Professor Ben Luce brings a wide variety of experience to bear on his teaching. A physicist, musician, and student of the Chinese language, he returned in 2008 to live among the beautiful mountains of Vermont (which he holds dear) after a number of years in New Mexico, where he advocated with environmental nonprofits to pass significant renewable energy legislation in the state. He also spent 14 years at the Los Alamos National Laboratory in the theoretical physics division, where his specialty was nonlinear dynamics, a branch of which is known colloquially as “chaos theory”. This background sensitized him to the potential for rapid global climate change and inspired his current focus on sustainability and renewable energy.
So it may seem somewhat hum-drum for him to enter the undergraduate academic world, where he is teaching introductory physics, among other topics. Not so, he says. The roots of quantum mechanics and relativity theory lie in basic physics, he explains. “I love interacting with students, and I continue to find lots of profundity and also great practical power in even basic physics. I also seek to inspire a new generation committed to a sustainable future, which is hard to accomplish at a research laboratory.”
Besides physics, Professor Luce holds a B.S. in Sound Recording and plays the piano, banjo, and guitar. He is also an avid hiker and photographer of fungi and other denizens of the forest.