BLOOMINGTON, Ill.— The American Physical Society (APS) has elected Illinois Wesleyan
University’s Gabriel C. Spalding to Fellowship in the Society. This honor is limited
to no more than one-half of one percent of the APS membership.
A professor of physics at Illinois Wesleyan, Spalding was honored for his work in creating a community of
physics educators focused on physics laboratory instruction beyond the first year;
for his creative efforts in making photon-quantum mechanics affordable and accessible
in the undergraduate laboratory; and for his leadership in curricular innovations
that enhance the role of the laboratory in undergraduate physics education.
APS is a non-profit membership organization working to advance the knowledge of physics
through education, outreach, advocacy and international activities. The organization
represents over 50,000 members, including physicists in academia, national laboratories
and industry in the United States and throughout the world.
Earlier this year Spalding was also elected as a Fellow of SPIE, the international
society for optics and photonics. The SPIE fellowship recognizes outstanding members
for their technical achievement and for their service to the general optics community
and to SPIE in particular.
In the past year Spalding has been recognized with awards from the American Association
of Physics Teachers and from APS for his efforts to expand laboratory instruction
nationwide for undergraduate students. Spalding was a founder of ALPhA, an association
of college and university faculty and staff members dedicated to experimental physics
instruction, and served as the association’s first president.
Spalding earned a doctorate from Harvard University and joined the faculty at Illinois
Wesleyan in 1996. His recent research utilizes holographically textured fields to
trap and manipulate matter. For more than 10 years, Spalding has taken Illinois Wesleyan
students to the University of St. Andrews and Dundee in Scotland where they take part
in “beam sculpting” research projects, most recently developing non-invasive methods
of targeting and destroying tumors.