Tom Askew

Professor of Physics
Kalamazoo College
Kalamazoo, MI 49006
(269) 337-7097

B.A. Summa Cum Laude, Physics and Mathematics, Gordon College, 1977
Ph.D. University of Illinois - Urbana, 1984



General field: experimental condensed matter physics / materials science
Subfield: electromagnetism and the electrical, magnetic and optical properties of unusual materials such as high temperature superconductors, amorphous (non-crystalline) semiconductors, and electro-optic oxides.

Funding for this research has come from:    MacArthur Foundation
                                                                     National Science Foundation (NSF)
                                                                     Research Corporation
                                                                     U.S. Dept. of Energy - Argonne National Laboratory

Most current research work involves energy related science and technology. Students often struggle with the choice between physics, applied physics, and engineering. This type of research is ideal for exposing the student to all three, and for providing an interdisciplinary work environment for both scientists and engineers.  In the last eight years fifteen research papers have been published, including seven co-authored by undergraduates.

Students who have participated in the research effort have entered or are entering the following fields:

Physics                        Environmental Science and Engineering
Applied Physics           Mechanical Engineering
Physical Chemistry      Electrical Engineering
Civil Engineering

These students now attend or have attended the following graduate schools:

Cornell University        Stanford University
Univ. of Michigan        Univ. of Minnesota
MIT                              Michigan Tech.


My primary teaching responsibility is at the intermediate level, where I teach several courses involving extensive laboratory work.  Two of these courses, part of our sequence on electronics and electromagnetism, were the recipient of a recent NSF equipment grant.  This grant and other sources of funding have enabled us to provide each student with their own electronic bench for 4-8 hours each week.  Each station contains many thousands of dollars worth of state-of-the-art equipment, and provides the student with the opportunity to use the equipment and learn individually, rather than in a lab group with several others.

Other Professional Activities

Visiting Research Associate, Argonne National Laboratory
Member of the American Physical Society and the Materials Research Society
Active with the A.P.S. Forum on Industrial and Applied Physics