Richard W. PetersonDick has long been an advocate for the advanced lab, both in his role as a professor at Bethel College and as an active member of both the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) and the American Physical Society (APS). As President of AAPT, he used his President’s Report in the 2005 Announcer to highlight the formation and aspirations of a “national taskforce that will make recommendations for encouraging and assisting faculty and staff working on ‘advanced laboratories…’” He brings to the Board the expertise he has gained working within those organizations as well as his experience and passion as a physicist and teacher.

Dick received his Ph.D. in physics at Michigan State followed by postdoctoral and several summer positions in optical plasma diagnostics in the Physics Division at Los Alamos National Lab. At Bethel University, he worked with students in developing new methods for fast interferometric and holographic measurements of all sorts.

He has received the American Physical Society’s (APS) prize for outstanding research at an undergraduate school and was elected a Fellow of the APS in 2005. He was elected to serve in 2003-2007 in the Presidential track of the American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT). In 2010, the Optical Society of America (OSA) recognized him as a Senior Member for professional work and service in optics and photonics, and he has served as a Traveling Lecturer for the OSA. He especially enjoys the development of new apparatus for interactive physics demonstrations and laboratories and has shared these demonstrations globally with young and old around the world. He was appointed the first University Professor at Bethel for his research, teaching, and physics community service. From 2010-2012 he served in Washington as a physics Program Director within NSF’s Division of Undergraduate Education.