Physics Alive

Physics Alive is the podcast where host, Brad Moser, Ph.D., sparks new life into the physics classroom. Each episode supports and shares the many forward-thinking developments that have come from physics education research and inspiring educators. Brad speaks with teachers who employ innovative and active learning styles, researchers on the frontiers of physics education, catalysts for change on important social issues in the STEM community, and students who want the most out of their education.


episode 10: Sector Vector with James O'Brien

Board games in the classroom? Absolutely! In this episode I talk with Interim Dean and Associate Professor James O’Brien, co-founder of 4th Law Labs, a company dedicated to making education more accessible and more enjoyable.  We discuss the games Sector Vector and Resistile, gamification of education, and an innovative collaboration that brought physics and industrial design students together.

  • For full episode notes, go to
  • See Brad play the Physics Alive theme on his handpan
  • Or watch the unboxing of Sector Vector
  Episode Notes and Resources

Sector Vector is for sale now. Enter coupon code: Vect0r (note: zero instead of o)


Conference papers:

  • Teaching Vectors To Engineering Students Through an Interactive Vector Based Game

  • Resistance is Futile: A new collaborative laboratory game based lab to teach basic circuit concepts

  • It’s All Fun and Games until Somebody Learns


Where to find more info:

  • The Web:
  • Instagram: 4thlawlabs
  Today's Guest: James O'Brien


James O’Brien is the Interim Dean of the School of Arts and Sciences and an Associate Professor of Physics and Mathematics at Springfield College in Western Massachusetts. He graduated with a Ph.D. in Physics from the University of Connecticut in 2010, and his research focuses on theoretical and computational astrophysics, cosmology, and gravity. He serves as the Vice President of the International Association of Relativistic Dynamics. His passion for teaching has lead him to pursue educational pedagogies through gamification of education. He’s a member of the company 4th Law Labs and helped to design Sector Vector and Resistile, two competitive tabletop games, which engage students in an exciting atmosphere to help facilitate learning of essential physics concepts.



 2020-12-14  42m