Q. Charles Su

Illinois State University professor Q. Charles Su.

Distinguished Professor of Physics Q. Charles Su will deliver Illinois State University’s Distinguished Professorship Lecture at 7 p.m. Thursday, April 5, in the Prairie Room of the Bone Student Center. The event is free and open to the public.

Su is a computational and theoretical physicist. His presentation will examine how the concept of infinity helps us understand the intricate structure of the vacuum and what may cause the vacuum to break.

As a co-director of the Intense Laser Physics Theory Unit (ILP) at Illinois State University, Su received multiple grants from the National Science Foundation (NSF), the Department of Energy, and the Research Corporation. He began his career in the Department of Physics at Illinois State in 1994 and became a full professor in 2002. He has been recognized numerous times during his tenure for both teaching and research, receiving the teaching Initiative Award in 1998, the Outstanding College Research Award in 2002, and the Outstanding University Research Award in 2003. He has also been a College of Arts and Sciences Distinguished Lecturer. Prior to the Distinguished Professor honor, Professor Su had held the University Professor honor since 2011. He was elected a Fellow of the American Physical Society (APS).

Su’s NSF grants, along with Professor Rainer Grobe, have been the largest research grants in atomic molecular and optical (AMO) physics theory offered to an undergraduate institution as well as ranked in the top five of AMO theory grants given to all institutions. Distinguished Professors Su and Grobe shared the 2006 Prize for Faculty Research in an Undergraduate Institution given by the American Physical Society.

Su has been the principal investigator or co-PI on research grants issued by the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Energy, Research Corporation, and the NSF-China for a total that exceeds $2.5 million, and was inducted into the University’s Million Dollar Club. He has more than 167 peer-reviewed research articles with many in the flagship physics journal Physical Review, and his work has had over 3,500 citations. He has been invited to present at international conferences and research institutes in 19 countries and his research work has been featured in the national and local press, TV, and radio.

The Distinguished Professor designation honors faculty who have achieved national recognition for scholarly research or leadership; been clearly identified by students, colleagues, or external agencies as an outstanding teacher; and have contributed significant public service within the academic discipline.