Dr. Thomas Olsen Takes New Role as Assistant Director of SPS and Sigma Pi Sigma
COLLEGE PARK, MD, 30 September 2008 - Dr. Thomas Olsen, former physics department chair at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, will take on a new role as Assistant Director of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) and for Sigma Pi Sigma, the physics honor society.
|Dr. Thomas Olsen
Olsen, an expert on chaotic patterns in fluid flow, will focus his attention on developing new resources for physics bachelor’s degree recipients as they plan their career trajectories.
“Tom has a great track record as a volunteer leader within SPS, and the excellent work of his students speaks volumes about the quality of his efforts”, said SPS Director Gary White. “He brings a deep knowledge of physics, physics students, and mentorship to our work here.”
Olsen led his campus’s chapter of SPS to numerous national awards, and in 2006, he was recognized as Teacher of the Year at Lewis and Clark College. He has served on the SPS national Council for more than a decade, first as the faculty representative from Zone 17 (Northwest US), then as the President of Sigma Pi Sigma from 1998-2002; he currently serves as the SPS national Historian.
“Tom Olsen's many years of experience as a research scientist and a physics faculty member will complement and expand current AIP education efforts to integrate research and education” said Jack Hehn, Director of Education Division at the American Institute of Physics (AIP). SPS and Sigma Pi Sigma are both housed within the Education Division at AIP, a nonprofit organization based in College Park, MD.
In 2004, Olsen served as Program Chair of the Quadrennial Congress of Sigma Pi Sigma, and he has been instrumental in planning the 2008 Congress at FermiLab, scheduled for November 6-8. He has also served as President of the Oregon Section of the American Association of Physics Teachers and Secretary/Treasurer of the Northwest Section of the American Physical Society. Dr. Olsen has garnered over a quarter of a million dollars in research grant funding, and led numerous students and high-school teachers in research projects ranging from vortex flow dynamics to measurements of eclipsing binary star systems.
Olsen holds BS degrees in Physics and Mathematics from Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and an MS and PhD in physics from University of Southern California.
Olsen is replacing Sonja Lopez, who served as SPS Supervisor for 19 years. He begins his new position on October 1, 2008.