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featured faculty Physics
Whitfield Prof. Physics
Whitfield-Prof-Physics

What classes/topics do you teach?

Physical Science, Science of Music, Quantum Mechanics, Quantum Physics, Introductory Physics Courses

What kind of research do you do?

My focus is on quantum mechanical interactions between light and matter.  I look at what happens when soft x-rays interact with atoms, and what the behavior of electrons are when x-rays are absorbed by the atom. Learn more...

Do you get to do anything fun or special in your work?  Travel? Lab Work?

I use the Synchrotron Radiation Center Lab near Madison for my lab work, using equipment that allows me to do my research.  I also travel to international conferences presenting and learning from people all over the world.


Why should a student study physics at UW- Eau Claire?

The interaction between students and faculty at the undergraduate level is great and allows our student to do high end research which is important in any field in science. You get the opportunity to work in an experimental atmosphere and learn in a new way, one in which you don’t always get in the classroom alone.


What is your favorite part of your job?

I love that I get to learn new things every week by working with students and my peers in the physics department.

What is your favorite course to teach? Why?

Currently my favorite class to teach is the Science of Music, It is a general education course, so the students come from different majors.  I think it is interesting to teach about how much physics is involved in musical instruments.  I find that it adds insight into playing instruments for musicians.


"I think it is amazing how much of the world you can understand by knowing physics. I find it astounding when you can learn and see that though things often seem very chaotic, physics proves that is not the case."


What do you hope your students are getting from your courses?

I hope my students are able to gain an appreciation for science and how important and accessible science is to everybody as well as the impact science has on important decisions made every day. I also hope students, especially in my intro level courses have a basic understanding of physics, while also enjoying the class! 


Best advice for students?

Plan ahead and look at what you want to do and stick to it.  Be willing to work at it and put in the time to do your best.

Favorite place to travel for fun?

I love the areas in the Lake Superior region, the North Shore of Minnesota and Madeline Island!


Unique hobbies/interests?

I am an amateur classical guitarist. I also enjoy being outdoors, hiking, camping and in the winter I enjoy telemark skiing.


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