"He was explaining to us the way an orbit works when he walked out of one of the side doors of the classroom and suddenly appearing to be walking back into the classroom from the other side. It was hilarious. The whole auditorium laughed," said Sherry Flores.
Dr. Dwight Russell is known for holding the attention of all students- majors and non-majors alike. It's no wonder his descriptive astronomy class quickly hits maximum enrollment each semester.
"Dr. Russell is able to explain to students complicated theories and yet have us actually entertained," said Sherry.
Dr. Russell teaches a variety of undergraduate and graduate students, serving as a professor for the Physics department, an advisor and a mentor.
"After answering a question I had, he asked me if I understood; I told him I had not. He turned to me and sincerely thanked me for being honest, then proceeded to answer the question in another way. Because of his response, I felt comfortable being honest with him and encouraged to ask questions in the future," said Amy Robertson.
Dr. Russell also leads students in research activities. His focus is materials science, trying to understand the quantum-mechanical properties of solids, including their surface properties, defects and the effects of radiation.
Getting to Baylor
Dr. Russell received his bachelor's degree summa cum laude from the Western Kentucky University. He received his master's and doctoral degrees from Vanderbilt University.
Upon graduation he began working as a research associate at Vanderbilt University. In 1989 he obtained his first teaching job as an assistant professor at the University of Texas at El Paso. Twelve years later he reached Baylor University.
He decided to teach at Baylor, because of the "faith based environment and the quality of the school," said Dr. Russell.
If he wasn't a physics professor, "I would be a foliage artist or doing sound effects on movies," said Dr. Russell.
But in actuality, he had never given his profession another thought besides physics, "I guess you would have to ask my father why I wanted to become a physics professor, he was a physicist. And now I am too," said Russell.
Dr. Russell spends his time outside the university teaching a Sunday school class at Columbus Avenue Baptist church and helping out in the Boy Scout Merit Badge College as a counselor for the electronics merit badge. He also has been active in the Texas Section of the American Physical Society and is a past chair of that organization.