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‘Tolsen’ Is Tops

August 11, 2006

Affectionately known by his students as “Tolsen,” Associate Professor of Physics Thomas Olsen was named the 2006 Teacher of the Year for the College of Arts and Sciences.

Nomination letters from students praised Olsen for his approachable and engaging teaching style. “He cares a great deal about his students–that they learn, that they’re successful, and that they’re living a good life,” wrote one student. “He is brilliant without being pretentious and always tries to teach students rather than dazzle them,” wrote another.

Olsen joined the physics faculty at Lewis & Clark in 1982 after serving as a lecturer, teaching assistant, and research assistant at the University of Southern California. He earned his B.S. from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from USC. His research interests include nonlinear dynamics, chaotic systems, and astrophysics. He has published and presented extensively on chaos theory and eclipsing binary star systems.

The top teacher is named each year by members of the Dr. Robert B. Pamplin Jr. Society of Fellows, who solicit nominations from Lewis & Clark’s undergraduate students.

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