SPS Outstanding Chapter Advisor
University of Alaska Fairbanks
David Newman is a Professor of Physics and Director of the Center for Complex Systems Studies at the University of Alaska-Fairbanks. He received his BS in Physics and Mathematics in 1983 from the Univ. of Pittsburgh. With his wife and partner Uma, David spent the following two and a half years as a US Peace Corps volunteer in the western highlands of Kenya where he taught Physics in a rural secondary school. He enjoyed the challenges of teaching, building a water tank, and starting a tree nursery and library. He thought that these were among the most productive and rewarding years of his life (so far). After returning, he attended graduate school at the Univ. of Wisconsin-Madison where he received his PhD in 1993. His advisor was Paul Terry and the topic of his research was a computational and theoretical investigation of “The Dynamics of Interacting Nonlinearities Governing Long Wavelength Driftwave Turbulence”. He then joined Oak Ridge National Laboratory (1993) as a Wigner Fellow and subsequently became a staff member in the Theory section of the Fusion Energy Division. Missing teaching, he joined the physics faculty at the Univ. of Alaska in 1998 where in addition to engaging in an active research program (with over 140 publications) he teaches the whole range from graduate to introductory undergraduate classes. Ever since arriving at UAF, he enjoyed constantly having both graduate and undergraduate students working with him on various research projects. Since 1987, he also has given science outreach/education presentations to all levels of audiences from kindergarten to Elder-hostels to congressional briefings. He has served on way too many committees such as the American Physical Society - Division of Plasma Physics (DPP) ExComm, DPP Program Committee, DPP Committee on Women in Plasma Physics, DPP Education and Outreach Committee, and many others including DOE FESAC panels as well as numerous program review and advisory committees. He is currently finishing his term on the Chair cycle of the APS-DPP (this year is his past chair year). His former graduate students have gone on to work in in a diverse range of areas spanning education, national laboratories and industry. His current research interests include the the fundamental dynamics of turbulent transport in all plasmas, plasmas as complex systems, as well as complex systems and include include the way critical infrastructure systems like the power grid behave and physics education. He highly values the synergy between research, teaching and service and is very proud to serve the wonderful, energetic students of our SPS chapter as their faculty advisor.