visiting Assistant Professor and Mount Holyoke Fellow
Mount Holyoke College (Physics), South Hadley, MA

      (2008) Ph.D. Physics, Syracuse U:
      "Toward a quantum dynamics for causal sets", (preview at Google books)

(Spr 2006 - Fall 2007) Senior Part-Time Instructor of Physics
Syracuse University (Physics), Syracuse, NY

(2002-2005*Katrina) Assistant Professor of Physics
Dillard University (Physics), New Orleans, LA

(2001-2002) Research Scientist
SUNY Upstate Medical (Radiology/Radiation Physics), Syracuse NY

(1999-2001) Postdoctoral Teaching/Visiting Assistant Professor of Physics
Truman State University (Physics), Kirksville, MO

Research and publishing

in progress: 
"Comparing Alternate Approaches to Spacetime Diagrams",
with Tobias Nelson [UWL’17, now in a Ph.D. physics program at Montana State U].

"Relativity on Rotated Graph Paper"
(Am. J. Phy., 84, 344 (2016) -,
part of the theme issue: "Relativity and Gravitation-Contemporary Research and Teaching of Einstein's Physics"
(a 2011 draft is available at ).

(doctoral dissertation, 2008) "Toward a quantum dynamics for causal sets",
Syracuse University, Physics (preview at Google books)

(invited) “Visualizing Proper Time in Special Relativity.”
(Physics Teacher (Indian Physical Society), v46 (4), (October-December 2004), 132-143),
available at

“Some Identities for the Quantum Measure and its Generalizations.”
(Mod. Phys. Lett. A, Vol. 17, No. 12 (2002) 711-728 - )
available at

selected posters and projects
[ongoing large-scale projects with many opportunities for student-projects]:

"VPython applications for Teaching Physics" (2001-present)
Rob Salgado's GeoGebra pages  (2016-present)

(2016) A "Spacetime Trigonometry" approach to Relativity (Gordon Research Conference - Physics Research and Education, Newport RI)
(2015) Spacetime Trigonometry: a Cayley-Klein geometry approach to Special and General Relativity (General Relativity and Gravitation: A Centennial Perspective - Penn State U.)
(2006) Spacetime Trigonometry"  from the AAPT Topical Workshop "Teaching General Relativity to Undergraduates"

(2016) Visualizing the Electromagnetic Field with Differential Forms (AAPT 2016 Summer Meeting - Sacramento CA)
(2013) Visualizing Differential Forms in Thermodynamics (AAPT 2013 Summer Meeting - Portland OR)
(2007) "Visualizing Tensors" from the AAPT Topical Conference: Computational Physics for Upper Level Courses

(1995, 1997, 2005,2015) "The Light Cone: an illuminating introduction to relativity"
(2001, 2015) Visualizing Proper Time in Special Relativity [with a Light Clock]

(search for my poster and talk abstracts for AAPT national meetings)