Phone: 616-331-2274
Fax: 616-331-3740
Dr. Richard Vallery (Chair)

117 Padnos Hall of Science, 1 Campus Drive
Allendale, MI 49401
Karen Gipson

Dr. Karen Gipson

Professor of Physics
139 Padnos Hall of Science
Department of Physics
Tel: 616-331-2319
Fax: 616-331-3740

  • Ph.D. Washington State University, Pullman, WA  (1997)
  • M.S. North Texas State University,  Denton, TX  (1987)
  • B.S. North Texas State University,  Denton, TX  (1982)

Professional Experience
  • Professor of Physics, Grand Valley State University, Fall 2014 - Present.
  • Associate Professor of Physics, Grand Valley State University, 2005 - 2014.
  • Assistant Professor of Physics, Grand Valley State University, 1999 - 2005.
  • Instructor in  Physics, Washington State University, Spring 1998 - May 1999.
  • Instructor in  Physics, University of Puget Sound, Tacoma, WA, Spring 1998.
  • Instructor in  Physics, Centenary College of Louisiana, Shreveport, LA, 1988 - 1990.
  • Instructor in  Physics, University of North Texas, Denton, TX, Summer 1988.
  • Introductory Physics Laboratory Supervisor, Washington State University, 1996 - 1997.

  1. General Education Courses:  LIB 100, PHY 303, PHY 307.
  2. Lower Division Courses: PHY 220, PHY 221.
  3. Upper Division Courses: PHY 302, PHY 309, PHY 340, PHY 360.

Research Interests
  • Acoustics.
  • Philosophy of Science.

Research with Undergraduates
  • "Parameters affecting Sonoluminescence," GVSU physics major Gerrad Foster is currently extending Aric Meyer’s project on sonoluminescence by investigating other geometries and chemical additives. (2007 - Present)
  • "Vibrational modes of an acoustic guitar," GVSU physics major Cristina Carabeula explored the vibrational modes of an acoustic guitar. Her work involved both identification and visualization of the modes using particle tracers. In addition, she created successful holograms and made important advances towards the construction of an acoustic holography interferometry system. (Winter 2006)
  • "Cavitation caused by ultrasound," GVSU physics major Kenneth Bader is investigated possible consequences of therapeutic ultrasound. His initial work (F03-W04) focused on the threshold for cavitation and the consequent possibility of damage to bone structure. Subsequent work (S04) used a light scattering technique to measure cavitation levels in an attempt to detect microstreaming. Concluding work (F04-W05) "Microsteaming caused by cavitation," focused on direct observation of microstreaming and included quantitative estimates of fluid velocities.
  • “Therapeutic ultrasound,” GVSU biology major David Siik investigated issues related to therapeutic use of ultrasound. (Winter 2003)
  • "Surface waves and fluid properties," GVSU physics major Jeff Johnson investigated the use of surface capillary waves as a non-destructive technique for measuring fluid properties. His laser scattering experiment was successful in measuring viscosity and surface tension of water and could be extended to other unknown fluids. (2001 - 2002).
  • "Velocity profiles and shear stress in laminar and turbulent flows," GVSU physics major T.J. Ellis investigated turbulent flow between two concentric rotating cylinders. His experimental setup was his own design and allowed photographic records of the onset of turbulence. (2000 - 2001).
  • "A study of defective orchestra chime," GVSU physics major J. Scott Sheline investigated defective orchestra chimes.  This work was performed at the request of a chime-tuner at the Yamaha Music Factory in Grand Rapids, Michigan, and successfully identified the cause of problematic "beating" of the chimes. (Summer 2000).
  • "Sonoluminescence: Light from sound,"  GVSU physics major Aric Meyer successfully constructed a functional sonoluminescence chamber. His experimental setup was an original design and lays the groundwork for future research in this domain (1999 - 2000).

