Rowan professor named outstanding Society of Physics Students advisor


Dr. Samuel Lofland, Society of Physics Students (SPS) advisor and physics professor at Rowan University, has been honored as the 2008 SPS Outstanding Chapter Advisor.

Dr. Samuel Lofland, Society of Physics Students (SPS) Advisor and physics professor at Rowan University, has been honored as the 2008 SPS Outstanding Chapter Advisor.

The award, which was presented on February 16 by SPS President Earl Blodgett at the 2009 American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT) Winter Meeting in Chicago, consists of a plaque and a $5,000 prize, with $3,000 going to Lofland and $1,000 going to both the Rowan University Physics Department and the Rowan University Physics Club.

Rowan University has a very active Physics Club, and Lofland is an integral part of its success. The club has won consecutive SPS Outstanding Chapter Awards since 1999-2000, the year Lofland became advisor. Since that time, the Rowan Physics Club has hosted two zone meetings; had two associate zone councilors elected from its chapter; and received three Sigma Pi Sigma Research Awards, two Marsh White Outreach Awards, two Blake Lilly Prizes, two SOCKs (Science Outreach Catalyst Kits) and, most recently, the SPS-Lunar Exploration Neutron Detector (LEND) internship program. Members have attended every zone meeting during Lofland's tenure, and they usually have as many as 10 student presentations at the SPS sessions at AAPT and American Physics Society (APS) conferences.

Andrew Roberts, president of the Rowan University Physics Club, said "[Lofland's] steadfast belief in the Rowan chapter's potential and his infectious enthusiasm for physics has ensured that Rowan SPS isn't just another campus club, but rather a nationally recognized organization committed to the education of both its members and of its community."

Robert Booth, the club's treasurer, added, "Professor Lofland has a way of rallying the troops, so to speak. He has a talent for unifying our SPS chapter, with chants and catch phrases such as ‘top of the food chain' - meaning that we can do anything. He commands a great respect from the student body, perhaps because of the respect that he gives to students."

"I am quite honored to be chosen for this award as it has been presented to many talented and dedicated people, but the accolades bestowed upon me truly belong to the students," said Lofland.  "It was [the students] who nominated me and it is their hard work and commitment that led to the numerous chapter awards.  I just serve as a conduit to present them with ideas and opportunities and they do the rest.  I am very proud of them."

Lofland earned his Ph.D. from the University of Maryland in condensed matter physics in 1995, and he joined Rowan University in 1998. He became advisor for SPS in 1999 and was promoted to associate professor in 2001 and professor in 2004. He is director of materials research at Rowan and a member of the University of Maryland National Science Foundation Materials Research Science and Engineering Center. His research interests include magnetism, superconductivity, thin-film technology, multifunctional composites and bio-imaging. He has published more than 150 papers, most of which had undergraduate coauthors, and his students have gone on to pursue doctorates in physics, math, engineering, chemistry and biochemistry.