Dr. Donald Isenhower has been honored by the American Physical Society for his undergraduate research done for the physics program.
Isenhower, professor of engineering and physics, received the 2015 Prize to A Faculty Member For Research In An Undergraduate Institution and was chosen for the award out of 750 physics programs across the country.
The award is sponsored by a grant from the Research Corporation that recognizes a faculty member in a physics program whose undergraduate research emphasizes the development of physics as well as the professional development of undergraduate students in physics programs.
“Research is something that comes from having an innate curiosity about a subject,” Isenhower said. “I have always been curious about how the world worked.”
Isenhower did his first real research project on ion rockets at 11 years old. During his senior year of high school, he built a nitrogen gas laser and took home the prize for the regional science fair.
He attributes his desire to continue research and pursue a professional career in physics to professors that taught him while he attended ACU.
Isenhower also gives credit to Olaf Ullaland, a European Organization for Nuclear Research scientist from Norway whom he claims he learned the most from.
Dr. Isenhower’s award focused on his knowledge and research on building detectors which he researched immensely when he returned to ACU in 1986 to work under Dr. Michael Sadler, professor of engineering and physics.
“This is a great honor for Donald, the Department of Engineering and Physics and ACU,” said Dr. Rusty Towell, professor and chair of engineering and physics in a released statement. “Our university is now part of a very small and elite group of schools that have been awarded this honor more than once.”
Isenhower said if a professor can get a student to become passionate about a subject, it would result in developing an interest in pursuing the details of that subject in greater depths.
“It wouldn’t have been possible without the environment that I was exposed to as a student at ACU and then the freedom I was given when I returned as a professor to ACU to do research,” he said. “That is something that is changing and must continue to change at ACU.”