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Star faculty

Rather than toot our own horn regarding the faculty in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, we will let the American Institute of Physics describe our team. Selected as a site visit for the 2012 Career Pathways Report, the physics department at UW-Eau Claire stood out for many reasons, especially the faculty.

"During the visit, it became clear that the department has carefully fostered a culture where students are the top priority — as evidenced by hiring decisions, curriculum revisions, and the amount of non-required contact hours that the faculty members spend with students. Faculty seem to invest themselves fully in all their students and value them equally, regardless of the student's potential or career plans."


The report went on to site things like faculty often eating lunch with students on campus, participating in volunteer opportunities with students and giving a tremendous amount of support to student research and advising. The department clearly becomes a family of people, all mutually invested in one another's success.

The physics and astronomy department is a top of the line department at UWEC. Students and professors can have conversations outside of the typical professor-student interactions.This type of relationship is something that I feel many departments on campus lack, and this is why the physics department is so unique.

Chris Hopp

The Power of AND: Matt Evans

Dr. Matt Even, professor of physics, describes how distance running and physics combine his two passions.

Going the distance for students
Scott Whitfield and student

'A professor who changed my life'

A UW-Eau Claire sophomore public relations major shares her first-person story about how a patient physics professor inspired and motivated her when she found herself struggling in her science class during her first semester as a college student.

Dr. Pierson's impact

Dr. Paul Thomas created Planet Walk for Eau Claire

Physics professor Dr. Paul Thomas created a walk through downtown Eau Claire that serves as a replica of the solar system.

What's a Planet Walk?
Lyle Ford
Education
  • Ph.D. University of California, San Diego
  • M.S. University of California, San Diego
  • B.S. University of Iowa
Teaching Interests
  • Research Interests: Observational Properties of Asteroids
  • Gravitational N-Body Simulations
Biography

I have also been involved in the study of gamma-ray bursts observed by the Burst and Transient Source Experiment. I spent most of my time on spectroscopy and worked in collaboration with teams at the Center for Astrophysics and Space Science at UCSD, Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, AL, and Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD.

