Dr. Tim Gfroerer joined the Physics Department in the Fall of 1999. His research interests in the optical properties of semiconductors fit well into the current array of spectroscopy programs at Davidson. As a start-up project, Gfroerer and his students are characterizing some novel semiconductor materials in collaboration with the National Renewable Energy Laboratory. The new semiconductors, designed to convert thermal radiation into electricity, are under investigation for future alternative energy technology. Gfroerer has received two grants to fund this work: a Research Corporation Cottrell College Science Award and an American Chemical Society - Petroleum Research Fund Grant.
Gfroerer attended the University of the South, a small liberal arts college in Sewanee, TN, where he earned a BS (summa cum laude) in physics. He then obtained an MS in electrical engineering at Georgia Tech where he held a Graduate Research Appointment from the Director of the Georgia Tech Research Institute. During his time at Georgia Tech, he took 2 quarters leave in order to hike the Appalachian Trail (AT) from Georgia to Maine. The AT introduced him to Dartmouth College, which lies directly on the trail. He promptly completed his Masters at Georgia Tech and signed on to the PhD Physics program at Dartmouth. Upon graduation from Dartmouth, he began a Postdoctoral Fellowship at JILA, a research institute operated jointly by the University of Colorado and the National Institute of Standards and Technology. His research group at JILA had just earned international distinction for the first demonstration of a unique form of matter (Bose-Einstein condensation) in a gas. His own work at JILA culminated in the invention of an ultra-efficient light source with all-electronic beam control, the Adjustable Beam Light Emitting (ABLE) Diode, which is presently under patent review. Gfroerer taught at James Madison University in Virginia for one year before coming to Davidson.
In his spare time, he continues to hike on the Appalachian Trail and explore other hiking opportunities in western Carolina and southern Virginia. His energetic dog, a squat Australian Cattle Dog mix named Darma, insists on these hikes. Her alternative energy release mechanism is a ricochet-rabbit type behavior that is taking a heavy toll on the house furniture. In addition to hiking, Gfroerer enjoys gardening, homebrewing, snowboarding, and bluegrass music.
Dr. Mario Belloni, now an assistant professor, came to Davidson in 1998 as a visiting professor from a year of teaching at Eckerd College in Florida. A California native, he attended the University of California at Berkeley, then earned his master's and PhD degrees at the University of Connecticut. He is currently teaching introductory physics courses as well as the electromagnetic theory and quantum mechanics courses.
His research is in theoretical physics, specializing in quantum chromodynamics (QCD). He is continuing that research and is also studying mathematical methods of quantum theory, specifically the formulation of supersymmetric (SUSY) quantum mechanics. During the summer of 2000 he supervised physics major Tim Valdes ('01) in this research.
He has a longstanding interest in Davidson because his spouse, Nancy Bondurant, is a 1984 graduate. She works as a registered nurse with Hospice at Charlotte.
Dr. Ken Krebs comes to the Department after completing a Masters Degree in Science Education and a PhD Degree in Physics at the University of Georgia. His research deals with luminescence properties and charge transfer states of rare earth ions in insulating materials. He is filling in for Dr. Cain who is on a well-deserved sabbatical this year.
Dr. Melissa Dancy will be with us for the next two years working to fulfill an NSF-CCD grant received by Dr. Christian. She will be developing and assessing curricular material based on Physlets. She grew up in Charlotte and did undergraduate work at Furman. One summer she worked with Dr. Boye as part of the COSEN research program. She graduated with a Masters Degree from Purdue University and successfully completed the PhD Degree in Physics at NC State University this past August.
Tom Lipinski joins the Department this year as lab manager. He comes to Davidson from Cary Academy near Raleigh, where he taught physics to high school students. He holds a Masters Degree in Physics from Purdue University and has been the Instructional Lab Supervisor for the Physics Department at the University of Alabama. He is the husband of Dr. Melissa Dancy.
Carrie Rathbun is our new departmental assistant. She has experience as a high school science teacher and as a sales representative for companies selling technical equipment and instruments to hospitals and laboratories