Selected Publications
  • 149th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (Vancouver, B.C.) K. Bader and K. Gipson, “Cavitation effects of therapeutic ultrasound: Observations of cavitation activity and microstreaming,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am, Vol. 117 (abstract).
  • 136th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (Norfolk VA): K. Gipson and P. L. Marston, “Backscattering enhancements from leaky Rayleigh waves on the flat end of a tilted cylinder: Observations and Gaussiam beam model,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am., Vol. 104 (abstract).
  • 135th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (Seattle WA): P. L. Marston, K. Gipson, and S. F. Morse, “Convolution formulation for solids and shells with truncations,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am., Vol. 103 (abstract).
  • 134th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (San Diego CA): K. Gipson and P. L. Marston, “Backscattering enhancements due to retroreflection of leaky Rayleigh waves at the truncation of a finite solid cylinder,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am., Vol. 102 (abstract).
  • 128th Meeting of the Acoustical Society of America (Austin TX): K. Gipson and P. L. Marston, “Retroreflective backscattering of ultrasound due to Rayleigh waves on an elastic parallepiped,” J. Acoust. Soc. Am., Vol. 96 (abstract).
  • Meeting on Resonances in Acoustical Scattering (Asilomar CA): P. L. Marston, S. F. Morse, and K. Gipson, “Resonances and other mechanisms for elastic contributions to the scattering of sound by objects in water,” 1997.

Grants and Awards

  • Women's Impact Award, 2008. 
  • Student Summer Scholars Program (with physics student Kenneth Bader), Office of Research and Development, GVSU, 2004. $3000 grant awarded to purchase equipment for student summer research project.
  • Michigan Space Grant Consortium (with physics student Kenneth Bader), Michigan Space Grant, 2004. $3000 grant awarded to pay student for summer research project.
  • Professor of the Year, Grand Valley State University (Student Senate Award), 2001.
  • Presidential Teaching Initiatives Award (with physics faculty J. Thompson and B. Ambrose), Pew Faculty Teaching and Learning Center, GVSU, 2001. $15,000 grant awarded to revise introductory physics laboratories.
  • Delta Chi Favorite Faculty Dinner Invitee, Grand Valley State University, 2000 and 2001.
  • Student Undergraduate Research Program (with physics student Scott Sheline), Math and Science Dean’s Office, GVSU, 2000. $2500 grant awarded to pay student for summer research project; $500 awarded for equipment.

Invited Presentations
  • Grand Valley State University (Allendale, MI) “Models of Reality,” March 2006. Presenter of a poster based on a writing project begun during sabbatical leave at GVSU’s Sabbatical Showcase.
  • Grand Valley State University (Grand Rapids MI) “Models of Reality,” February 2006. Presenter of break-out session at Grand Dialogue Conference on Science and Religion.
  • Southeastern Louisiana University (Hammond LA) “Acoustic Cavitation” December 5, 2003. Talk presented to physics and chemistry faculty and students.
  • University of Idaho (Moscow ID) “What Can Be Known?” February 1998. Presenter/panelist at Inland Northwest Philosophy Conference.
  • University of Idaho (Moscow ID) “The Importance of Direct Experience,” April 1996 . Talk presented to Philosophy Student Club.

Professional Service
  • Chair of CLAS Curriculum Committee, Winter 2007.
  • Presenter at Science is for Girls (Seattle: 1999. Grand Rapids: 2000 -2007).
  • Presenter at GVSU’s Math & Science Update (Fall 2003, 2004).
  • Elementary school presentations (2000 - 2004).
  • GVSU King-Chavez-Parks College Days presenter (2000 - 2007).
  • Event supervisor at Science Olympiad (2000 - 2007).
  • Organizer of conference Spirituality and the Environment (November, 2002.)
  • Board member (2000 - 2007) and Secretary (2005 - 2007) of the West Michigan Environmental Action Council.

Professional Affiliations
  • Acoustical Society of America .
  • American Association of Physics Teachers (National and State memberships).
  •  Association for Women in Science.
  • Union of Concerned Scientists.

  Last Modified Date: May 14, 2014
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