Research Scholars in Residence

The Research Scholars in Residence Program was established several years ago as an initiative of the Kennedy Library and has since developed beyond expectations. Now housed in the Division of Research and Economic Development, the program welcomes to campus distinguished scholars from academia and industry who have retired from their primary careers, but by no means from active and involved intellectual lives. Scholars are provided a base from which to work on campus and encouraged to pursue their own interests, in collaboration with Cal Poly faculty and students. We are fortunate to have them as members of the campus community. Their involvement has led to joint research projects with faculty and students, the receipt of new grants from the federal government, mentoring of faculty in the development of grant proposals, and refereed publications citing their Cal Poly affiliation.

If you are interested in tapping into this resource, you are encouraged to contact them, either directly or through our office. In addition, the Research Scholars in Residence Program hosts an evening seminar series, in which Scholars discuss their work in talks suitable for a general audience and open to the local community.

Quarterly Presentations

Upcoming Presentation:

None scheduled; please check back later.

Past Presentations:


Dr. Earlene Craver

B.A. History, Fresno State College
M.A. Economics and Ph.D. History, University of Southern California

Dr. Craver has published on a number of topics in early twentieth century European and American history. Her work on the intellectual migration to the U.S. in the 1920s and 1930s includes “The Emigration of the Austrian Economists,” History of Political Economy (1986) and a 1978 television interview with the 1974 Nobel Memorial prize-winner in economics , Friedrich von Hayek. Her work, “On the Boundary of White: The Cartozian Naturalizaton Case and the Armenians, 1923-1925,” Journal of American Ethnic History (2009), examines a 1923 legal case challenging the admissibility of Armenians to U.S. citizenship. She has also written on the Italian socialist party and labor movement including “The Third Generation: The Young Socialists in Italy, 1907-1915,” Canadian Journal of History (1996). She has previously taught at UC Riverside, University of Kentucky, and other universities including the University of Trento (Italy).

Dr. Bob Field

Dr. Bob Field

B.S. Physics, Case Western Reserve University
M.S. and Ph.D. Experimental Solid State Physics and Laser Spectroscopy, University of Illinois

As a senior scientist at Rocketdyne and Schafer Corporation, Dr. Field designed and analyzed advanced high-energy laser optical systems and advanced optical coatings for high-energy laser and surveillance systems. During his retirement, he has developed informal science education programs including walks, talks, and poster exhibits as a docent for the Morro Bay State Park Museum of Natural History. As an adjunct physics professor at Cal Poly, he has supervised more than two dozen student projects in physics and biology and developed and taught an advanced physics course on solar and global evolution. Dr. Field and his students have investigated structure, composition, and energy flow in the interiors and/or atmospheres of the Sun, Earth, Venus, and Jupiter. He has built Mathcad models to solve differential equations of stellar and planetary structure and evolution. He and a student developed Mathcad and/or NetLogo "diffusion-style" models of thermal conduction, radiative transport, and thermal convection in the interior and atmosphere of Jupiter. He currently is developing Mathcad models to investigate cosmological properties of our expanding flat universe from its earliest days to the far future. Using the Friedmann equation, the models explore the 13.8 billion year evolution of composition, density, temperature, cosmic scale factor, recession velocity, and acceleration. Models may include the early inflationary period that is believed to have flattened the universe in a small fraction of a second after the Big Bang. His current goals are to collaborate with students, teachers, and other professionals to develop a cosmic evolution project website that highlights the evolutionary history of the universe, the solar system, the Earth and its geobiosphere, and brains and tools, and to develop simple math models and animations of the structure and evolution of complex natural systems.

