Chuck NiederriterFaculty

Chuck grew up in Erie, Pennsylvania, a fairly diverse blue collar town on the shores of Lake Erie.His childhood was full of outdoor activities, including hunting, fishing, swimming, boating, hiking, biking, skiing, and snowmobiling.After attending St. Marks Seminary High School, he went on to GannonCollege (now GannonUniversity) to study physics.Gannon was similar to Gustavus in many ways, but different in that it had an engineering program.So, the physics program at Gannon was small.Chuck had one classmate in his graduating class in physics.Being small had its advantages, though.Chuck was involved in several research projects with local companies and had many opportunities for work after graduation.But, he chose to go on to graduate study in physics, initially at IowaStateUniversity, and eventually at OhioUniversity.

At Ohio, Chuck took graduate courses in all areas of physics before beginning work on a project in surface science that stemmed from one of his undergraduate research projects.When some major roadblocks popped up in this project, he decided to use it for a Masters thesis and move to more traditional condensed matter physics for a Ph.D. project.This work in the electrical and optical properties of chalcogenide glasses proceeded quickly and Chuck was able to finish both the Masters and Ph.D. in 1985.By this time Chuck's wife, Debbie, had finished her Masters in physical acoustics, and they and one-year old son, Brad, moved to St. Peter to begin teaching at Gustavus.

Since coming to Gustavus, Chuck has taught virtually every course that the Physics Department offers, from introductory to upper level.During several J-Terms, he co-taught Materials Science with Professor Larry Potts from Chemistry.He and wife, Debbie, have co-taught the Astronomy of the Southern Skies course in New Zealand and Australia several times in January.Chuck has served on virtually all of the standing committees of the faculty, as well as many others.He did a two-year stint as co-director of General Education, with Professor David Fienen, and is currently the Director of the Nobel Conference.

Chuck continues to involve students in his research.For many years, that consisted primarily of electrical and optical properties of glasses and production and properties of thin polymer films.Occasionally there would be time for an astrophysics project, like the building a super-computer application to simulate the formation of the Solar System.Recently many of the projects have revolved around renewable energy.With a lot of student help, Chuck, Professor Jeff Jeremiason, and others have been exploring the feasibility of producing electricity for the campus with wind turbines.They have also studied the use of photovoltaics and energy storage systems, like hydrogen and batteries, as options for Gustavus.


B.S. Gannon, 1978; M.S., Ph.D. Ohio, 1985

Courses Taught

Synonym Title Times Taught Terms Taught
PHY-320 Astrophysics Lab 10 2020/SP, 2016/SP, 2012/SP, 2010/SP, 2008/SP, 2005/SP, 2003/SP, 2001/SP, and 1999/SP
PHY-320 Astrophysics 8 2020/SP, 2016/SP, 2012/SP, 2010/SP, 2008/SP, 2005/SP, 2001/SP, and 1999/SP
PHY-241 Classical Physics III Lab 8 2010/FA, 2009/FA, 2008/FA, 2007/FA, 2001/FA, and 2000/FA
PHY-206 Mechanical Univ Lab 7 2023/SP, 2022/SP, 2017/SP, 2016/SP, 2015/SP, and 2012/SP
PHY-112 Southern Skies 7 2023/JN, 2018/JN, 2011/JN, 2009/JN, 2005/JN, 2003/JN, and 2001/JN
PHY-300 Mechanics 7 2016/FA, 2015/FA, 2014/FA, 2005/FA, 2004/FA, 2003/FA, and 2002/FA
PHY-201 Classical Physics I Lab 7 2005/FA, 2004/FA, 2003/FA, 2002/FA, and 2001/FA
PHY-271 Electronics and Instrumentation Lab 6 2020/SP, 2019/SP, 2018/SP, 2017/SP, and 2008/SP
PHY-360 Optics Lab 6 2015/SP, 2009/SP, 2006/SP, and 2002/SP
PHY-102 Astronomy, Cosmology, and Astrophysics 6 2009/FA, 2004/SP, 2003/SP, 2002/SP, 2001/SP, and 1999/SP
PHY-205 Mechanical Universe 5 2023/SP, 2022/SP, 2017/SP, 2016/SP, and 2015/SP
PHY-305 Experimental Modern Physics Lab 5 2020/FA, 2019/FA, 2018/FA, 2017/FA, and 2016/FA
PHY-305 Experimental Modern Physics 5 2020/FA, 2019/FA, 2018/FA, 2017/FA, and 2016/FA
PHY-360 Optics 5 2019/SP, 2015/SP, 2009/SP, 2006/SP, and 2002/SP
PHY-365 Project in Physics 5 2016/SP, 2015/SP, 2010/SP, 2009/SP, and 2008/SP
PHY-216 Electromag. Univ. Lab 4 2022/FA, 2021/FA, and 2014/FA
PHY-270 Electronics and Instrumentation 4 2020/SP, 2019/SP, 2018/SP, and 2017/SP
PHY-121 General Physics I Lab 4 2019/FA and 2015/FA
PHY-196 Cosmic Universe Lab 4 2015/FA, 2013/FA, 2012/FA, and 2011/FA
PHY-221 Classical Physics II Lab 4 2011/SP, 2004/SP, 2000/SP, and 1999/SP
PHY-171 General Physics II Lab 4 2008/SP and 2005/SP
PHY-215 Electromag. Universe 3 2022/FA, 2021/FA, and 2014/FA
FTS-100 FTS:Renewable Energy 3 2018/FA, 2010/FA, and 2007/FA
PHY-195 Cosmic Universe 3 2013/FA, 2012/FA, and 2011/FA
PHY-240 Classical Physics III 3 2007/FA, 2001/FA, and 2000/FA
PHY-200 Classical Physics I 3 2005/FA, 2004/FA, and 2003/FA
PHY-122 General Physics I with Calculus 2 2020/FA and 2000/FA
PHY-244 ST:Online Tutoring/Mentoring 2 2020/SP and 2000/SP
PHY-350 Electromagnetic Theory 2 2013/SP and 2006/SP
PHY-101 Physical World for Elementary Education Majors 2 2010/JN and 2008/JN
CUR-260 Natural World 2 2009/FA and 2008/FA
PHY-268 Career Exploration 2 2006/JN and 2000/JN
PHY-144 ST:Big Data Rev & You 1 2021/JN
PHY-120 General Physics I 1 2020/FA
PHY-204 Engineering Modeling 1 2020/JN
PHY-091 Honors Thesis 1 2018/SP
PHY-399 Senior Seminar 1 2017/FA
MCS-230 App Math Phy/Engineerng 1 2013/SP
PHY-230 Applied Mathematics for Physics and Engineering 1 2013/SP
GEO-344 ST:Our Global Ocean 1 2012/FA
PHY-344 AT:Our Global Ocean 1 2012/FA
CHE-344 ST:Our Global Ocean 1 2012/FA
BIO-344 ST:Our Global Ocean 1 2012/FA
PHY-220 Classical Physics II 1 2011/SP
PHY-172 General Physics II with Calculus 1 2005/SP
PHY-170 General Physics II 1 2005/SP
CHE-202 Materials Science 1 2002/JN
PHY-340 Condensed Matter Lab 1 2000/SP
PHY-340 Condensed Matter 1 2000/SP
Courses prior to Spring semester 1999 are not displayed.