Latest Physics Dept. News

Meet the Department

Kuhl Dennis

Dennis Kuhl

Rickey Associate Professor

Dept: Physics


Office: BART 171b

Degrees: Ph.D. (Michigan State), Master's (Michigan State), Bachelor's (Wooster)

Year appointed: 2002

Originally from Canton, Ohio, Dr. Kuhl went to graduate school at Michigan State University where he did research in Surface Physics and was active in a student science outreach group called Science Theatre. After completing his Ph.D. in 1996, he took a postdoctoral appointment with the Center for Science and Mathematics Teaching at Tufts University. He worked with Ronald Thornton, an international leader in the field of Physics Education Research, and studied the use of computer data acquisition to aid student learning of physics concepts. After that he became a faculty member at Bridgewater State College in Massachusetts, where he also ran workshops for in-service science teachers. Dr. Kuhl started at Marietta College in the Fall of 2002. During his time at Marietta, he has served as chair of the physics department and lead faculty member on the development team for the Anderson Hancock Planetarium. He has also won the Innovative Teaching Award and the Douglas Putnam Service Award. His research interests involve the study of thin metal films and the interactions between gases and metal surfaces.

Dr. Kuhl's Homepage



Craig Howald

Craig Howald

Associate Professor

Dept: Physics


Office: BART 171a

Degrees: Ph.D. in Physics (Stanford), 2004; Bachelor's in Physics (Carleton College)

Year appointed: 2004

Dr. Howald holds a doctorate from Stanford University in California and a bachelor's degree from Carleton College in Minnesota. He was named to Phi Beta Kappa, and he published six articles as a graduate student. He also served as a teaching assistant and laboratory instructor at Stanford. Working with student assistants, he has constructed a research laboratory at Marietta College for the purpose of studying and characterizing scanning tunneling microscopes. He is particularly interested in researching design improvements.



Cavendish McKay

Cavendish McKay

Associate Professor

Dept: Physics


Office: Rickey/AHP 143

Degrees: Ph.D. (University of Wisconsin-Madison) B.S., Brigham Young University

Year appointed: 2006

Prior to arriving at Marietta, McKay served as a graduate assistant at Los Alamos National Laboratory before he earned his Ph.D. in physics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Following graduation from Wisconsin-Madison, he spent a year as an instructor at the University of New England.



Dr. Ann Bragg

Ann Bragg

Title: Associate Professor and Director of the Anderson Hancock Planetarium

Department: Physics

Education: Ph.D. in Astronomy, Harvard University, 2004; Master of Arts in Astronomy, Harvard University, 1998; Bachelor of Arts in Physics, Rice University, 1996

Research Interests: I am currently interested in how open star clusters evolve and change over time. Because these changes occur slowly compared to typical human timescales, computer simulations are often required to explore the dynamics. I am also interested in how planetarium lessons affect conceptual learning of astronomy topics.

Recent Publications:

  • Co-author on poster presentation at Spring 2013 OSAPS meeting based on capstone project with students:
    • Jennifer Kachel, Ann Bragg, & Cavendish McKay, 3-D Simulations of Open Star Cluster Evolution Using the King Model.
    • Shelby Lee, Cavendish McKay, & Ann Bragg, Analysis of relaxation time from numerical simulations of open star clusters.
  • Presented a paper entitled The (MC)2 Science Collaborative and Ohio Standards-Based Planetarium Programs at the Anderson Hancock Planetarium at the 2012 meeting of the International Planetarium Society in Baton Rouge, LA. The paper was eventually published in the conference proceedings.
  • Co-author on poster presentation at Spring 2012 OSAPS meeting based on capstone project with student:

    Parker, A., Bard, D. & Bragg, A., The Effects of Improved Photometric Redshifts of Luminous Red Galaxies from SDSS in a Three-Point Galaxy Correlation Function

  • Presented a paper entitled The (MC)2 Science Collaborative and Ohio Standards-Based Planetarium Programs at the AHP at the Fall 2011 meeting of the Great Lakes Planetarium Association in Champaign, IL. The paper was later published in the conference proceedings.
  • Presented a talk entitled The (MC)2 Science Collaborative and Ohio Standards-Based Planetarium Programs at the Anderson Hancock Planetarium at the Ohio Planetarians Meeting in New Wilmington, PA on May 7, 2011.
  • Co-author on poster presentation at Spring 2011 OSAPS meeting based on capstone project with student: Long, Z. & Bragg, A., Determining the Cause of Mass Segregation in h Persei
  • Courses (Fall 2014): Modern Physics and Introduction to Astronomy

    Courses (Spring 2015): Astrophysics, General Physics Lab II, and TBD

    Phone: (740) 376-4589


    What can a student expect when taking one of your classes?

