Class Act: Physics teacher Hans Infante


Eric Hang

Hans Infante joined the physics department this year.

Abigail Poag and Roosh Bhosale

Coming from a family of seven in Colombia, physics teacher Hans Infante always knew he had to distinguish himself.

“I was sandwiched in the middle,” Infante said. “I was very focused on studying. The oldest and the youngest always get all the perks, so I knew I had to do something.”

Infante’s family worked in the construction business and he often helped out. Although he enjoyed working with his hands, he never felt a job in construction was the right fit. Instead, Infante dreamt of becoming a physicist.

“I went to my father and I told him ‘I don’t want to be a construction worker. I want to be a physicist.’ He looked at me like I was crazy. I switched my focus at that point from construction to physics,” Infante said.

By the time Infante had enough money to attend the National University of Colombia, he was twenty-two, five years older than his classmates. While in college, Infante started teaching calculus and linear algebra.

After his wife got a job in Houston, Infante decided to earn his PhD from the University of Houston, despite knowing no English.

“I could not even say ‘Hi, my name is Hans’,” Infante said. “The actual English is easy because there are not too many rules, but there are so many exceptions that it took time to learn all of them.”

After receiving his PhD, Infante’s first job teaching high school was at CEP, a Houston disciplinary school for students who have been expelled from HISD schools. CEP is often a student’s last chance before prison.

“Some people dismiss them like they are not good, but I believe they have value.” Infante said. “Life is very complicated, and it is very difficult for them. They are not bad kids.”

No matter where Infante teaches, his students feel that his passion for physics is evident.

“He’s always positive and encourages us to work together to solve a problem so that we can learn from each other,” junior David Seo said. “He wants us to succeed, and it motivates us to work harder”.

According to physics teacher Nolan Harris, Infante fits in well with the physics department.

“We all like to work. We like to think about education and how to teach physics. He’s the same way,” Harris said.

The same tenacity that allowed Infante to leave his family’s business drew him to studies that required hard work.

“I was much better in chemistry than physics,” Infante said. “Physics was a struggle. That’s the reason I ended up studying physics. I liked the challenge.”

Infante looks forward to meeting new students and joining the new community. In class, he wants to make physics more interactive and fun.

“Everything in physics is like a game, something that you can play with,” Infante said. “That makes everything more interesting.”