Peter Sheldon, the Charles A. Dana Professor of Physics & Engineering at Randolph, has been selected as a runner-up for the national Society of Physics Students’ (SPS) 2019 Outstanding Chapter Advisor award.
Sheldon was nominated by his students, who spoke highly of the impact he has made on their college experience and their lives.
“He is well-deserving of this award because he represents the true goal of the Society of Physics Students to help us students grow and mature into the larger community of physicists and engineers,” Sheldon’s students wrote in their recommendation letter to the SPS. “The success of SPS at Randolph is entirely due to Peter’s energy and dedication… SPS is lucky to have Peter Sheldon as a chapter advisor, and he is highly deserving of the Outstanding Chapter Advisor award.”
In addition to serving as chair for Randolph’s physics and engineering department, Sheldon is the director of the College’s Center for Student Research. He has a Ph.D. and an M.S. in physics from the University of Massachusetts, and has a B.A. in physics and a B.A. in mathematics from Amherst College. Sheldon has received over $2.5 million in grants for research and programming, currently holding a $1 million S-STEM grant from the National Science Foundation to run Randolph’s SUPER program. His research net includes a number of fields: he is by education a low temperature physicist, but he has worked up the field of ultrafast laser spectroscopy, and more recently focuses on inertial navigation and science education research.
Sheldon started the Randolph chapter of SPS and Sigma Pi Sigma in 1999, and has been the chapter advisor since its inception. Under his leadership, the Randolph chapter won the Outstanding Chapter award 10 years in a row. In 2018, the Randolph chapter was recognized locally for two awards, winning the Hallowheels competition (a competition between area colleges to make a costume for a child in a wheelchair) and winning an award from the area Technology Council for Program of the Year.
Sheldon’s passion is bringing science to the public. He directs and works with the College’s SPS to run the Randolph College Science Festival and the College’s Science + Art Saturdays program for high school students. Sheldon is the past chief reader of the AP physics exam, and is also board member for the United States Young Physicists Tournaments, Vector Space (Lynchburg’s Makerspace), and the Lynchburg Region’s Technology Council.