Lecturer John Barrick shakes the classroom

Ryan Knight

John Barrick, full-time lecturer for the department of physics, teaches his Seven Ideas that Shook the Universe class about the doppler effect Nov. 18 in Smith Hall.

Credit: Jason Hall

The university and seven ideas have been shaken up by one of the most popular and recognized instructors on campus.

John Barrick, a full-time lecturer for the department of physics, has taught Seven Ideas That Shook the Universe since 1990 at the university.

He began his career at Kent State in 1986 as an associate professor of military science. Before that he was strength management officer for the 83rd Army Reserve stationed in Columbus.

Although Seven Ideas is not the only class that Barrick lectures now, it is one of his most fascinating.

Seven Ideas is more popular with the students because they can relate it to their lives, which makes it enjoyable to teach, Barrick said.

“I love the positive response I get from my students,” Barrick said. “It makes me happy and makes me want to continue with what I am doing.”

Barrick often finds different ways to loosen up his students, to make them feel at ease and release tension in the class.

He plays music before lectures because it helps him relax and it makes students feel more comfortable, Barrick said.

“I used to play the keyboard, and I know how relaxing that can be,” Barrick said. “I play all types of music in my classes because I know that students can relate to it, and it helps me get in the mood for teaching.”

He also makes it a habit to go around on the second day of class and sit down with students and get to know them better.

Physics professor Tom Emmons said Barrick uses different techniques and really knows how to get the most out of his students.

“Barrick is very energetic,” Emmons said. “He keeps his students interested with his dynamic personality and his class demonstrations.”

Emmons began teaching Seven Ideas in 1980 and was joined by Barrick in 1990.

Barrick said he has learned everything he knows about lecturing in Seven Ideas from Emmons.

Emmons designed the curriculum and made it practical, which gives students the comfort of knowing what to expect, Barrick said.

Emmons said the course is really an instruction book explaining how the physical universe works.

“If we are going to spend 80 years in the universe we should know the rules by which it operates,” Emmons said.

Barrick and Emmons have been teaching together for 15 years in the department of physics.

Barrick received Emeritus status when he retired four years ago, though he is able to stay with the university as a full-time instructor.

He said he would like to continue lecturing full time for a few more years and then cut back to part-time eventually so he can enjoy some of his hobbies more.

Barrick would love to travel more in the future, spend time exercising and doing the things he does not get the chance to enjoy now.

Barrick describes himself as a person who loves experiencing life and is willing to try almost anything at least once.

Contact College of Arts and Sciences reporter Ryan Knight at [email protected].