MU Assistant professor "staying cool" during semester off

Physics professor conducting research on particle behavior at the molecular level.
Friday, December 3, 2004 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 12:46 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 14, 2008

Wouter Montfrooij may have the semester off from teaching, but that doesn’t mean he’s slowing down. Montfroij, an assistant professor of physics at MU, is involved in research of emergent phenomena in magnetism, superfluidity and superconductivity.

“Essentially what I do is cool things down until something happens,” he said.

This process, much of which is done using MU’s nuclear research reactor, looks at how particles behave at the molecular level. Montfrooij said the reactor is one of the good things about MU’s physics department.

“Not many universities have a research reactor on campus,” he said.

Next semester, Montfrooij will teach university physics. He has previously taught introduction to modern physics, neutron scattering and a non-calculus college physics course. He said the last class was a fun experience for him because it was a challenge.

“We can’t use calculus, so we’re forced to think how we can explain things without using too many equations,” he said.

Montfrooij is also one of the organizers for Saturday Morning Science, a weekly MU initiative aimed at anyone interested science, not just experts.

“The talks are on a level that someone who just finished high school should be able to understand,” he said.

Montfrooij, who is from the Netherlands, said he and his wife, Sarah, plan to stay in Columbia for a long time. The couple recently bought a house that they share with their three birds, Timmie, Tallulah and Toetje, and their dog Maya.

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