October 23, 2009

Ken Johnson to deliver Emeritus Faculty Lecture

by Tim Crosby

Ken Johnson

CARBONDALE, Ill. -- A retired physics professor will give the 2009 Emeritus Faculty Lecture this year at Southern Illinois University Carbondale.

Ken Johnson, professor emeritus of physics, will speak during the 15th annual lecture set for 7 p.m., Tuesday, No. 10, in the Hiram H. Lesar Law Building Auditorium. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Johnson will give a lecture titled, “Welcome to the Digital World.” The presentation, which will be in non-technical terms, will touch on the logical underpinnings of modern information technology, which is the binary number system. All modern high-tech communications devices, such as cell phones, computers cameras and others, function by using this system.

John Pohlmann, chair of the Emeritus Faculty Organization, said Johnson has a reputation as an outstanding teacher who is able to relate complicated material to a lay audience.

“He is a great communicator with a wonderful sense of humor and a depth of knowledge about technical issues. He is still teaching in retirement and a lot of nominations for him to receive this lectureship came from his current students who are also career professors,” and other professionals, he said.

Pohlmann said the Emeritus Faculty Organization formed in the early to mid-1990s following a large number of faculty retirements. The lecture is just one of the many activities the retired scholars support.

“We have so many capable people who continue to contribute in retirement,” he said.

Johnson earned his doctorate in physics in 1967 at The Ohio State University. He worked for Bell Telephone Laboratories before joining the Department of Physics at SIUC in 1970. He co-authored a leading introductory to physics textbook and retired from SIUC in 1998, but continued teaching through the SIUC Learning in Retirement program.

The SIUC Emeritus and Annuitants Association provides support for the event.