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Department  News

Dr. Khondkar R. Karim Retires

The Physics Department came together on Friday, June 1, to celebrate 23 years of service by retiring faculty member Dr. Khondkar Karim.
Dr. Karim joined the faculty of ISU in 1989 after earning his Ph.D. from the University of Oregon in 1983. He served in a postdoctoral capacity there and at Kansas State University until arriving at ISU. Dr. Karim came to the USA in 1978; his home town is Rajshahi, Bangladesh. During his first year of retirement, Dr. Karim will teach PHY 102 during autumn semester and PHY 284 during spring semester. We all wish Dr. Karim a long, happy, and healthy retirement.

-by Dr. Carl J. Wenning-

Mini Modeling Workshops Held During June 2012

Using departmental funding, Ken Wester, Carl Wenning, and Tom Holbrook (University High School) hosted two 3-day workshops for in-service high school physics teachers during June. The focus of the workshops was the Modeling Method of Instruction - an inquiry-oriented approach of teaching introductory physics; the subject matter was constant and accelerated motion. Participants were involved with such activities as Barbie Bungee Jumping (see image) and Demolition Derby. A total of 39 teachers from across Illinois attended this year and 36 others did so last year. Workshops are presented as part of an ISU-based Local Physical Science Alliance.

-by Dr. Carl J. Wenning-


Left to right: Julie DeSutter, Midwest Central High School; Jennifer Smith, Monticello Middle School; and Leighton Helwig, Crouse Education Center


For more information about these and other ISU Physics Department programs or events, please contact our Physics Department Office at (309) 438-8756.

Intense Laser Physics Theory Unit Receives NSF Grant of $300,000


Distinguished Professor Rainer Grobe and University Professor Q. Charles Su have done it again by securing National Science Foundation funding to support their research for the next three years. Dr. Su--who is co-director of ILP with Dr. Grobe--said "It is a tremondous honor for ILP to be recognized six times in a row by the prestigious NSF funding agency." For more on this award by ISU Media Relations, please  click here.

For more about the National Science Foundation, please visit


Student  News

Composite picture of some of our ISU Physics May 2012 Graduates and August 2012 Graduate Candidates who participated in the May 2012 Commencement Ceremonies:

top, l to r:  Jacob Barham, Joe Trimble, Alex Gross, Adam Bourjaily, and Justin Maxwell;

bottom l to r:  Sarah Pfluger, Dan Tomera, Sara O'Toole, Ben Rogers, and Kenzie Kelley



Congratulations to our May 2012 Physics Department Graduates (* indicates double major;

# indicates an August 2012 Graduation Candidates)

Graduating with a B.S. degree in Physics:

Jacob A. Barham *

Adam P. Bourjaily

Alexander P. Gross

Colin R. Matthews

Justin R. Maxwell

Tyler J. Rainey

Benjamin J. Rogers

Daniel L. Russell

Michael D. Sawyer, Jr.

Daniel J. Tomera #

Joseph E. Trimble

Graduating with a B.S. degree in Computer Physics:

Jacob A. Barham *

Graduating with a B.S. degree in Physics Teacher Education:

Steven G. Clayton

Mackenzie G. Kelley #

Sara A. O'Toole

Sarah E. Pfluger    


(As more information is known, this section will be updated.)

ISU Solar Car Vehicle  Mercury IV Heads to Monticello, NY in July 2012 for start of the 2012 American Solar Challenge


Illinois State University Solar Car Team Members official photo for the American Solar Challenge 2012 (with an early CAD drawing of Mercury IV).


To view these and more pictures and news about--and how you can become involved with--the ISU Solar Vehicle Project and the ISU Solar Car Team, please visit them on Facebook at "ISU Solar Car Vehicle Project":

Alumni  Career  UPDATE  News

Peter Hui , BS'89 (Physics) is employed by the Waters Corporation ( as an LC/MS/SFC Field Service Engineering.

Sara A. O'Toole, BS'12 (Physics Teacher Education) accepted a physics teaching position at Hampshire High School to begin Fall 2012.

Sarah E. Pfluger, BS'12 (Physics Teacher Education) accepted a math teaching position at Richwoods High School in Peoria to begin Fall 2012.


ISU Physics  Alumni  &  Friends   Facebook  News

We view our  two distinct Department Facebook page presences each uniquely:ISU's Moulton Hall--Home of the ISU Physics Department since 1978

1)  Our ISU Physics Alumni & Friends Group (closed) allows a means for you and us to exchange information about career opportunities and department news that you might be interested in.  Grace Johns updates this group page about weekly, as information becomes available.  Thanks also to alumni who share news about job vacancies by posting in the group page so that their fellow alums may be made aware of them.

2)  Our Department of Physics at Illinois StateFacebook "page" is a bit more formal as "the face of our Physics Department" for prospective students. It is a one way communication tool--we share the most interesting department related topics that come up.  This especially pertains to important scholarship deadlines for prospective students.