Andrew M. C. Dawes, Ph.D.
I am an Assistant Professor of Physics at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon. I joined the faculty at Pacific in the Fall of 2008 after graduating from the Department of Physics at Duke University. In addition to my teaching efforts, I manage a research lab that involves undergraduate students in summer and senior-capstone research projects. I am generally interested in the fields of optics, electronics, and computing.
I came to Pacific University in the Fall of 2008 after graduating from Duke University in May 2008 with my Ph.D. in Physics. My six years at Duke followed four years at Whitman College (Walla Walla, WA) where I graduated in 2002 with a B.A. in Physics. The research I conducted as an undergraduate created many opportunities for graduate study and I ultimately decided on Duke after meeting many of my potential classmates, peers, and the department faculty. My pre-college life was spent in Moscow Idaho, home of the University of Idaho and a fine town in its own right.
My current projects are generally related to the exploration of the interaction between light and matter. Typically the light in my lab comes from a laser although not in every case. For matter, my favorite systems are atomic vapors containing alkali atoms (usually Rubidium) because these atoms can be described by the reasonably simple two-level atom theory. Two other recent interests of mine are the optical properties of nanomaterials and metamaterials, and human-machine interactions and physical computing.
I strive to maintain an engaging classroom setting and support my students in their efforts to understand and improve our world. As part of my teaching mission, I am also interested in developing simple demonstrations of quantum mechanics, nonlinear optics, and other interesting and previously inaccessible physical phenomena. The range of learning experiences found in undergraduate laboratories can be easily extended as optical and experimental equipment costs are reduced through the development of new technologies. Furthermore, a combination of creativity and inspiration can result in very insightful teaching labs without the budgets that have historically set large research institutions above smaller college settings in terms of providing advanced laboratory education. To this end, I seek to apply my skills in optics and teaching to the development of laboratory experiences that bring cutting edge research to the undergraduate classroom.
My wife Leslie and I live in Forest Grove, Oregon with our two sons Carter and Griffin. One of our favorite things about Forest Grove is being able to walk to campus, downtown, and the farmer's market. When the sun is out, you can find us in the back yard playing, gardening, or cooking out. In addition to a dog and a cat, we have a small flock of four chickens who frequently provide us with organic free-range eggs.