Joanne Farley Rhodes graduated from the University of Memphis with a BSEE and a BS in physics. While an undergraduate student she worked in basic research on irradiated thermoluminescent crystals in the Dept. of Physics and began publishing at that time.
After graduation she did research in advanced optical signal processing techniques for DOD. A patent was awarded for her invention developed there with a colleague. The Optical Adaptive Filter was the first real time optical feedback system. The invention and experimental results have been included in two books on optical electronics.
Still at DOD, she returned to research with irradiated crystals for applications in radiation dosimetry. After several years of publishing in the this field of research she returned to the University of Memphis and completed her Master of Science in the Dept. of Physics.
She began teaching part time in 1990 and enjoyed it so much that her interests shifted toward math and physics education.
She has taught in the Dept. of Physics and/or the Dept. of Mathematics at several colleges and universities in Memphis and in St. Louis. Most recently she joined the faculty of the Dept. of Physics at University of Memphis and has been teaching classes in astronomy and conceptual physics here since 2009. The first in the Dept. of Physics to give online exams, she incorporates the use of technology into her classroom in ways which are intended to improve the educational experience of students.
As either a student and/or alum of the University of Memphis Dept. of Physics since 1976 when she took the astronomy class she now teaches, she has seen many changes and events in the Dept. of Physics. A favorite was the 1979 Einstein Centennial spearheaded by the Dept. of Physics and produced in conjunction with other university departments and the greater Memphis community. With an avid historical and current interest in the Dept. of Physics, she coordinated its 2011 Einstein Birthday celebration and its 2012 University of Memphis Centennial event and Marchini Scholarship fundraiser.
She continues to enjoy sharing her passion about physics and astronomy with her students and highly values increasing student science literacy in the process.