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Department of Physics Faculty

U of M Physics Dept. Celebrates Its 46th Anniversary and the University’s 100th

U of M Physics Department alumni and retirees joined current faculty and students on Nov. 20 for a Centennial year celebration of that department. Mr. Lewis O’Kelly, retired assistant professor of physics, recounted the history of the department and some of the highlights of its 46-year existence. The group also watched a film of some of the grandest of the fascinating experiments that Dr. Robert Marchini, faculty emeritus, who taught physics full-time for 44 years, had conducted during his tenure in the department. Dr. Marchini’s enthusiasm and showmanship during those experiments made him a popular figure on, and off, the U of M campus.

Most of the 70 people who attended the event formed teams to compete in "The Marshmallow Challenge," using marshmallows and uncooked spaghetti noodles to create tall, free-standing structures. Faculty, students and alumni got to know each other well as they worked together during the fun, fast-paced contest which was led by current faculty member Dr. Elizabeth Gire.

In addition to celebrating the department’s 46th anniversary and the University’s 100th Centennial, the event served as a fund-raiser for the Robert R. Marchini Scholarship in Physics. The donation total so far is almost the amount needed to endow the scholarship fully, but scholarship administrators are seeking gifts to complete the endowment process. Persons interested in giving to the scholarship can find information online at

The Physics Department Centennial observance was organized by U of M astronomy professor Joanne Rhodes, who teaches in that department.

Donate to the Robert R. Marchini Scholarship
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Last Updated: 5/7/13