Physics Demonstration Laboratory Manager Warren Smith has been selected to receive a 2012 Staff Achievement Award from the College of Literature, Science, and Arts. He will receive the Outstanding Individual Employee Award this week. Warren’s primary responsibility is to maintain and set up the lecture demonstrations used in many of the physics classes, to work with faculty in developing new demonstrations and to teach demonstration users how to safely operate the demonstrations in the classroom.

The key to engaging students is to show them that science is exciting and directly relevant to their everyday lives. Warren has accomplished just this idea as he leads the development of unique instructional tools that assist lecturers in the delivery of their courses. The repertoire of lecture demonstration experiments, offered by Warren and his staff, is unparalleled.

“Demonstrations really are the key to teaching students,” Professor and Graduate Chair of the Department of Astronomy Jon M. Miller states. “Showing students how a jet engine really works, how gravity really works, how electricity travels across air, how and why a bicycle stays upright, and so on – this is the secret to getting students to learn physics and astronomy. The demonstrations that the Physics Demonstration Lab puts together are clear, simple, and engaging. Warren leads these efforts, and he is a major driver behind making these classes a success.”

Warren is also the “behind-the-scenes” person in the Saturday Morning Physics public lectures ensuring the lectures run smoothly and are engaging along with providing advice to the presenters. Warren is a mentor to the Society of Physics Student’s outreach program at local schools and the Hand’s on Museum as well as to his staff; some of whom go on to technically demanding jobs.

The College of Literature, Science and the Arts established the annual Staff Achievement Awards Program in order to recognize exceptional staff contributions to the success of the College. The program provides LSA with another opportunity to thank staff for the valuable work performed throughout the year.