Titles: Associate Professor of Physics and Institutional Research & Assessment Coordinator
Degrees: Ph.D., Cornell University;
M.S., Cornell University;
B.A., Williams College
"It is very stimulating to work here. The small class size and intimacy mean you to get to know people in a very close way. You experience many moving moments."
About Phat Vu
Areas of Interest
"I’m mainly interested in the mathematical foundations of quantum mechanics specifically and the mind-body problem generally and also in how neuroscience and cognitive studies can bridge the sciences and humanities."
“I came to Soka because I saw the opportunity to create courses that were meaningful for me to give, and for students to take…meaningful, because the students and I are developing not just a particular interest but also other aspects of who we are as individuals and as a collective. I always feel like I am growing rather than at a job where I am repeating the same thing over and over.”
Focusing on People
“I don’t notice differences as much as commonalities. Our students represent many different cultures, but that quickly disappears for me. The commonality of being human and having strengths and weaknesses and fears and yearnings, that’s what I notice. What I really focus on is who they are as people and what they need.”
Enduring Questions of Humanity
“Today, we have an explosion of knowledge, but we haven’t made much progress on the enduring questions of humanity. To do that you need an integrated perspective. You can’t just simply use only economics, or physics or politics to answer the question. All the human endeavors can contribute to a greater understanding of these questions. More integration is needed to make specialized knowledge more useful, more relevant. We need to piece together the knowledge that we already have so that it won’t get lost and neglected in a blizzard of seemingly disparate facts.”
Developing Critical Thinking
“At the beginning of the class, I explain that I will be their ‘enemy.’ No matter what position they take, I will take the opposite side. If they switch, I will switch too. I am trying to get them to think critically and defend their beliefs. That attitude does not allow them to lean on me for what to believe but does allow them to learn how to establish their own positions using evidence and reasoning.”