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University of Arkansas, Department of Physics, History, Centennial History


The department of physics at the University of Arkansas was established in the 1907-08 academic year, although physics was taught from the very start of the University in 1872. The department celebrated its centennial in 2007-2008. Acoustics to Quantum Materials is a centennial history of the department covering the period 1907-08 to 2007-08. While the emphasis is on this period, instruction of physics over the period 1872-1907 is covered in two prologues, and the period 2009-18 is briefly covered in an epilogue. The first research laboratory to be established was in the area of acoustics. Subsequently, the department’s faculty have made contributions in many diverse areas but most of the research was concentrated first in atomic physics followed by that in quantum optics and lastly in quantum materials. Thus the title.

The authors of this book have personally witnessed the events unfold over a combined period of 76 years. Thus the book incorporates personal recollections of many of the events not available in any of the documents.


My heartfelt thanks to all those who have contributed written material to this book, provided me with helpful information, and have taken the time to answer my questions. These include Surendra Singh, Donald Pederson, Stephen Day, William Oliver III, Claud Lacy, Rick Wise, Otto Zinke, Charles Richardson, Gay Stewart, Raymond Hughes, Michael Lieber, to name just a few. My thanks also to Surendra Singh, Reeta Vyas, and Usha Gupta for help in selecting the title of the book. In addition, many thanks to all my colleagues for providing their biographies and other information.

My thanks as well to my editor, Jennifer Vos, for her meticulous editing and many helpful suggestions. I am grateful to former chair Surendra Singh and current chair William Oliver III for providing the funds to make the publication of this book possible.

Last but not the least I thank my wife, Usha, for her understanding, especially when my preoccupation with this project prevented me from undertaking certain activities that she wished me to undertake.