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Paul Stanley

BS ('85) Iowa State; MS ('94), PhD ('95) Oregon State

Dobson Endowed Professor of Physics and Astronomy,
Beloit College
Beloit, WI
Office: Sanger Science Center 134, (608)-363-2258

Paul Stanley


There is nothing that I enjoy more than the teaching of science. The best way to learn science is by doing science, and I actively support student-centered research projects. Some of the more interesting ones include low pressure flame studies and pattern formation in fluid dynamics. As the academic director for the U.S. Physics Team from 2008 to 2018, I was responsible for the selection and training of the top high school physics students in the United States in order for them to compete in the International Physics Olympiad.

I am working with students to rebuild the 500 keV Van De Graff accelerator.   The electromagnet works, the proton beam is steady, we built a quartz focusing window and verified alignment.  Proton nucleus excitations are just around the corner.

I'm still developing techniques for finding Lyapunov exponents for Hamiltonian systems without numerical integration of the equations of motion. Progress has been made in this area, and I hope to have more results made public soon.  After a dozen years working on a quantum computation problem, I am happy to say that it has been solved.  A paper will appear here shortly.  Finally, I have engaged in pattern formation work with undergraduate students in both sand and fluids.  Progress has been steady.

Some exciting results:

  • We observed some novel features in the circular hydraulic jump, and now understand this subtle modification to the process.
  • An analytic technique, similar to the Toda-Brunner criteria, for determining an upper limit on the maximal Lyapunov exponent, is under development.
  • Evidence exists that shows the Lyapunov exponent can, under some fairly strict conditions, be a smooth function of a coupling parameter. The abstract of this work is available from an APS meeting.
  • It appears possible to express the maximal Lyapunov exponent of an ergodic region as a weighted average of the characteristic exponents of the isolated periodic orbits in the region.  I'm arguing with a referee over this issue.
  • I continue to work on developing a quantum Lyapunov exponent which would share definition consequences with the classical exponent.

Why did it take me nine years to get a master's degree? It didn't! After getting my degree from Iowa State, I spent a few months in Tennessee working with the Appalachian Service Project. Then, I joined the Peace Corps, and spent the next seven years deep in the South Pacific as a high school teacher.

In my spare time, I play the trumpet. I used to want to play on a Monette, but I recently discovered Scodwell Trumpets, and I am now the proud owner of one of his Vegas models, and it is easily the best trumpet I have ever played in my life.  I also play on some old Bach Trumpets. Do you play a Bach? Here is a list of serial numbers so you can find out how old your trumpet is.