Education
  • B.S., Beloit College (Physics)
  • M.S., University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Physics)
  • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Physics)
Teaching Interests
  • Physics 100: Physical Science
  • Physics 211: General Physics 1
  • Physics 212: General Physics 2
  • Physics 231: University Physics 1
  • Physics 232: University Physics 2
  • Physics 375: Electromagnetic Fields
  • Physics 430 Advanced Lab
  • Materials Science 355: Materials Characterization
  • Materials Science 338:Physics of the Solid State
  • Materials Science 310 Introduction to Nanoscience
Research Interests
  • Silicon Carbide Nanowire growth and characterization
  • Spectroscopic studies of Silicon Carbide- characterizing the surface of single crystal SiC by means of X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy
  • LEED
  • Photoemission extended X-ray Absorption Fine Structure and various other surface techniques
Matt Evans
Education
  • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (Physics)
  • M.S., University of Minnesota - Duluth (Physics)
  • B.S., University of Minnesota - Twin Cities (Physics)
Research Interests
  • Teaching with technology, including online homework and student response systems
Biography
  •  Using and Teaching with Self-Paced Polling, i>clicker Feature and Teacher Webinar, Apr 18 2013
  • Incorporating an IR Camera Into Your Science Classroom, Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers, Wausau, WI, March 14th, 2013
  • Teaching with Clickers in Small Classes, i>clicker Feature and Teacher Webinar February 13th, 2013
  • Using and Teaching with Self-Paced Polling, with Steven Harper-Ray, i>clicker Feature and Teacher Webinar, November 7, 2012
  • Emerging Technologies in Physics Education, Wisconsin Association of Physics Teachers, Platteville, WI October 27th, 2012
  • Using and Teaching with Self-Paced Polling with Steven Harper-Ray, i>clicker, Clickers 2012, Chicago, IL, October 26, 2012, Invited Talk
  • Confronting Misconceptions in Physics/Physical Science, Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers, Madison WI, March 8th, 2012
  • Introducing First Year Students to Research; The Recruitment and Retention of High Performing Students through the Blugold Fellowship, 31st Annual Conference on The First-Year Experience, San Antonio, TX, February 19th, 2012
  • Moving from Multiple Choice to Alphanumeric Clickers, American Association of Physics Teachers 2012, Ontario, CA, February 6th, 2012 Covered by a national science education blogger.
  • Writing Effective Science Clicker Questions, i>clicker Feature and Teacher Webinar, July 27th, 2011
  • The Evolution of Clickers (and a Teacher Who Uses Them) Clickers 2011, Houston, TX, June 2nd, 2011, Invited Talk
  • i>clicker2 Elevate your clicker questions, Clickers 2011 June 2nd, 2011 , Houston, TX. Invited Talk
  • Strategies for Successful Clicker Implementation and Growth, with Cindy Albert, UWEC, i>clicker Feature and Teacher Webinar, April 7, 2011
  • Learn Advanced Techniques for Teaching with Clickers, i>clicker Feature and Teacher Webinar, March 22, 2011
  • Using Comics to Promote Thinking in Science, with Gary Baier, Green Bay Preble High School, Green Bay, WI, Wisconsin Society of Science Teachers, Wisconsin Dells, WI, March 18th, 2011 The Physics Teacher -- February 2013 -- Volume 51, Issue 2, pp. 122
  • Best Practices, Tips and Tricks when Using Advanced Clicker Functionality, i>clicker Feature and Teacher Webinar, January 19th 2011
  • Fifteen Years of Service Learning at UWEC, American Association of Physics Teachers, Jacksonville, FL, January 10th, 2011. Invited Talk
  • Read a good textbook lately? A new way to get your students to come prepared for class, Wisconsin Association of Physics Teachers, River Falls, WI, October 29th, 2010


J. Erik Hendrickson
Education
  • Ph.D., Michigan State University (Condensed Matter Physics)
  • M.S., Michigan State University (Physics)
  • B.S., University of Wisconsin-River Falls (Physics)
Research Interests
  • Science Outreach
  • Science Education
  • Electromagnetic Waves
  • Optical & Electrical Properties of Thermally Evaporated Thin Films
Biography
  • Physics Education Academic Advisor
  • Departmental Scholarships
  • Society of Physics Students Faculty Advisor
  • Sigma Pi Sigma National Honor Society Faculty Advisor
  • UWEC Phase II Committee Member
  • UWEC Honors Council Member
  • College of Arts & Sciences Academic Retention Committee Member

My main interest is in the in-situ optical and electrical characterization of high vacuum vapor deposited thin films of alkali-metal-doped pseudo-buckyball compounds. One of the major questions in this field of solid state physics and physical chemistry is: How do the open channels in these compounds affect the conductivity (or the superconductivity)? Another question is: Do the optical absorbencies spectra of these compounds give a reliable indication of the relative conductivity of the samples? This research is attempting to answer such fundamental questions regarding these interesting compounds.

Turner Howard
Education
  • M.S., Georgia Institute of Technology (Mechanical Engineering)
  • B.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology (Mechanical Engineering)
Responsibilities
  • Teaching Lab Management
  • Lecture Demonstration Support
  • Observatory/Planetarium Support
  • Metal and Wood Shop Supervision
  • Research Support


