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Transdisciplinary faculty role bridges engineering and physics

March 10, 2021

Assistant Professor Stanislav Baturin, Ph.D. has the rare opportunity to bridge the science of physics and engineering through a unique transdisciplinary faculty affiliation with NIU’s Department of Physics and Department of Electrical Engineering.

Originally from Yoshkar-Ola, Russia, he obtained a Ph.D. in theoretical and mathematical physics, an M.S. and B.S. in quantum electrodynamics of atomic systems from St. Petersburg State University in Russia. He is currently working with Argonne National Laboratories on particle accelerator research that he began in Russia prior to coming to the U.S.

“The synergy of teaching two disciplines provides students with a diverse and enriching learning experience,” said Dean Donald Peterson, Ph.D. of the College of Engineering and Engineering Technology. “We are so grateful to have Stas on our faculty. We hope to form more of these transdisciplinary teaching affiliations with other NIU colleges in the future.”

“Students benefit the most through joint appointments like this one,” said Robert Brinkmann, dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. “There are many natural links between physics and engineering in research and applied settings and this appointment helps students cultivate broad connections at NIU.”

Q & A with Professor Baturin

CEET: Tell us about your double affiliation with CEET and the Department of Physics? How do these complement your teaching?

Professor Baturin: “As a dual affiliated faculty, I teach in both colleges and have to account for the different goals and sometimes even different backgrounds of Engineering and Physics students. For example, engineering students are more oriented toward practical results and things that they can create and prefer this to a hardcore theory, while some physics students like to see more math and more rigorous derivations in class.”

CEET: What do you like about teaching at NIU?

Professor Baturin: “I like the environment and I really enjoy the campus. I like how diverse the students are and that there are so many students that come from completely different backgrounds.”

CEET: Tell us about your current research with the Argonne National Laboratory.

Professor Baturin: “My current research is an extension of the work that I started while I was a PhD student in Russia. My main research focus is future particle accelerators that will enable studies of the new physics. I work on a variety of projects ranging from theory and almost mathematical problems to specific hardware and software development needed to conduct experiments or to enable new experimental capabilities at the facilities that I work with. My main collaborators are SLAC National Laboratory, Los Alamos National Laboratory and of course Argonne. At Argonne I am closely collaborating with the Argonne Wakefield Accelerator group.”

CEET: What advice would you give a prospective student?

Professor Baturin: “Hard work and dedication to the things you do, that is what stands behind any achievement and any advance, be it a scientific discovery or just a decent job offer. Work hard and do not be discouraged if things do not work out from the first try, just keep going.”