Programs & Awards  

2004 SPS Outstanding Chapter Advisor
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Dr. Earl Blodgett, University of Wisconsin-River Falls, River Falls, WI
University of Wisconsin—River Falls SPS Chapter Website

Dr. Earl Blodgett  

Dr. Earl D. Blodgett, Professor of Physics at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls (UWRF), and advisor to the UWRF Chapter of the Society of Physics Students (SPS), was presented with the 2004 SPS Outstanding Chapter Advisor Award on Monday, January 10, 2005, at the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) Winter Meeting in Albuquerque, NM. Dr. Blodgett, who is currently the Zone 9 Councilor on the SPS National Council, has advised the UWRF Chapter since 1997. SPS President Dr. Karen Williams, from East Central University in Ada, OK, presented the Award, which consists of a plaque and a $5,000 prize, with $3,000 going to Blodgett and $1,000 going to both the physics department and the SPS chapter.

The SPS members who nominated Dr. Blodgett for the Award say he has a love for physics that some people could only dream about. He not only teaches with a passion, but also runs the SPS meetings with enthusiasm from the sidelines. Heather Lunn, one of Dr. Blodgett's undergraduate students, says, "He is one of the most influential and accommodating people I know--a mentor." According to Blodgett's colleagues at UWRF, as well as they can remember, no physics majors or broad area science physics education majors have left the department without being involved in some aspect of SPS.

Dr. Blodgett assists his chapter with a "bunny" centrifuge demonstration at a meeting of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT).  

During Blodgett's time as the SPS Advisor, the UWRF SPS Chapter has held egg crash competitions, launched water rockets, done outreach to elementary schools, built and demonstrated two trebuchets, built small-scale centrifuge carnival rides, held food drives for charity, completed research with a CCD Project, had picnics, and held 24 meetings a year.

Dr. Blodgett greatly enjoys teaching the experimental side of physics at all levels, from introductory labs through advanced laboratory. He is also very interested in learning more about how students learn physics, with the goal of constantly reexamining and improving how introductory courses are taught. For several years he served as the chair of a committee charged with overseeing the UWRF Broad Field Science Programs. He is a member of the AAPT and the Acoustical Society of America (ASA).

Born and raised in Dunn County, WI, Earl Blodgett married Marguerite White on August 25, 1979. They have three children: Matthew, born in 1986; and twins Melissa and Jessica, born in 1989. Outside the workplace Dr. Blodgett is church chairperson and church choir director, and a regular participant in local school activities. He enjoys reading, running, and hobby farming. In 1989 he was honored for his work as chair of a Citizen's Task Force, which obtained approval for a new Elementary School in Boyceville, WI. He also chaired an advisory group that obtained approval for construction and remodeling of the junior and senior high schools in Boyceville, WI in 1999. Dr. Blodgett received his BS from UW-River Falls and his PhD from Washington University, St. Louis, MO.

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