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Liberal Studies

Greg Severn, PhD

Professor

After completing a thesis in experimental plasma physics in the area of fusion energy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, he was appointed Assistant Professor of Physics at USD in 1987, becoming a full professor in 1994. He currently serves as Chair of the Department of Physics. His teaching ranges from Physics and Society to Quantum Physics, and he created the first advanced upper division laboratory course, Experimental Modern Physics, in the physics curriculum. His research focuses on experimental basic plasma physics and the use of tunable lasers as a diagnostic for ion dynamics.

Education

Ph.D. (’87) Physics, University of Wisconsin-Madison, M.S. (’82) Physics, University of Wisconsin- Madison, B.S. (’79) Physics, University of  California, Los Angeles. He was elected to SPS,  the National Physics Honor Society, in 1979.

Scholarly and Creative Work

Current research interests: Basic plasma  physics, low temperature plasma physics, physics of sheath formation and ion  dynamics in the plasma boundary layer, plasma diagnostics, laser-induced  fluorescence, use of tunable diode lasers for ion dynamics diagnostics. He  research work has been supported by the National Science Foundation and the US  Dept. of Energy from 1997-2001,  and from 2003 to the present. He  is an Honorary Research Fellow of the College of Engineering of the University  of Wisconsin-Madison. He also works in area of the design of lower division  physics laboratory experiments, and in the exploration of relationships between  Science and Faith.

Teaching Interests

Recent courses taught: General Physics I&II (general physics for life-science majors), upper division Quantum Physics, Experimental Modern Physics (writing intensive course for the physics major). He is fascinated with the project of helping students work to achieve conceptual coherence of the fundamental ideas of physics, in a fun environment that is conducive to active student participation.