Introducing Dr. David Kagan
David T. Kagan, Ph.D., Professor of Physics, Emeritus at California State University, Chico generously donated titles to our library such as: Understanding Physics (1966) by Isaac Asimov, Forces and Fields (1965) by M. Hesse, The Picture Book of Quantum Mechanics (1985) by Brandt and Dahmen. We asked him a few questions to find out more about his life and work.
Q: What was your education like? How did you find your career?
A: I graduated from CSU Hayward (now East Bay) with a Bachelor's Degree in Physics in 1977. I immediately began graduate study in physics at the University of California, Berkeley where I earned perhaps the last Ph.D. in atomic spectroscopy in 1981. I became a faculty member at California State University, Chico in the same year. I have been at CSU Chico for nearly forty years.
Q: Please describe your career. Any highlights?
A: The Department of Physics at CSU Chico is a wonderful place where student learning is the top priority. The comradery of the department not only extends through the faculty but also to the students.
Highlight: I was fortunate enough to be the advisor to the Society of Physics Students for about 25 years. During that time our chapter earned Outstanding Chapter Awards twenty times. There was no better chance to really engage with students than working closely with them through SPS.
Q: How did your physics book collection come to be? Does it have a particular focus?
A: I really started to collect physics books back in graduate school. My office was sometimes the go-to place for others to find an old book they needed when it wasn't in the campus library. As my older colleagues retired, they usually made sure to leave their older books with me.
Q: How did you hear about the Niels Bohr Library and Archives as a potential home for your books?
A: As I began to search around the internet for places that might be interested in older physics books, something jogged my memory about the Niels Bohr Library. The staff was terrific and soon many of my books were on their way.
Q: Do you read in your spare time? If so, what?
A: I read or write a good portion of my day. So many resources are on-line which is terrific. However, so many items of significant interest are not online and likely never will be. That's why I'm honored to be part of a professional society [AAPT] that supports the work of places like the Niels Bohr Library.
Q: What do you like to do for fun?
A: I am a bit of a baseball nut. So, I write about physics and baseball. To keep up to speed I'm in the terrible position of being required to watch and attend many games. In addition, I attend conferences on baseball analytics which is driving me to learn a bit about data science.