The 1960s were a turbulent time. Within scientific research, it was also a revolutionary time. The 1960s saw numerous breakthroughs and paradigm shifts within many science sub-disciplines. In this presentation, we will focus on research developments within physics, astronomy and earth science. With the Soviets’ launch of Sputnik in 1957 and the ongoing cold war, the U.S. pumped money into math and science both to explore the “final frontier” and create NASA, as well as for defense purposes. The 1960s in earth science and geology was also a ground-breaking time of paradigm shift. In 1912 Alfred Wegener proposed the theory of continental drift but had essentially failed to be taken seriously, especially within North America. Technological developments tied to the world wars and exploration of the oceans led to the theory of sea floor spreading, discovery of the mid-ocean ridges and ultimately, the theory of plate tectonics.
Steven Daniels is chair of the Department of Physics at Eastern. His academic interests include optics and lasers. He earned a B.A. from Swarthmore College and an M.S. and Ph.D. from the University of Maryland. In addition, he is an alumni of Eastern with an MBA degree.
David Linton is an instructor of physics and astronomy at Eastern. He has an M.S. from the University of New Mexico at Albuquerque. He was the recipient of the 1988 Illinois Professor of the Year award, sponsored by the Council for Advancement and Support of Education and the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.
John Paul Stimac associate professor of geology, grew up overseas until he finished high school in Virginia. He received a B.S. degree in environmental sciences from the University of Virginia, then an M.S. in geology from Fort Hays State University. His doctorate in geology is from the University of Oregon for his work on using large-volume ash-flow tuffs of the Western United States to understand the tectonics of the region. Subsequent work has focused on tectonic fluvial geomorphology and paleomagnetic analysis as applied to regional tectonics in the western United States and Sichuan, China. While at Eastern he has served as chair of the Department of Geology/Geography and interim dean of the Honors College.