Dr. Russ Genet

Dr. Russell M. Genet

B.S. Electrical Engineering, University of Oklahoma
M.S. Logistics Management, Air Force Institute of Technology
Ph.D. Astronomy, Union Institute and University

Dr. Genet has taught courses in electronics, mathematics, communications, astronomy, history, and sociology at a variety of institutions in California, Ohio, Mississippi, and Arizona, as well as individualized aircraft flight training. He currently teaches general astronomy courses at Cuesta College and specialized short courses at Cal Poly, where he recently chaired a conference on small telescope astronomical research. Early in his career, Dr. Genet designed guidance systems for rockets and developed gyroscope and accelerometer tests. He also designed a reentry plasma experiment for the Gemini space capsule. In the area of systems analysis, he developed computer simulation models of rockets and aircraft, including the first computerized life-cycle cost models. He has also applied medical diagnostic mathematical analysis techniques to equipment fault detection and developed aircraft flight training simulators. In the area of astronomy, Dr. Genet has authored and edited several books and papers, organized symposia, and appeared in television documentaries. He founded the Fairborn Observatory on Mt. Hopkins, Arizona, where he developed automatic telescopes and helped establish the first fully robotic observatory. Dr. Genet has been working with faculty and students in Mechanical Engineering and Physics at Cal Poly, developing research telescopes that explore the application of recent technological advancements. Dr. Genet has also organized several local workshops and a conference on Small Telescopes and Astronomical Research.

Dr. Ted Hill

Dr. Theodore P. Hill

B.S. United States Military Academy at West Point (Distinguished Graduate)
M.S. Operations Research, Stanford University
M.A. and Ph.D. Mathematics, University of California, Berkeley
Fulbright Scholar, University of Goettingen in Germany and NSF-NATO Postdoctoral Scholar, Leiden University in the Netherlands

Dr. Hill is Professor Emeritus of Mathematics at the Georgia Institute of Technology. He has also held visiting research positions at universities in the Netherlands, Mexico, Israel, Hawaii, Germany, and Costa Rica, as well as at various American universities including U.C. Berkeley and Washington University. Dr. Hill’s major area of research is the mathematical theory of probability, with particular emphasis on the three fields of optimal stopping, fair division, and Benford’s Law. (An interview with Ted about Benford’s Law appears in Episode 4 of the 2020 Netflix series Connected: The Hidden Science of Everything.)  In 2017, the American Mathematical Society published his memoir, Pushing Limits: From West Point to Berkeley & Beyond, in hardcover.  A paperback version of this memoir (under the new title Pushing Limits: Memoir of a Maverick from Soldier to Scholar) is now available on Amazon.

leopold selker

Dr. John P. O'Connell

B.A., Pomona College
B.S.and M.S., Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley

Dr. O’Connell is Professor Emeritus at the University of Virginia. He was on the faculty at Virginia for 25 years, following 22 years at the University of Florida. He has been a Visiting Scholar or faculty member in Denmark, The Netherlands, New Zealand, and Portugal. His interests include molecular thermodynamic modeling for phase equilibrium and physical properties, especially for process design; molecular simulation of micellar structure and of fluid properties; adsorption and surface diffusion; properties modeling for hydrophobic chromatography bioprocessing; and thermodynamic analysis and property models for thermochemical decomposition of water to manufacture hydrogen and of chemical absorption of CO2. Dr. O’Connell has published more than 150 journal articles and coauthored 6 books, including the reference book, Properties of Gases and Liquids, 5th Ed., and the textbook, Thermodynamics: Fundamentals for Applications. He is a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) and the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (AIChE); he was chair of the AIChE Fellows from 2004 to 2013, and has been an editor of Fluid Phase Equilibria. Dr. O’Connell was elected to the AIChE Board of Directors in 2014 and was named National Outstanding AIChE Student Chapter Advisor in 1981 and 2013.

leopold selker

Dr. Leopold G. Selker

A.B, Canisius College
M.S., Duke University
Ph.D., Texas A&M University
M.M. (M.B.A.), Northwestern University

Dr. Leopold Selker is a former President of the NorthShore University HealthSystem (NorthShore) Research Institute, the nation's ninth largest comprehensive hospital based research program. Prior to NorthShore he was Dean of the College of Applied Health Sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago. Dr. Selker, who has held over 50 national-level appointments, is a recognized authority on aging-related health policy, health promotion and disease prevention, and gerontology. A former Scholar in Residence at the Institute of Medicine, National Academy of Sciences (NAS), Dr. Selker has served as a member of its Committee on Health Promotion and Disability Prevention and of the NAS/NRC Planning Committee on the National Information Infrastructure in Healthcare. He has held consultative appointments with numerous foundations including the Pew Charitable Trusts, The Kellogg Foundation, the Commonwealth Fund and the Hartford Foundation.

