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Physics Faculty

The faculty physicists of Elmhurst College are top-notch professionals with wide-ranging areas of expertise, representing an excellent cross-section of diverse fields of study. Their research interests, coupled with a scrupulous commitment to high-quality teaching, help students develop into fine scientists in their own right. Approachable and energetic, our faculty love to teach—in a friendly environment where they can work with their students as individuals. Our exceptionally small classes and our convivial family atmosphere guarantee that you will get the personal attention you need to develop your full talents.

Want to know more? See our faculty profiles, below. Or, contact a professor directly.

Full-time Faculty

Brian C. Wilhite
Assistant Professor of Physics and Chair
Ph.D., The University of Chicago
Dr. Wilhite's research centers on understanding the physics of quasars, young galaxies with active super-massive black holes in their cores, by monitoring their ultraviolet and optical variations through time. This work has primarily relied on the Sloan Digital Sky Survey, the largest astronomical data set in history, and has led to Dr. Wilhite being an author of 20 refereed publications. He is also passionate about bringing science to students from under-represented groups, having developed and taught outreach programs as a graduate student at The University of Chicago—where he was a McCormick Fellow and received the MacMinn Award for Service Outside the Walls of the University—and as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Illinois.

Venkatesh Gopal
Assistant Professor of Physics
Ph.D., Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore
Dr. Gopal has extensive experience—including postdoctoral research at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and Northwestern University—in classical and quantum optics, quantum information processing, and neuroscience. His current research interests lie in understanding how biological systems process sensory information, with an emphasis on how possibly "optimal" movement strategies emerge to gather information efficiently. At Elmhurst, he is establishing a laboratory for the study of Biological Information Transduction and Sensing (BITS). An initial focus of this lab will be to use optical imaging to understand how some mammals and insects track odor plumes.

Nicole Moore
Assistant Professor of Physics
Ph.D., University of Rochester

Dr. Moore studies the behavior of strongly focused laser beams. At Elmhurst College, she investigates how these beams interact with small spherical objects in a device called an optical tweezer. The optical tweezer can catch and hold small objects using forces exerted by the light itself. One of her primary interests is determining how measurements of the size of the objects caught in the tweezer differ with different input polarization.

Earl C. Swallow
Professor Emeritus
Ph.D., Washington University
Dr. Swallow is author or co-author of more than 150 reports and publications on subjects including weak interactions, tests of fundamental symmetries, polarization phenomena, matter-antimatter asymmetries, instrumentation, experimental design, and physics instruction. He also has a variety of other interests in history and philosophy of science, including the relationship between basic science and applied technology. He holds a visiting research appointment in the Enrico Fermi Institute of The University of Chicago. He has received the Elmhurst College President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching and was selected for the Chicago Tribune All-Professor Team II.  He also served as founding director of the College’s Center for Scholarship and Teaching.



 

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