Lauren Likkel
Education
  • Ph.D., University of California at Los Angeles (Astronomy)
  • M.S., University of California at Los Angeles (Astronomy)
  • B.S., Western Washington University (Physics)
Research Interests
  • Late Stellar Evolution
Biography
  • 1989-1990 Fellowship at Dominion Astrophysical Radio Observatory, Penticton, British Columbia
  • 1990-1993 Postdoctoral astronomy research position in millimeter interferometry, University of Illinois at Urbana, Astronomy Department
  • 1993-1996 Visiting Assistant Professor, Washington State University, Program in Astronomy
  • 1996 Joined UW-EC Physics and Astronomy Department; promoted to full professor in 2006.
  • Likkel, Lauren "Calibrated Peer Review™ Essays Increase Student Confidence in Assessing Their Own Writing."Journal of College Science Teaching Vol. 41:3, p. 42 (2012).
  • Likkel, Lauren, Dinerstein, Harriet, Lester, Daniel, *Kindt, Anna, *Bartig, Kevin, Astronomical Journal 131, 1515, March 2006. (* = UW-Eau Claire Student) "A Spectrophotometric Survey of near-infrared K-band Emission lines in Planetary Nebulae".


Sachiko McBride
Education
  • B.S., Syracuse University (Physics)
  • Ph.D., Kansas State University (Physics)
Research Interests
  • Experimental High Energy Physics (CMS Experiment)
Nathan Andrew Miller
Education
  • Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison (Astronomy)
  • M.S., University of Wisconsin-Madison (Astronomy)
  • B.A., Gustavus Adolphus College (Physics)
Research Interests
  • X-ray stellar astrophysics
  • Stellar winds of massive stars
Biography
  • Doctoral Thesis: "Understanding the High-Resolution X-Ray Spectra of Early Type Stars" ( postscript, gzipped ps , pdf ) PASP summary
  • XMM-Newton observations of beta Centauri (B1 III): The temperature structure in the hot plasma and the photosphere-wind connection
  • High-Resolution X-Ray Spectra of the Brightest OB Stars in the Cygnus OB2 Association (with UWEC student Justin Reiter)
  • High-resolution XMM-Newton X-ray spectra of tau SCORPII
  • High-Resolution Chandra Spectroscopy of tau Scorpii: A Narrow-Line X-Ray Spectrum from a Hot Star
  • High-resolution X-ray spectroscopy of tau Scorpii (B0.2V) with XMM-Newton
  • Metallicities of Old Open Clusters
  • A Magnetically-Torqued Model for Be Star Disks ( A press release describing our results ) ( Another version. )
  • New Challenges for Wind Shock Models: The Chandra Spectrum of the Hot Star Delta Ori
  • The review article: "Recent Progress in Understanding the X-ray Sources in Hot Star Winds" for the meeting "Stellar Coronae in the Chandra and XMM-Newton Era" (pdf, gzipped postscript)
  • The meeting "Two years of Science with Chandra" (Wash. D.C., Sept. 5-7) ( page-sized gzipped ps poster )
  • The St. Paul Chandra meeting (July 2001): A comparison of the X-ray spectra of Delta Ori and Zeta Pup, The full Proceedings article,The full-size poster, A page-sized poster
  • Chandra Detection of Doppler-shifted X-Ray Line Profiles from the Wind of zeta Puppis (O4 F)
  • The Effects of Magnetic Fields on the Winds of Hot Stars, from Variable and Non-spherical Stellar Winds in Luminous Hot Stars, IAU Colloquium No. 169, B. Wolf, O. Stahl, and A. W. Fullerton, eds.
Kim W. Pierson
Education
  • Ph.D., University of Delaware (Physics)
  • M.S., University of Delaware (Physics)
  • B.S., Eastern Illinois University (Physics)
Certification
  •  Certified LabVIEW Associate Developer
Teaching Interests
  • Research Interests Renewable Energy
  • Electronics
  • Computer Interfacing
  • Robotics
Biography

My research interests are classed under the broad topic of surface science. They involve both fundamental research and the development of applied technologies. All of the projects involve undergraduate student collaborators.

At present I am involved in two projects.


One project has been funded by the "Materials Research Society". It involves determining the conditions under which long finger-like structures form on the surface of Ag/Cu alloys during ion bombardment. Our results are important to those involved in surface characterization of alloys.


