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Peter Jolivette Elected a Fellow
In the American Physical Society

Posted December 5, 2000

HOLLAND -- Dr. Peter Jolivette of the Hope College physics faculty has been elected a Fellow in the American Physical Society (APS).

The annual APS Fellowship Program recognizes APS members for significant contributions to the field of physics through either research, application of their discipline or teaching, or for service to the APS. Jolivette was recognized for his leadership in developing undergraduate research in nuclear physics.

Fewer than 200 were named Fellows for the year 2000, and Jolivette and James Cederberg of St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., were the only Fellows from undergraduate colleges. Most are based at universities, although some are with national laboratories or industry. The Fellows are from the U.S. as well as abroad.

The honor came as a surprise to Jolivette, who wasn't even aware that he had been nominated. "They hadn't told me anything," he said of his Hope colleagues who had recommended him for the recognition.

Those colleagues included Dr. Paul DeYoung, who earlier this year had received top recognition himself from the APS for his work as a faculty researcher at an undergraduate institution. A 1977 Hope graduate, DeYoung as a student conducted research with Jolivette, who was then in his first year on the Hope faculty.

"He's the one who got me started," DeYoung said. "He is an excellent teacher. I have a lot of respect for his ability in the classroom."

Given Jolivette's similar influence on others through the decades, DeYoung believes that his election as a Fellow is richly deserved.

"I just can't express how happy I am for him," DeYoung said. "Here's a person who, because of his quiet dedication to students, has really had an impact on the field."

Jolivette said that he has simply been part of an emphasis that has run institution-wide, and credited his predecessors and contemporaries for their role in developing the physics program in particular.

"It's part of the overall work that Hope has done in encouraging undergraduate research," he said. "We look at it as part of the education process. The students do indeed learn by doing the research. They become confident in it because they've had experience doing it, which helps them whether they go on to graduate school or industry."

He has also been active in undergraduate research education beyond campus. He is a past councillor with the national Council on Undergraduate Research.

Jolivette joined the Hope faculty in 1976 as an assistant professor of physics, was promoted to associate professor in 1983 and to full professor in 1990. He is past chair of the department of physics.

His research emphasis is in nuclear physics, and he has authored or co-authored many articles concerning his work. Through the years he has received numerous outside grants in support of his research.

He teaches introductory physics courses, as well as advanced courses such as "States of Matter," "Quantum Theory."

He completed his bachelor of science degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1963, his master of science at Purdue University in 1965 and his doctorate at the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 1970. Prior to joining the Hope faculty, he held research and teaching positions at the University of Notre Dame.

The APS, which celebrated its 100th anniversary in 1999, has more than 40,000 members. The society's activities include programs in physics education and outreach; several regional, divisional and national meetings yearly; and publishing physics research journals, in addition to recognizing professional accomplishment through prizes and awards.

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