University of Minnesota
School of Physics & Astronomy
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Brian P. Borovsky (Ph.D., Physics, 1998)


I am a faculty member in the Physics Department at St. Olaf College.

I teach a wide variety of classes for both physics majors and non-majors. Some recent highlights include quantum mechanics, electronics with computer interfacing, and advanced laboratories. In the fall of 2008, I will teach a new course that takes a look at the development of modern science since the sixteenth century, combining lab work with historical readings and philosophical inquiry. This course will be team-taught with a member of the philosophy department. We hope that this course, to be called the Science Conversation, will expand into a year-long general education program for sophomores. My research program is based on campus and investigates the fundamental origins of friction. My research students and I use proximal probes and quartz crystal microbalances to study the frictional properties of organic monolayer films applied to high-speed microscopic contacts. The primary application of this research is to improve the performance and reliability of micro-machined devices, especially those with moving and rubbing contacts. Such devices have shown great promise in the areas of communication and medicine, but have yet to overcome significant technical challenges related to surface forces. My wife, Tory, and I live
in Northfi eld, Minnesota. We are now expecting our first child. We
really enjoy living in Minnesota. Tory is originally from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, so the winters are a real challenge for her!