The other project involves large aspect ratio interconnect metallization. In this project we are taking advantage of the unique properties of our ion source. The goal is to develop a sputtering technique to fill the deep trenches used as interconnects between devices on integrated circuits.


We are also processing Transmission Electron Microscopy samples for a local semiconductor company.


Students are involved in these projects at all levels of sophistication and receive course credits or hourly pay for their work. In addition, during the last few years we have presented our work at the National Conference on Undergraduate Research, local and national meetings of the American Vacuum Society, American Physical Society March Meeting, other midwest university conferences and the annual UWEC Student Research Day.

Jim Rybicki
Education
  • Ph.D University of Iowa (Physics)
  • M.A University of Iowa (Physics)
  • B.A. Illinois Wesleyan University (Physics English double major)
Research Interests
  •  Organic Electronics
Biography
  • Physics Thursday Colloquium coordinator
  • Department Librarian
Education
  • Ph.D., Cornell Univeristy (Physics)
  • M.S., Cornell Univeristy (Physics)
  • B.S., California Institute of Technology (Physics)
Research Interests
  • Photometry of asteroids.
Biography
  • George Stecher, Lyle Ford, Natalie Bianchi, Brian D. Warner, and Larry Robinson. "On the Period of 1607 Xosa." Minor Planet Bulletin 36 (2009): 138–139.
  • Lyle Ford, George Stecher, Kayla Lorenzen, and Cole Cooke. "Photometric Measurements of 343 Ostara and Other Asteroids at Hobbs Observatory." Minor Planet Bulletin 36 (2009): 77.
  • N. Montigiani, W. Benedetti, M. Manucci, S. Riccetti, George Stecher, Lyle Ford, Kayla Lorenzen, and Sarah Ulrich. "The Period of 2167 Erin."Minor Planet Bulletin 35 (2008): 107–108.
  • George Stecher, Lyle Ford, Kayla Lorenzen, and Sarah Ulrich. "Photometric Measurements of 1084 Tamariwa at Hobbs Observatory." Minor Planet Bulletin 35 (2008): 76–77.
  • Lyle Ford, George Stecher, Theodore Jaeger, Paul Martin, and William Smethells. "Determination of the Rotational Period of Asteroid 367 Amicitia Using Differential Photometry." IAPPP Communication 85 (2001): 35–43.
  • George J. Stecher, Lyle A. Ford, and James D. Elbert. "Equipping a 0.6 Meter Alt-Azimuth Telescope for Photometry." IAPPP Communication 76 (1999): 68–74.
  • Yue Hu, G. J. Stecher, T. J. Gramila, and R. C. Richardson. "Magnetic Coupling in Thermal-Boundary Resistance between Thin Silver Films and Liquid 3He in the Millikelvin Regime." Physical Review B 54 (1996): R9639–R9642.
  • G. J. Stecher, Yue Hu, T. J. Gramila, and R. C. Richardson. "Kapitza Resistance Measurement Using Glass Capacitors." Journal of Low Temperature Physics 101 (1995): 599–604.
  • G. J. Stecher, Y. Hu, T. J. Gramila, and R. C. Richardson. "Kapitza Resistance between Silver and 3He at Millikelvin Temperatures." Physica B 165&166 (1990): 525–526.
Paul Thomas
Education
  • Ph.D., Monash University, Australia (Mathematics)
  • B.Sc. (Hons), Wollongong University, Australia (Physics)
Research Interests
  • Numerical simulations of problems in planetary science
  • Numerical simulations of impacts of asteroids and comets on planetary surfaces
  • Numerical simulations of thermal and structural evolution of outer planet satellites
Scott Whitfield
Education
  • Ph.D., University of Oregon (Physics)
  • M.A., University of Oregon (Physics)
  • B.A., University of Colorado (Physics and Russian)
Research Interests
  • Experimental atomic physics
  • Physical acoustics
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