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Dr. Richard Olenick

Dr. Richard Olenick

Professor and Chair
Department of Physics
University of Dallas
1845 E. Northgate Dr.
Irving, TX 75062



B.S. in Physics, Illinois Institute of Technology
M.S., Ph.D. in Physics, Purdue University Complete Curriculum Vitae

Professional Achievements

Dr. Olenick was Associate Project Director of the PBS Series The Mechanical Universe and Beyond the Mechanical Universe and also was principal author of the accompanying textbooks. He has received numerous grants from the National Science Foundation and the U.S. Department of Education for physics education. His current project is C3P which developed an inquiry-based curriculum for high school physics.  In 1995 He was named Texas Professor of the Year by the Carnegie Foundation and in 1997 he was named a Minnie Piper Steven Professor.  In 2003 he became the Nancy Cain Marcus and Jeffrey A. Marcus Chair in Science and in 2005 he received the King Award from the University of Dallas, which is the highest honor the University can bestow on a faculty member.  In 2010 he received one of the first Haggerty Teaching Fellow awards, and in 2013 he received a second Haggerty Teaching Fellow awards.

Here's a recent talk on preconceptions in teaching science, entitled Stop!  I Can't Fit Anything More Into My Head!  How Students Learn Science, that I delivered to the National Science Teachers Association Annual Convention on April 1, 2005.

In addition, here are the King Address to Faculty (2006) and the Senior Convocation Address (2007).

Research Interests

Dr. Olenick's research interests include cataclysmic variable research, modeling non-linear phenomena, and physics education. He has supervised the following senior theses at the University of Dallas:

Calculations for Two New Binaries and V1097 Herculis, James Meier, 2012.

Evaluation of Two Transit Algorithms, Matthew Heuser, 2012.

Modeling of Three New Binaries in Hercules, Jeffrey Schniederjan, 2012.

Dispersion-Corrected Rung-3.5 Density Functionals, Jessie Girgis, research completed at Texas Christian University, 2012.

Poison Pill: Using a Blocked Mutant to Study Microtubule Dynamics, Laura Downes, research completed at University of Texas, Southwestern, 2012.

Synthesizing Melon: A Two-Diminsional Carbon Nitride Semiconductor, Adam Collard, research completed at University of Massachusetts, Lowell, 2012.

Data Analysis of the New Dwarf Nova J162520+120309, Kyle Meziere, work done at UD and the Sternberg Astronomical Observatory, Crimea, Ukraine, 2011.

Sumperhumps in V795 Her, Danny Malutich, work done at UD and the Sternberg Astronomical Observatory, Crimea, Ukraine, 2007.

ISE TCAD Semiconductor Pixel Detector Simulations, Gregory Pepin, work done at Purdue University, 2005.

A Performance Analysis of Magnetically Actuated Microvalves, Adam Douglas Papania, work done at Georgia Tech, 2005.

Modeling and Analyzing the CESR-c Lattice, Louis Jamie Antonelli, work done at Cornell University, 2005.

Computational Modeling of Mass Accretion in a Cataclysmic Variable, Alan McLaughlin, 2005.Data Collection and Analysis of the Variable Star V603 Aql, Christian Clerc, 2004.

Data Analysis of the T Tauri Star V1331 Cyg, Joshua Torres, 2004.

Generation of Blue Laser Radiation at 486nm using a PPLN Waveguide, Daniel Mehaffey, work done at the University of North Texas, 2004.

Coulomb Cluster Dynamics: Numerical Simulations, Kurt W. Smith, work done at Baylor University, 2004.

Detection of Delta++/Delta-- Particles in Electron-Position Annihilation Using Wavelet Analysis, Michael Ford, work done at the University of Louisville, 2003.

One Loop Radiative Corrections to Double Dalitz Decays, Jonathan Engle, work done at the University of Colorado, Boulder under Dr. Anthony Barker, 2002.

Meteorological Study of November Tornadoes, Megan McHugh, work done at the University of Oklahoma, 2001.

Classical Modeling of Dark Matter Interactions of Spiral Galaxy Formation, Melvin Laurel, 1998.

Chaotic Behavior of Dipoles in an External Field, Broc Stirton, 1996.

Analysis of Potential Hazard Near Power Lines, Robert A. Haaser, 1995, awarded top undergraduate paper at the Texas APS meeting that year.

Issues in Supercollider Higgs Searches: Computational Application of Theory Addressing Experimental Concerns, Sean Walbran, work done at the SSC under Dr. Ed Wang, 1994.

Measuring Lyapunov Exponents of the Forced Inverted Pendulum, Brian Schwartz, 1994.

Percolation Modeling of Dielectric Breakdown, Brian Smith, 1993, awarded top undergraduate paper at the Texas APS meeting that year.

Animated Poincare Maps for a Chaotic Pendulum, Andrew Hurzeler, 1993.

Poisson Statistics Compatible Curve Fitting Routines, David Ruppert, work done at the University of Wisconsin, 1992.

Monte Carlo Studies of Thin Film Magnetism, Donovan Wesley Hall, work done at Argonne National Laboratory under the supervision of Dr. Katherine Strandburg, 1990.

Test Particle Motion in the Vicinity of Black Holes: A Keplerian and General Relativistic Approach, Jeffrey Laba, 1989.

Fractal Modeling Dielectric Breakdown in Gases, Gregory Lange, 1989, awarded top undergraduate paper at the Texas APS meeting that year.

Relativistic Electron Beam Scattering in Thin Films, Larry Robbins, 1989.

Computer Modeling of Plasma and Stellar Systems, Vincent Higgins, 1989.

Digital Image Processing in Observational Astronomy, Tony Thompson, 1989, awarded top undergraduate paper at the Texas APS meeting that year.


Dr. Olenick enjoys hiking and cross country skiing in the western slopes of Colorado, playing the piano, and having fun with his borzoi (Russian Wolfhounds).


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