    Students in my astronomy classes can expect to learn how we know what we know, as the process of discovery is often even more interesting than what is actually discovered.

    What excites you about teaching at Marietta College?

    I enjoy teaching a wide variety of students, from physics majors who are committed to the discipline, to non-science majors who choose to take astronomy to fulfill general education requirements. Unlike other, larger, schools where I have taught, the smaller class sizes at Marietta allow much more interaction between students and faculty and thus more opportunity to get to know the students as well-rounded individuals.

    When you aren’t teaching, what other activities do you enjoy?

    Bicycling up and down the hills of Washington County and reading a variety of fiction and non-fiction works.

    Do you prefer flipping through the pages of a book or an e-book?

    A real paper book

    What is your favorite location on campus and why?

    The Anderson Hancock Planetarium! Whether it is being used to teach Marietta College students how we understand our place in the Universe or for outreach to the greater Marietta community, we are lucky to have a first-class star theater on campus.

    What is your favorite Marietta College event?




William A. McNeely, Jr.

William A. McNeely, Jr.

Adjunct Professor

Dept: Physics

Office: Selby 137

Degrees: Ph.D. (Caltech)

Year appointed: 2011

Bill McNeely obtained a Ph.D. in Physics from Caltech in 1971, and for the next 6 years he pursued physics research at DESY in Hamburg, Germany. In 1977 he began working for Boeing Computer Services in Seattle, Washington, developing advanced computer graphics for engineering applications. From 1981 to 1988 he served as chief engineer at the startup company TriVector Inc., creating software products for technical illustration. In 1989 he returned to Boeing and held the position of Technical Fellow, pursuing research in haptic simulation, high-performance computer graphics, and laser communication. After retiring from Boeing in 2009, he took a teaching position with Marietta College in 2011.



Dr. G. Whitmore Hancock

Dr. G. Whitmore Hancock

Emeritus Professor

Dept: Physics


Office: BART 171c


Year appointed: 1968

From teaching atomic physics and quantum mechanics, to serving as the chair of the physics department, Dr. Hancock has played an important role as a long-time professor and advisor to many at Marietta College.

He began teaching physics at Marietta in 1968, fresh out of graduate school at the University of Virginia, where he later obtained his doctorate. He earned entrance into Phi Beta Kappa and the Raven Society. During his more than 32 years at Marietta, Hancock helped develop and implement a revitalized environmental science program and was the coordinator of that program for several years. He also spent a number of years as the Marietta liaison officer for the 3-2 Engineering Binary program.

Outside of his department, he chaired the committee for the Honors programs, served on the committee that developed and oversaw the Master of Arts in Liberal Learning degree, and was one of the original three faculty members who developed the McDonough Leadership Program. He served on the McDonough Faculty Advising Committee and was chair of it for one year.

And though he officially retired in 2000, Hancock has worked part time at the College, assisted in Senior Capstone projects, mentored countless students since that time, and served as an advisor during the development and construction of the Rickey Science Center, which opened in 2003.



Dr. R. Lester Anderson

Dr. R. Lester Anderson

Emeritus Professor

Dept: Physics



Year appointed: 1961

Dr. Anderson first made his appearance at Marietta College in the fall of 1951 as a freshman student enrolled in the College's 3-2 Engineering Binary program, in which he planned to transfer to an engineering school after attending Marietta for three years. But his experiences here created a shift in his future goals and Anderson remained at the College for the entire four years, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 1955 with degrees in mathematics and physics and earning entrance into the Phi Beta Kappa Society. He attended Penn State University, where he was elected into the Sigma Xi Society as an associate member and served six years as an American Petroleum Institute Research Fellow. Upon obtaining a doctorate in 1961, he retuned to Marietta and joined the physics department.

From 1961 until his retirement in 2002, Anderson was deeply involved in many aspects of Marietta College, including serving as the chair of the physics department for the better part of 27 years. In addition to teaching an array of physics courses, he served on numerous committees and mentored hundreds of students and peers during his 41 years at the College. He was involved in establishing portions of the Faculty Handbook bylaws that dealt with evaluating faculty, tenure and review and he helped with the College's establishment of its Master of Arts in Education program.

During his career, he has been linked to organizations such as the American Association of Physics Teachers, the American Physical Society, the Great Lakes Planetarium Association and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, to name a few.

In addition to his work at Marietta, Anderson made it a point to include the surrounding communities in his efforts to emphasize the importance of science. He has brought many children's groups, including Boy Scout troops, to the William Gurley Observatory atop Mills Hall on clear nights to help young people explore the night sky. He has been a regular presenter for the Young Engineers and Scientists Field Day program and hosted observatory open houses for members of the campus and the outlying community during special astronomical events such as lunar eclipses and meteor showers.



Daniel Jones

Daniel Jones

Academic Technician

Dept: Petroleum Engineering