A Professor's Passion For Science

2017-11-15 15:23:21 - Kohawk Talk

Professor Steve Feller
Professor Steve Feller

Physics Professor Steve Feller, has led the Playground of Science event for the past fifteen years. What is the Playground of Science? Coe College faculty, staff and students provide demonstrations and facilitate hands-on opportunities to show that science can be fun. Of the most recent event Steve says, "The 15th Playground of Science was a wonderful event, and over 1,000 people saw more than 50 science demonstrations. Not only is it an outstanding event for the community, but it's an excellent opportunity for more than 100 students, staff and faculty from 8 departments to collaborate in the planning and execution of this interactive experience!" Feller receives hundreds of personal thank you notes each time the event is held, confirming that Coe helps give others an opportunity to be excited by science, like he was as a child.

Professor Feller began to develop his interest in science at a similar age to those who attended the Playground of Science event. His parents emphasized the importance of education, and he attended Brooklyn Technical High School, where his passion for physics was sparked. Feller explains what the draw to physics is for him, "I was drawn to physics by all the great ideas. There are literally new concepts that have changed our conception of how the world works. For example: relativity, the atomic hypothesis and theory, the Big Bang, verified in part by a Nobel-prize winner who attended my high school, the nucleus, new materials, including new glasses discovered at Coe, the particle zoo in physics, astronomical discoveries that are increasing over time, and so many more."

His career began at Coe in 1979 with the promise of a job, and the opportunity to work with faculty member Joe Kasper, whom Feller worked together publishing two books. Feller also felt that his position at Coe allowed him the freedom to build a program and was supportive at crucial times throughout its history.

Professor Feller's greatest joy is working with students and being a witness to their success. When asked about his opportunities to connect with students in the classroom and beyond, he spoke of the opportunity to travel and present work that students have completed at conferences in England, France, Italy, Germany, Greece, Bulgaria, China, Japan, Brazil, Israel, The Isle of Man, The Czech Republic and Canada. He also enjoys getting to see alumni of the department go on to be successful. But overall, his favorite thing about teaching at Coe is helping students discover their own passion for physics, like Taylor Mehmen. Taylor is a sophomore from Cedar Rapids-Prairie who got to complete physics research on campus over the summer. He said, "Doc [Feller] has inspired me to push myself past what I thought I could do. He has opened up opportunities I never would have imagined to take part in."