Personal data :

I do not list my address and telephone number here, to prevent circulation of my personal information to people who might misuse it. Those who need that information can contact me by email.
Other: Born Dec. 10, 1936. Married, no children.


Ph.D. in Physics, Dec. 1983, The Pennsylvania State University.
M.S. in Physics, 1962, The University of Iowa.
B.A. in Liberal Arts/Physics, 1959, The University of Iowa.
High School graduation, 1955, Valedictorian.
Elementary and Secondary School: Walker Consolidated School, Walker, Iowa.

Honors and Awards:

Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society (Penn State University) 1972.
Van Allen Physics Scholarship (University of Iowa) 1958-59.
Phi Eta Sigma national honorary fraternity (University of Iowa), 1956-57.
University of Iowa Merit Scholarship, 1955-56 and 1956-57.

Employment [chronological order]:

Teaching and research assistantships in physics at the University of Iowa from 1956 (sophomore year) through 1961 (graduate school).
Instructor of Physics, Mankato State College, 1961-1964.
Assistant Prof. of Physics, Lock Haven State College, 1964-1973.
Associate Prof. of Physics, Lock Haven State College, 1973-1983.
Professor of Physics, Lock Haven University, 1983-1999. (LHSC's name changed to Lock Haven University of Pennsylvania in 1983)
Retired, Jan 1, 1999.

Research experiences

  1. 1980-82 condensed matter research project at the Pennsylvania State University under Dr. Anthony Baratta.
  2. 1957. Research expedition doing high altitude studies of cosmic rays using instrumented rockoons, near the Arctic circle, with Dr. James A. Van Allen, University of Iowa.


  1. Editor, The Vector an informal Lock Haven University publication, 1976 to 1991.
  2. Anisotropy of Conduction Electron Scattering from Vacancies in Copper. Ph.D. Thesis, Department of Physics, The Pennsylvania State University, Dec. 1983.
  3. Simanek, D. E., Baratta, Lodder and Ehrlich. "Conduction Electron Scattering from Vacancies in Copper. "Physical Review B, 36, 9082 (15 Dec 1987).
  4. Baratta, A. J., Lodder and Simanek. "Calculation of Conduction Electron Scattering Rates from Vacancies in Copper and Gold." Physical Review B, 36, 9088 (15 Dec 1987).
  5. Simanek, D. E. "Constructive Fun." The Physics Teacher. (Feb 1994).
  6. Simanek, D. E. and John C. Holden Science Askew. The Institute of Physics Publishing, 2002. An anthology of science humor.
  7. From 2007 to 2012 I wrote a regular column titled Toys, Tricks and Teasers for MAKE: magazine, and wrote occasional feature articles for them.
  8. Book reviews in MAKE:, Skeptic, The Skeptical Inquirer and Physics Today.

Membership in professional societies:

  1. American Association of Physics Teachers (AAPT).
  2. The Central Pennsylvania Section of AAPT.
  3. The Southeastern Pennsylvania Section of AAPT.

Computer experience:

  • MS-DOS and Windows computer systems.
  • Computer languages: Fortran and Basic.
  • WordPerfect, DesignCad, MathCad, Maple, photomanipulation.
  • HTML.
Since 1997 I have developed and maintained a web site devoted to physics education, science and pseudoscience, skepticism, philosophy of science and other topics. This site has received favorable comment from Physics Today, The Physics Teacher, The New Scientist, Science, The Chronicle of Higher Education, and The London Sunday Times.

Areas of special interest:

  • History and philosophy of science.
  • The science/pseudoscience boundary.
  • Photography (Stereo).
  • Visual illusions.
  • Meccano/Erector designs for physics demonstrations and laboratory.
  • Concept development in physics.

Invited lectures at professional meetings:

I have given invited lectures at various colleges and universities in Pennsylvania and Iowa since the early 1970s, generally several per year. This list is only a small sampling. See this link for my complete list of Illustrated Lectures.
  1. The Continuing Conflict Between Science and Religion. Fiftieth Anniversary Science Conference at Wilkes College, March 1983. Sponsored by the Society of Sigma Xi.
  2. An Outsider's View of the Creation/Evolution Controversy. Association of Pennsylvania College and University Biologists. Lock Haven University, Oct. 1983.
  3. It'll Never Work; a History of How New Scientific Ideas are Received. Society of Automotive Engineers, Williamsport Group. February 9, 1987.
  4. The Museum of Unworkable Devices. Myths, Mysteries and Legends conference of the Committee for the Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal (CSICOP). October, 2003.

Other invited lectures:

Since 1977 I have been available as a guest speaker for physics student groups, physics colloquia, and honor societies, and have been listed in the resource book of the Society of Physics Students/Sigma Pi Sigma. These lectures are on a variety of subjects, centering around history and philosophy of science, and the science/pseudoscience borderline, intended to heighten student awareness of science in a broader sense than the narrowly technical focus of formal courses. I've averaged about 4 or 5 speaking engagements per year during this time. Recent examples, since 1988:
  1. Mistakes in Physics. The undergraduate physics colloquium series. The Pennsylvania State University. April 19, 1988.
  2. Scientists and the Spirits. Physics Colloquium, Lycoming College. Oct 31, 1990.
  3. Eighteenth Century Science, Society of Sigma Xi "Albert Einstein Memorial Lecture." March 4, 1992.
  4. Physics Follies. Sigma Pi Sigma annual dinner, Rutgers University. April 28, 1992.
  5. Eighteenth Century Science, Lehigh University, physics colloquium, Oct 7 1993.
  6. It'll Never Work! Lehigh University, public lecture, Oct 7 1993.
  7. Perpetual Motion as a Teaching Tool. Lehigh University, physics colloquium, November 14, 1996.
Here's a list of my other Illustrated Lectures.

Contributed papers delivered at professional meetings since 1988:

  1. Perverted Physics For Pedagogical Purposes. Southeastern Pa Section AAPT Annual Meeting. Mar 26, 1988.
  2. Mistakes in Astronomy: Lowell and the Canals of Mars. Central Pennsylvania Consortium Astronomers Meeting. Franklin and Marshall College. Apr 30, 1988.
  3. Two papers: (1) Legends, Lies, and Cherished Myths of Physics History. (2) Paraxial Ray Tracing (original interactive computer simulation/tutorial/demo). CPS-AAPT/SPS Annual meeting. Millersville University. April 20, 1990.
  4. The Physics of Unworkable Devices. Northeast Regional AAPT Meeting, Rutgers Univ. Oct 19, 1990.
  5. Two papers: (1) Some Forgotten Graphical Methods in Optics. (2) The Dangers of Analogies. Northeast Regional AAPT meeting, Princeton, March 21, 1992.
Speaking invitations are always welcome. Send inquires to this address.

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