Previous Research Scholars

Dr. George Bekey, Research Scholar 2007-2018

B.S. University of California Berkeley, M.S. and Ph.D University of California Los Angeles

George A. Bekey received a B.S. in electrical engineering from the University of California at Berkeley, and his M.S. and Ph.D. in engineering from UCLA.  He worked on analog computers at Beckman Instruments in Richmond, California, and on control and guidance of satellites and space vehicles at Space Technology Laboratories in El Segundo, California, before accepting a position as Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at the University of Southern California (USC) in 1962.

During his 40-year USC career he was Chairman of the Electrical Engineering Department and later of the Computer Science Department.  He was also the founder of the USC Robotics Research Laboratory. From 1997 to 2001 he served as Associate Dean for Research of the School of Engineering.  He formally retired from USC in 2002, where he is now an Emeritus Professor, and continues to be active on a part-time basis.  Since 2003 he has been affiliated with Cal Poly, as a Research Scholar in Residence and an adjunct professor of engineering.

His research interests include autonomous robotic systems, applications of robots in biology and medicine, and human-robot interaction.  He has published over 240 papers and several books in robotics, biomedical engineering, computer simulation, control systems, and human-machine systems.  His latest book, entitled Autonomous Robots, was published by MIT Press in 2005. He is the founding editor of the two major international journals in robotics.  Dr. Bekey’s current interests include the theory and design of altruistic robots, as well as the study of robot ethics, both in the military and in medical applications.  Dr. Bekey is a member of the National Academy of Engineering and a Fellow of the IEEE, the AAAI, and the AAAS.  He has received numerous awards from professional societies and from USC.

Dr. Thomas Bonnicksen, Research Scholar 2007-2010

B.S., M.S and Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley
Dr. Thomas Bonnicksen received a B.S. in forestry, an M.S. in forest ecology, and a Ph.D. in forest policy from the University of California, Berkeley.  He held the positions of Professor of Forestry at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, and Forest Science Department Head at Texas A&M University, where he is now Professor Emeritus. 

Dr. Bonnicksen has held leadership posts in several organizations, including the Forest Foundation, Temperate Forest Foundation, International Society for Ecological Restoration, Sierra Club, and Society of American Foresters.  He was a member of the California State Park and Recreation Commission, has drafted park- and forest-related legislation, testified before Congress, and served on a number of Congressional and State fact-finding commissions and advisory boards.

Dr. Bonnicksen’s work has consistently focused on the history and restoration of North America’s forests.  In 1994 and 1995, he developed science-based strategies to deal with the wildfire threat in San Bernardino Mountain forests and San Diego County brushlands.  Most recently, he created the Forest Carbon and Emissions Model (FCEM), which quickly and inexpensively estimates forest carbon and emissions information, using easily accessible data, on wildfires, insect infestations, and sequestered carbon on forestlands and brushlands.  This program is especially important for dealing with issues associated with global climate change.

Dr. Bonnicksen has authored over 120 publications, including a book, as well as computer programs and multimedia CDs.  He has made over 100 presentations worldwide and appeared frequently on television and radio.  He has received numerous awards, among them the Bush Excellence in Public Service Award of which he was the first recipient.

Dr. John S. Dunning, Research Scholar 2007-2022

B.S., M.S., Ph.D. Electrochemical Engineering, University of California, Los Angeles
From 1971 to 1988, Dr. Dunning served as Assistant Head of the Electrochemistry Department at the General Motors Research Laboratories. In 1988, he established the West Coast Operations office and laboratories of General Motors’ Delco Remy Division. In 1997, he joined General Motors Advanced Technology Vehicle Platform, where he managed multinational programs for the United States Advanced Battery Consortium (USABC) and the Program for a New Generation Vehicle. Dr. Dunning’s primary research area has been electrochemical energy conversion and storage. He developed batteries and fuel cells for transportation applications, as well as specialized electrochemical and chemical processes. He also developed a battery for the Impact prototype vehicle, later the production EV-1. His work has supported motor and motor control development, hybrid vehicles such as the GM-Allison Hybrid Transit Bus, and other advanced battery test equipment. After retiring from General Motors, Dr. Dunning established Epsilon Research Services, a consulting firm that assists business, government, academic and public policy clients in developing advanced technology for the transportation, defense, health and energy sectors. He also served as Executive Director of Electricore from 2001-2004. This non-profit organization collaborates with industry and universities for design, demonstration, and deployment of advanced technologies in private-public partnerships with the Departments of Defense, Energy, Transportation and others. Dr. Dunning’s contributions include patents and publications in the field of electrochemical engineering. He has been active in electric vehicle competitions, where he has set world records for fast charging and quick-change battery technology and electric vehicle racing. He has given numerous presentations worldwide and served on advisory boards for the U.S. Department of Energy and international organizations. His R&D teams have received both the General Motors President’s Council Honors Award and the prestigious Kettering Award.

