Prize Recipient

Recipient Picture

Richard W. Peterson
Bethel College


"For establishing an outstanding research program in applied optics involving undergraduate students at Bethel College, and for his work in infrared spectroscopy and interferometry, holographic interferometry, plasma diagnostics, optical and acoustical measurements, and instructional laboratory experiments in optics."


Dr. Peterson received his BS degree in physics and mathematics from Wisconsin State University at River Falls. He received his Ph.D. in physics from Michigan State University in 1969 and worked for two years on a postdoctoral in optical plasma diagnostics in the Physics Division at Los Alamos National Laboratory. While on the faculty at Western Illinois University (1971 - 1980) and as a Visiting Staff Member at LANL, he continued work with near and far-infrared interferometry as well as holographic measurements of plasma and vibratory motion. Since moving to Bethel College as the Department Chair in 1980, he has developed new methods of performing interferometric measurements in real-time using heterodyne direct phase detection and stroboscopic, real-time holography. He has worked with Bethel students and faculty members a principal investigator in a 3M and Imation project to perfect interferometric quality control techniques during the production of magnetic media surfaces.

Dr. Peterson is Secretary of the AAPT, chairs the AAPT Publications Committee and received the AAPT Award for Distinguished Service in 1992. He enjoys the development of apparatus for teaching physics and has won six prizes in AAPT Apparatus competition - with three First Place Prizes in optics. He is a member of the AAPT, APS, and OSA, and currently serves on the AIP Committee on Publishing Policy.

Selection Committee:

Thomas D Rossing (Chair), Lawrence B Shaffer, Richard J Furnstahl (Vice Chair), Warren W Buck, David Peak ('96 Rcpnt)