Marcos D. "Danny" Caballero

Danny Caballero

Assistant Professor
Physics Education
Biomedical-Physical Sciences Bldg.
567 Wilson Rd., Room 1310A
(517) 884-5657


2011: Ph.D. Physics, Georgia Institute of Technology
2007: M.S. Physics, Georgia Institute of Technology
2004: B.S. Physics, University of Texas at Austin

Selected Publications

The Colorado Upper-Division Electrostatics (CUE) diagnostic: A conceptual assessment for the junior level, S.V. Chasteen, R.E. Pepper, M.D. Caballero, S.J. Pollock, and K.K. Perkins, Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 8, 020108, 2012, Open access:

Implementing and assessing computational modeling in introductory mechanics, M.D. Caballero, M.A. Kohlmyer, and M.F. Schatz, Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 8, 020106, 2012, Open access:

Comparing large lecture mechanics curricula using the Force Concept Inventory: A five thousand student study, M.D. Caballero, M.A. Kohlmyer, M.F. Schatz, et al., Am. J. Phys., 80, 7, 2012, Open access:

A Tale of Two Curricula: Performance of two thousand students in introductory electromagnetism, M.A. Kohlmyer, M.D. Caballero, M.F. Schatz, et al., Phys. Rev. ST Phys. Educ. Res. 5, 020105, 2009, Open access:

Placing the Deep Impact Mission into Context: Two Decades of Observations of 9P/Tempel 1 from McDonald Observatory, A.L. Cochran, E.S. Barker, M.D. Caballero, and J. Gyorgey-Ries, Icarus 199 (119), 2009, Open access:

Professional Activities & Interests / Biographical Information

Danny Caballero is a physics education researcher who studies how tools affect student learning in physics, and the conditions and environments that support or inhibit this learning.

Danny earned his B.S. in physics from the University of Texas at Austin in 2004. He worked on opto-microfluidics transport and control experiments at the Georgia Institute of Technology where he earned his M.S. in physics before shifting his research focus to physics education. Danny helped found the Georgia Tech Physics Education Research group in 2007 and earned the first PER-focused Ph.D. from Georgia Tech in 2011 working on computational modeling instruction and practice. He moved to the University of Colorado Boulder as a postdoctoral researcher where he helped transform upper-division physics courses to more active learning environments.

Danny conducts research from the high school to the upper-division and is particularly interested in how students learn physics through their use of tools such as mathematics, computing, and language. His work employs cognitive and sociocultural theories of learning and aims to blend these perspectives to enhance physics instruction at all levels. Danny's projects range from the fine-grained (e.g., how students engage with particular mathematical tools) to the course-scale (e.g., how students learn the tools of classical mechanics) to the very broad (e.g., how do students in a massively open on-line course act like scientists?).

While co-directing the Physics Education Research Lab at MSU, he continues to collaborate with physics education groups at Georgia Tech and Colorado on a number of these and other projects.