|Dr. Thomas Olsen
Assistant Director & Historian, SPS & Sigma Pi Sigma
American Institute of Physics, College Park, MD
Dr. Thomas Olsen, former physics department chair at Lewis and Clark College in Portland, Oregon, has taken on a new role as Assistant Director of the Society of Physics Students (SPS) and for Sigma Pi Sigma, the physics honor society.
Olsen, an expert on chaotic patterns in fluid flow, is focusing his attention on developing new resources for physics bachelor’s degree recipients as they plan their career trajectories.
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.
In 2004, Olsen served as Program Chair of the Quadrennial Congress of Sigma Pi Sigma, and he was instrumental in planning the 2008 Congress held at FermiLab, IL, 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.