Department News

Open Position: Instructor for Algebra-Based Physics (Part Time)

Posted April 28, 2016 by Physics


The Physics Department at Wheaton College is looking for a part time instructor to teach algebra-based introductory physics for the Fall 2016 semester. This course covers Newtonian mechanics, energy, waves, and heat. A Masters or PhD in physics or a related field is required. Experience teaching physics for pre-health professions students is desirable but not required.

Wheaton College is an evangelical Christian liberal arts college whose faculty and staff affirm a Statement of Faith and adhere to lifestyle expectations. The College complies with federal and state guidelines of nondiscrimination in employment. Women and minority applicants are strongly encouraged to apply. A letter of interest and a CV should be sent to Dr. Darren Craig, Chair of Physics, 501 College Ave., Wheaton, IL 60187 or emailed to Review of applications will begin immediately and continue until the position is filled.

Remembering Joe Spradley (1939-2016)

Posted April 20, 2016 by Physics


Joseph Spradley

The Wheaton College Physics Department mourns the death of Professor of Physics Emeritus Dr. Joseph Spradley. Dr. Spradley died March 29 following a yearlong battle with cancer. He was 83.

Dr. Spradley taught at Wheaton for 55 years—from 1959 to 2014—making him the longest serving professor in College history. He taught courses in subjects including physics, astronomy, math and history of science.

He was devoted to God, to his family and to his students, and loved—among many things—swimming, diving, learning, and travel. Many generations of physics students have been shaped by his teaching and mentoring.

O God, from my youth you have taught me,
and I still proclaim your wondrous deeds.
So even to old age and gray hairs, O God, do not forsake me,
until I proclaim your might to another generation,
your power to all those to come.

Psalm 71:17-18

A longer news item, detailing many of Dr. Spradley's accomplishments, can be found on the Wheaton College website.


Newly hired full time engineering faculty member will begin Fall 2016!

Posted February 18, 2016 by Physics


After an international search the Physics and Engineering Department is excited to announce that David Hsu will fill the open Engineering position. David Hsu has a B.S. in Mechanical Engineering from Northwestern University and is completing his PhD in Mechanical Engineering at Northwestern as well. Northwestern’s grad program in engineering is in the top five nationally. He has worked for both Proctor & Gamble Corp. and Baxter Healthcare Corp. in an engineering capacity prior to entering his PhD program. He has four patents from his R&D work at Baxter.
David Hsu’s research is in the area of computational studies of materials. With this new addition to our faculty, the department plans to offer six engineering courses in the 2016-2017 school year. These include Introduction to the Profession, Statics, Dynamics, Strength of Materials, Materials Science, and an Engineering Design Lab to be taught in a new engineering teaching lab for which construction will begin soon.

Maddie Baltzer Presents Research at APS

Posted January 12, 2016 by Physics

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Maddie at APS

Maddie Baltzer (BS Physics 2016) traveled to Savannah, GA along with research advisor Dr. Darren Craig to present her research at the American Physical Society – Division of Plasma Physics meeting in November 2015. Maddie has been doing research with Dr. Craig in plasma physics for about 2.5 years now and this is her second trip to the APS-DPP meeting. Her poster presented progress in making absolutely calibrated ion flow measurements in the Madison Symmetric Torus, a large magnetically confined plasma experiment at the University of Wisconsin – Madison. Maddie has traveled to Madison several times to take data and has developed a custom calibration light source at Wheaton College that will be used in Madison. Flow measurements are made by observing small Doppler shifts of impurity emission lines and the new light source enables an accurate calibration of the spectrometer used for these studies. Maddie is completing an honors thesis this year in which she plans to use all of the hardware and software she has been working on to make the first absolutely calibrated and localized measurements of ion flow in MST.

More Options for Wheaton College Engineering Students

Posted January 1, 2016 by Physics


Engineering students at Wheaton College have even more options to finish their required course work than before. Wheaton College and the College of DuPage have recently entered into an agreement that makes it possible for Wheaton College Engineering students to take selected courses at the College of Dupage, a local community college close to Wheaton’s campus. College of Dupage has an existing relationship with the Illinois Institute of Technology (IIT), which allows courses approved in this agreement to transfer directly to IIT-Armour College of Engineering (and most other engineering schools). The benefits for Wheaton College students are substantial: Not only will it reduce travel time and costs significantly, it also opens up the possibility to take courses which are not available at Wheaton College or conflict with their Wheaton schedule, thus keeping them on track to finish their lower division engineering courses on time. "We believe the agreement is a plus for the 3-2 dual-degree engineering program at Wheaton,” says Mr. William Medcalf, the Engineering Program Director.

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