Department Contact Information

Physics Department

Location: 180-204
Phone: (805) 619-5106
Fax: (805) 756-2435
Chair: Karl Saunders

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Website Update

Greetings from Department Chair Bob Echols 2017

Hello friends of the Physics Department and welcome again to our annual newsletter. I hope everyone is doing well.

Our student numbers remain strong. Forty-eight new physics majors joined our program this fall, and we graduated 29 students — 19 B.S. and 10 B.A., including two double majors — during the 2016-17 academic year.

We would not be able to provide the high quality education we’re known for without our dedicated staff and faculty. We have two new front office staff, Emily Orlando and Mikele Hushing-Kline. Yes, sadly this means that Jenny Cruz and Shirley Huston have left. Jenny is now program coordinator for the Center for Engineering, Science and Mathematics Education (CESAME). Shirley retired last summer and is living in South Africa, enjoying friends and family. We miss them both very much.

Yes, it is also true that David Arndt has retired after 33 years! Somehow we are managing without him, and he is sorely missed. Kevin Coulombe has joined the department as our newest instructional support technician. If you didn’t already know, Kevin is a Cal Poly physics alumnus, and if you are wondering, he is related to the Coulomb of Coulomb’s Law (a slight change of spelling with passing time).

We are grateful to have one new tenure-track faculty member joining us this year, Elizabeth Jeffery. In addition, we are pleased to have four new full-time lecturers: Irene Humer, Oleg Kogan, Graham Krahn, and Krithika Venkataramani. These new additions bring our total full-time faculty count to 50.

I'd also like to congratulate Professor Emeritus Randy Knight on being named an American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) Fellow for making exceptional contributions to enhancing the understanding and appreciation of physics through teaching. Randy also received an AAPT Reviewer Excellence Award for his work for the American Journal of Physics. 

As I have said before, many aspects of the Cal Poly Physics Department make us special, but undergraduate research certainly stands out. I hope you will enjoy reading about some of our student research experiences in this newsletter. Last summer we had 43 students working with 19 faculty members funded by the Frost undergraduate research program. Another 12 students conducted research with faculty thanks to funding from research grants.

A big thank you to all of our department donors. Your contributions help us continue to provide a truly Learn by Doing education to today’s physics students.

Please keep in touch,

Dr. Bob (Echols)

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