Baylor University
Department of Physics
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Jeff Olafsen

Faculty - Jeff Olafsen Spotlignt

Physics and Faith

Since arriving at Baylor, Dr. Olafsen noted that, “Both my wife and I have felt more complete being faculty at Baylor University where it was not necessary to sacrifice our faith and values nor our interest and love of science. Those two endeavors are not mutually exclusive as some pundits in society would have people believe,” and through Baylor Dr. Olafsen has been able to not only share his knowledge of physics with his students, but his faith as well.

Dr. Jeffrey Olafsen grew up in Panama City, Florida and received undergraduate degrees in both physics and mathematics at the University of Southern Mississippi. He later earned a Master’s and PhD from Duke University in condensed matter physics. After a postdoctoral position at Georgetown University and a prior faculty position, Dr. Olafsen has been happily settled at Baylor since 2006, teaching introductory general physics, statistical mechanics, graduate nonlinear dynamics and chaos and physics research.

Like No Other Place

While there are many things that Dr. Olafsen said he has enjoyed about Baylor, his favorite part about being a professor here has been working with Baylor students. “I have yet to find another university or college with students like those at Baylor University,” he said. “If you’ve ever met someone who is or was a student at Baylor, they’ve definitely made an impression upon you.” Dr. Olafsen is most proud of the research that he has done that has brought recognition to undergraduate student researchers. He takes great pride in helping his undergraduate students work towards publishing articles in physics journals because most students don’t have an opportunity to publish until they are graduate students.

Active in Research

Dr. Olafsen is also active in the field of nonlinear, non-equilibrium and chaotic systems research. “Unlike most fields in physics that are 'vertical' in that they probe deeper and deeper into a particular and increasingly narrow question in science, nonlinear, non-equilibrium and chaotic physics seeks to understand the universal behavior that cuts across scientific disciplines,” he said. Because his research influences and includes many other departments, Dr. Olafsen has had the opportunity to work with many other colleagues from other departments, universities, or institutions.