Keith Sturgess

Associate Professor of Physics


B.S.Science Education/PhysicsFlorida Institute of Technology
Ph.D.PhysicsNaval Postgraduate School

Professional Experience

Leadership experience through a 23-year career as an officer in the U.S. Army in the Field Artillery from Lieutenant to Lieutenant Colonel. I commanded an Artillery Battery and was an executive officer of an Artillery Battalion and Brigade. As an Army physicist, I worked at the Army Research Laboratory on foliage and ground-penetrating radar design and testing; at the United States Military Academy as a physics professor; on the US Forces, Korea Joint Staff, and at the Department of Energy as a military liaison; and as Acting Director, Systems Simulation and Validation Division, Office of Stockpile Assessment and Certification, Defense Programs, National Nuclear Security Administration.

My doctoral research was on Free Electron Laser theory and its applications to specific designs as well as methods of applying the developed theory to other novel situations, such as whistler waves in the ionosphere. I also spent a summer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory investigating nuclear weapon fallout modeling.

I have attended a number of workshops on innovative techniques for improving student performance and understanding in undergraduate physics courses, to include peer instruction, workshop physics, and studio physics. I use physics education research to inform my classroom presentations.

Teaching Interests

My primary teaching responsibilities are the first-year University Physics sequence. I also teach laboratory sections each semester. I am also involved in team-teaching our physical science course for childhood education majors, and teaching a conceptual physics course designed for our Communications Sciences & Disorders major. I love to get the opportunity to teach upper-level courses such as Modern Physics and Nuclear Physics.

Research/Creative Works

While I stay abreast of developments in Free Electron Lasers, my research focus has shifted over the years to topics more accessible to undergraduates who are not physics majors. In the recent past, I have worked with a student interested in rolling friction and another student interested in determining the speed of dinosaurs from fossilized footprints and knowledge of leg lengths using a pendulum model. I am open to working on any physics problem that a student is interesting in investigating.