In Memoriam

Dr. George Alers, Research Scholar 2007-2018

B.A. Physics, Rice University
M.S. and Ph.D. Solid State Physics, State University of Iowa

Dr. Alers has performed basic research into the properties of solids, primarily metals, at Westinghouse Research Laboratories, Ford Motor Company Scientific Laboratory, and the Science Center of Rockwell International. He was President and CEO of a small business performing advanced development of ultrasonic sensors for nondestructive testing of structural materials. He also served as group leader for new methods of quantitative nondestructive evaluation at the National Institute for Standards and Technology (NIST). His major areas of research have included: crack formation and propagation in single-crystal metals; elastic and anelastic properties of metals under extreme conditions of pressure, temperature and magnetic fields; and ultrasonic wave propagation in structural materials and anisotropic solids. Dr. Alers’ current interests include: electromagnetic excitation and detection of ultrasonic waves in metal structures without physical contact, i.e., across an air gap; and precision measurement of the velocity of sound and its attenuation, to assess the mechanical integrity of large engineering structures such as aircraft, bridges, pipelines, and railroad components.

Dr. Roger Grismore, Research Scholar 2007-2015

Dr. Grismore passed away on April 19, 2015.

B.S. Computer Science, Coleman College (San Diego)
B.S., M.S., Ph.D. Physics, University of Michigan in Ann Arbor

Dr. Grismore held the positions of Associate Professor of Physics at Lehigh University, Professor of Physics at Indiana State University, Terre Haute, and Lecturer and Research Professor of Physics at Cal Poly. He also served as an Assistant and Associate Physicist at Argonne National Laboratory, a Senior Specialist in Physics at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, and as Staff Scientist and Senior Scientist at Jaycor in San Diego. His major areas of research have been in experimental physics, particularly in the fields of nuclear physics, oceanography and astrophysics. His current research interests focus on measuring radioactivity in artifacts recovered from space, using the highly sensitive, multidimensional gamma-ray spectrometer that he built at Cal Poly. The purpose of this research is to learn as much as possible about the radioactive atoms present in space in order to help theoretical astrophysicists develop theories on the formation of the solar system and galaxies. To further this research, he obtained a contract with the NASA/Johnson Space Center in Houston, which designated him as a Lunar Sample Investigator and allowed him to borrow space samples from NASA. As a result of his research his biography has been included in Who’s Who in America, Who’s Who in the World, Who’s Who in American Education, Who’s Who in Science and Engineering, and American Men and Women of Science.

Dr. Axel Leijonhufvud, Research Scholar 2011-2022

Dr. Leijonhufvud passed away on May 2, 2022.

Bachelors Degree, University of Lund
M.A., Economics, University of Pittsburgh
Ph.D., Economics, Northwestern University

Dr. Leijonhufvud is Professor Emeritus at the University of California at Los Angeles, where he was on the faculty for more than 30 years. He started the Center for Computable Economics at UCLA and was its Director from 1991 until 1997. He was awarded an honoris causa doctoral degree by the University of Lund, and was appointed Professor of Monetary Theory and Policy at the University of Trento in Italy, where he is also part of the Computable and Experimental Economics Laboratory. He is one of the pre-eminent Keynesian economists of the second half of the twentieth century and has published a widely used scholarly book, On Keynesian Economics and the Economics of Keynes. He is one of the first scholars to work in the area of computational macroeconomics, a field using computers to study the aggregate effects of bounded rationality of agents in complex systems.

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